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Saturday, 5 March 2016

ℚ♫ Eyeshine [1] - Cy Wyss

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Eyeshine (, Nighttime Dog Press, LLC, 200 pages), a Cozy Mystery.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


Hello Cy, welcome back to BooksChatter!

We love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Eyeshine , or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"Anything by ABBA.  I was listening to their Greatest Hits while writing Eyeshine."
What compelled you to write Eyeshine?
"I’d been reading cat mysteries, such as The Cat Who series by Lilian Jackson Braun and also the Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown series.

In The Cat Who mysteries, a Siamese cat helps a seasoned reporter solve crimes.  In the Sneaky Pie Brown series, the author takes it farther and gives us the perspective of the animals, who like to investigate crime almost as much as their owner.

I thought, instead of just seeing a talented cat from the point of view of a human, or seeing through the animals’ eyes, how about both?  How about an amateur detective who is actually a cat some of the time?  Thus was born the idea of PJ, a photojournalist and amateur detective who turns into a cat every night.  From sundown to sunup she is a black tabby cat.

I wanted to think about what such an ability might mean.  For example, as a cat she can understand animal languages, but as a human she can’t.  Someone else might have made different decisions, but this is the way it makes sense to me."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"When I was in high school I was nuts about photography.  Part of me wanted to become a professional photographer, so that love is reflected in PJ’s profession.

I like to think I have some of PJ’s spunk and a bit of her catlike confidence."
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Eyeshine?
"It is difficult to imagine PJ successfully hides her second life from the people around her.  I had to have her think up a convoluted series of excuses for why she always had to disappear before sundown.  Essentially, she came up with the idea of a phobia of the dark.

The town psychiatrist is conveniently included in her cover story since people assume she’s being treated by him but professional courtesy means he can’t talk about even the fact she isn’t a patient.

I found it surprising that I could indeed come up with semi-plausible reasons why the other people in PJ’s life wouldn’t have discovered her special power up to now.  Of course, she has problems with intimacy, because if someone gets too close to her, her secret could be revealed."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Eyeshine - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I love cats and found a great stock photo from Shutterstock of a black tabby cat.

I highlighted the eyes in golden yellow so it looks like the cat is coming out of the dark page, especially her eyes.

I love the concept of simple covers, just a simple but gripping element and a title and name."
Why should we read Eyeshine and what sets it apart from the rest? 
"There are other cat mysteries, but as far as I know I’m the first to have a heroine who turns into a cat.

Also, Eyeshine is a classic cozy, with an unlikeable victim, a sympathetic character getting the blame, and no explicit or objectionable material.

One of my other books, Dimorphic, is riddled with swear words because one of the main characters has a very foul mouth.  One might think that after that I would have problems keeping the potty mouth out of my writing, but actually I found it smooth and easy to write from the perspective of clean characters.

I had a lot of fun writing Eyeshine, and I think that comes across reading it."
Can you tell us something quirky about Eyeshine, its story and characters?
"Mayhap, Indiana is a thinly disguised version of  my town of Zionsville, Indiana.

Zionsville is an idyllic middle American town, with an affluent and well-educated population and very low crime rate.  Main street Zionsville is paved with stones and brick and flanked by artisan shops and small businesses.  It is a great place to live.  I hope I communicated that about Mayhap.


On the other hand, Zionsville does have trailer parks, and I wanted to set PJ in such a place so she is more down-to-Earth than someone living in a big mansion would be.  She is well-educated and open-minded though, like I’ve found most of my neighbors to be."
Who would you recommend Eyeshine to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who likes mysteries and in particular cozy mysteries would like Eyeshine.  I strove to make Eyeshine amenable to every reader, and as such it has no explicit material and a gentle plot.

On the other hand, it has action and even a huge fight scene.  I suppose I can’t say it is completely inoffensive, since there is a murder at the center of the plot. "
If you could / wished to turn Eyeshine into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I’d love to set it in Zionsville.  Hollywood probably already has sets that look like Zionsville, it is so canonically mild-mannered a small town.


For PJ, I would cast one of my favorite female actresses, perhaps Sandra Bullock or Jessica Alba.


For her brother Robert the FBI agent I would cast a wildly attractive male with dark hair, maybe a relative unknown because I like to root for the underdog."
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"I’m my own worst enemy when it comes to writing.  I procrastinate and have the devil of a time sticking to a regular schedule.

I also find I write best when I’m out with other writers and there are lots of distractions (for example in a café).  I thank goodness for my writers’ group which meets at least once a week.  They’ve been a lifeline for me during long periods of writer’s block where I’ve gotten very little done outside of our meetings.

I need to learn to take my writing more seriously as a career, not just a hobby."
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?  What has been the best compliment?
"I paid for a Kirkus review of one of my books and the review came back seemingly positive, until the very end, when the reviewer balked about the main character and ended up saying she wasn’t at all realistic or plausible.

That hurt for two reasons.  First, because I don’t feel that way about my character, I think she is realistic, or at least plausible; second, because it was a paid review and I couldn’t use any of it because of the conclusion.  Oh well.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The best compliments I’ve gotten are the 5-star reviews for my books.  I learn more about what people like from every review, but of course the 5-star ones are easier to take (at least at first)."
What is in store next?
"At the moment I’m working on a science fiction novel.  The premise is that there’s a race where a preference for males has been encoded in their DNA, so at the present time (in the novel) males outnumber females 100 to 1.

Its premise is based on the type of thing going on in China and India where they’re aborting (or otherwise killing) female babies so that the ratio of males to females is getting skewed.  It’s an awfully short-sighted thing to do and my book is one way of visualising the ultimate consequences of it.

I’m hoping to do a sequel for Eyeshine and have been thinking of something perhaps set around a county chili cookoff.  That seems like a suitably universal setting with a lot of potential for mayhem."
Thank you so much for spending time with us again!
We know you do have two cats and we would love it if you could share a picture of them with us :-)

In the meantime, have a great tour!

"Thank you for the interview and the chance to get my work out there."

Eyeshine
Available NOW!

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2 comments:

  1. ABBA - Ha! that's awesome!
    I too am a cat lover - I have a Maine Coon - Martina
    Sandra Bullock is my Fav too!!!!
    I will be starting the book soon - I will have to picture her!

    GREAT interview!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks again for the interview. I love the pictures you added, they really make this post special. Cheers!

    ReplyDelete