**Author Peek** Interview with Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Desert Ice (A Skylar Drake Mystery)

**Author Peek** Interview with


Before we get started talking about your writing, tell us a little about yourself, where you’re from, what you do for a living (if you’re not a fulltime writer) what hobbies you have, etc. Whatever you’d like to share to introduce yourself.

We are a married couple who write together. Desert Ice is our third book in the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series. And yes, we are still married!

1. How much of your characters/plot are drawn from your life?

J-Many of my sub plots begin with the people I meet. However the main plot usually begins to simmer when I start the research into the story and the locale. For example: when researching Desert Ice I had the opportunity to interview the daughter of a mobster who lived Las Vegas in 1955. I also spent time with a former dancer who danced in shows during this time. Both of them gave me a real sense for the book.

W- A lot of my ideas come from people watching and eavesdropping. I lead a mundane life. I must say, however, the interviews we had for Desert Ice, was the key to this story.

2. What is best to write from, real settings or fictional settings?

J-When I first started writing in 2001 I would have said fictional settings. However, looking over the extensive travels I have been honored to do, real settings are the best. That includes the culture, history, food and local people. Best ways to find characters are spending time with the locals and enjoying food with them

W- Many times I’ve seen news stories that are so incredulous that I know if I had written them my readers would say, “That could never happen”. Real life is very weird.

3. What was the most awkward situation you experienced when discussing your book?

J- My sister, my 8 year old niece, Jenny, and I were enjoying a day at the beach when we ran into some friends I hadn’t seen for years. We talked for a while and I told them about my new book, Desert Ice and how I write murder mysteries. The next day, my niece went to school, and during sharing time about families she stated, “My Auntie and Uncle are famous, they kill people.” My sister got a call from the teacher that day. The next day the teachers got 30 phone calls from parents after their children went home and told them about Jenny’s famous aunt and uncle.

W- We were in Phoenix for the Left Coast Crime Conference. On our way to our hotel room we were stopped by two women who overheard us discussing our next book. They jumped back and said, “You-you’re real-real authors!” Janet and I had never experienced anything like that before. It was very awkward.

4. What city, state or country would you visit over and over again?

J-The Hawaiian Island are such amazing places! There is a special spirit about the islands. We spent a week on Molokai to write Strange Markings, the second book in this series. It was the only island that hadn’t changed since 1950s. The island and the locals gave us the story from start to finish.

W- Right here in Southern California. We have Hollywood, Los Angeles, San Diego, mountains, beach, desert and so many diverse cultures. I sometimes think why go far? It’s all here.

5. Why do you write fictional characters?

J- Fictional!?! What fictional characters?? My characters come from real people I’ve encountered over the years of travel. It never ceases to amaze me how interesting people can be once you get to know them. The world is full of great characters and their “subplots”.

W- Aside from legal reasons, I find that making my characters how I want them is a joy.

6. Where and how do you write?

J-I write anywhere I can: backs of forms, napkins, scratch paper, receipts, etc. When ideas hit I have to write them down immediately or I forget. Then I transfer my notes to the computer and have at the scene.

W- Usually in the morning after exercising. We built an office in the back of our house that is perfect for writing.

7. Where do you get most of your creative thoughts for your book?

J- Inspiration comes in the most surprising places. Several weeks ago I was stuck in the middle of a draft. I knew where it had to go but couldn’t figure out how to get there. I decided to take a break and went grocery shopping. I dropped a large plastic bottle of tomato juice on my foot and immediately knew exactly what to do to make it work. Who knew I had brain cells in my big toe!

W- I keep a pad on my bed stand so the dreams I have can be recorded for “future reference”. Sometimes they make no sense until I sit down and write, then they come alive.


Be sure to come back to learn more about Janet and Will and their novel, DESERT ICE on Wednesday’s Karen’s Killer Book Bench blog.


Links to Janet & Will’s website, blog, books, etc.

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ilox4O

Barnes & Noble:

Janet Elizabeth Lynn Website:

Will Zeilinger Amazon Author Page: 


**SPECIAL GIVEAWAY**: Janet and Will are giving away an ebook copy of DESERT ICE to two lucky readers who comment on their Author Peek Interview or Killer Book Bench blogs. Good luck!

Thanks, Janet & Will, for sharing your book with us!

Don’t miss the chance to read this book!

7 thoughts on “**Author Peek** Interview with Janet Elizabeth Lynn & Will Zeilinger, Desert Ice (A Skylar Drake Mystery)”

  1. Good morning, Janet and Will, and welcome to Karen’s Killer Book Bench. I admire your ability to work together without killing each other. I can’t imagine writing with my husband, even after 37 years! 🙂 Good thing he doesn’t write, huh? We love the laid back atmosphere of Maui and have been several times, although we’d love to go to Kaui. If it weren’t so far away from the grandchildren, we’d probably move there. Thanks for stopping by to share your book with us!

    1. Thank you Karen, happy you enjoyed our interview. Glad you enjoyed Hawaii, we love the islands, that is why we picked Molokai to research and use for the location of STRANGE MARKINGS. So we went from the tropics to the desert for DESERT ICE, quite a contrast. Las Vegas was a challange since nothing remains of 1955 Vegas. It was a treat to interview survivors of that era including a mobster’s daughter and an 85 year old dancer.

      1. I’ll bet Vegas was a challenge. My husband and I stayed in The Sands a couple of times before it was torn down. Kind of worn down but the ambiance was still there. I guess I need to set one of my books in Maui so we can go back. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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