Friday, April 11, 2014

Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks Interview: Andrea Smith

Published by Blue River Press.
Please allow me to introduce you to yet another author from Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks. The tales in Hoosier Hoops, the current anthology from the Speed City Indiana chapter of Sisters in Crime, all involve one of Indiana's greatest obsessions: basketball.

Today's guest is Andrea Smith, the president of the Speed City chapter. She began writing mysteries and romantic suspense because there were few positive African-American female protagonists in her favorite genre. Smith has published three short stories featuring her Chicago police detective Ariel Lawrence. Her story in this anthology, "Fallen Idols", introduces a new character: Lenora Wise.

Q. What gave you the idea for "Fallen Idols"?

I actually sort of ripped it from the headlines. When we chose a basketball theme for our chapter’s third anthology, I thought about all the sports figures who were in the news for behaving badly. Indianapolis really loves its basketball, so I wondered what if there are some heroes on the city’s beloved team who aren’t what they seem and don’t deserve the pedestal they’ve been put on.

Q. You're using a new heroine in this anthology: Lenora Wise. Tell us a little more about her.

Like many who go into law enforcement, Lenora Wise became a cop after losing a loved one to crime. Her mother was shot and killed in a carjacking, and the killer was never found. Every time Lenora catches a murderer, she feels she’s getting justice for her mother. I developed Lenora for this story because I wanted to explore what it’s like for a detective to move to a new city and have to fit into a new police structure. Lenora had been with the St. Louis police department and became disillusioned because her superiors were more concerned about boosting their careers than getting criminals off the street. She hoped the Indianapolis police department would be different.

Q. Will there be more stories with Ariel Lawrence?

Absolutely. I have an Ariel Lawrence novel under revision. She has to catch a serial killer while working with a partner she loathes. There are ideas for three other stories in the Ariel Lawrence detective series. Ariel’s a fierce defender of justice for the everyday person who can’t defend themselves. And she believes neither money nor prominence should make a person immune from the law. Often her cases involve white-collar criminals who believe their position and their millions mean they don’t have to play by the same rules as others.

Q. Who is your favorite author (or current fave) and what really strikes you about their work?

Walter Mosley who writes the Easy Rawlins Mysteries is one of my faves. His writing is lyrical to me, and he’s created an iconic character who will forever live in readers’ minds. That’s something I’d like to achieve.

I also enjoyed Lisa Scottoline’s legal thriller series and like her stand-alone novels. She draws strong women characters and mixes thrilling plots with humor.

Q. What's your current (or next) project?

In addition to the Ariel Lawrence novel, I’m finishing a historical mystery short story for our chapter’s next anthology. It’s set in 1930s Indianapolis, and features a husband and wife who find themselves hunted by police for a murder they didn’t commit. I also plan to turn a short story I wrote featuring an amateur sleuth into a novel. The character, Lela Ames, is a feisty, middle-aged beauty salon owner/entrepreneur who everyone brings their troubles to. Usually those troubles result in Lela having to solve a murder.

Thanks for visiting us today!

Check out Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks on Amazon. You can learn more about Andrea Smith at the Speed City chapter's website.


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