Matty Dalrymple joins The Spotlight this week to chat about her latest suspense novel, A Furnace for Your Foe
Author Name: Matty Dalrymple
Book Title: A Furnace for Your Foe
Book Genre: Suspense
Release Date: April 26, 2021
Publisher: William Kingsfield Publishers
Congratulations on your latest release! How would you describe A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE?
They say that dead men tell no tales, but when good intentions are twisted to evil ends, and the perpetrators don’t care who gets burned in the process, the truth must come out, and it will take Ann Kinnear’s particular skill to uncover it.
What drew you to the idea for the book and how close is the end product to that seed of an idea?
The early stages of pulling a story together are always a bit of a thrash and many of the initial ideas that I tried out but discarded are lost. However, I knew I wanted to address the idea of a scientist who develops a beneficial technology that is then turned to nefarious ends–the technology eventually evolved to center around fire prevention and suppression (which provides lots of opportunities for mayhem!). I also knew that I wanted to set most of the action of the book in Manset, just outside Southwest Harbor on Mount Desert Island, ME, where my husband and I spent two weeks last fall. I also wanted to include a location that was loosely based on David and Peggy Rockefeller’s MDI estate, Ringing Point.
How has your real life informed A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE?
All my books are set in one of three places that are special to me. The first is my home base of Chester County, PA and Philadelphia (Ann Kinnear Books 1 and 3: THE SENSE OF DEATH and THE FALCON AND THE OWL and Lizzy Ballard Book 1: ROCK PAPER SCISSORS). The second is the beautiful Red Rock Country around Sedona, AZ (Lizzy Ballard Books 2 and 3: SNAKES AND LADDERS and THE IRON RING). And the third is Mount Desert Island, ME, which is where Ann Kinnear Books 2 and 4: THE SENSE OF RECKONING and A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE take place. I love writing about places I know, especially dropping in local color (Philly readers will appreciate how often Ann and her friends stop by Wawa for coffee) and actual locations (although I sometimes change the names to protect the author from legal action).
The book that has been most directly informed by a hobby is Ann Kinnear 3: THE FALCON AND THE OWL, which I based on my own experiences as a student pilot and, briefly, the owner of a 1946 Stinson 108 tailwheel plane. I was also able to tap into the experience of my pilot husband and several pilot friends, as well as two aerobatic and air racing pilots: Matt Chapman (based at New Garden Flying Field, which Chester County, PA readers may recognize as the actual basis of the fictional Avondale Airport) and Vicky Benzing.
In what ways do you think you’ve evolved as an author over the course of your career so far?
At a macro level: As of 2019, I have made writing my full-time job, not just a hobby, so I don’t have the luxury of noodling around with ideas for weeks or months. I’m trying to be much more disciplined about pinning down the plot at a high level before I start crafting dialogue or composing descriptions of settings. This outline (as well as hard-won experience) enables me to identify places where my initial idea won’t work in the long run. For example, in the outline of Ann Kinnear 5, I had Ann visiting a friend in Pittsburgh, away from her current home base of West Chester, PA. However, I realized that it kept her too removed from the early action of the book, so now I have Ann’s friend visiting her in West Chester instead.
At a micro level: I have learned the value of reading a manuscript aloud. It’s a great way not only to catch phrases that are going to be tricky for the audiobook narrator or me to say (I will never use the phrase “frequent rewards” again) but also to find and fix overused words and other stylistic awkwardness.
What advice would you give your newbie writer self?
Regarding the writing craft: Read widely and deeply in the genre in which you believe you will be writing so that you fully understand reader expectations and how talented authors meet them in ways that are surprising yet inevitable.
Regarding the publishing voyage: Early on, your time will be more productively spent on writing more books than on trying to promote a single book.
What’s capturing your imagination these days outside of reading and writing?
My Mobile Writing Retreat! Last year I traded in my car for a Ford Transit Connect, which I have tricked out as the MWR and tiny RV. Especially with the travel restrictions imposed by COVID, it has been so therapeutic to find a waterside spot in one of the lovely parks near my home and focus on writing. Photos of the MWR here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?vanity=matty.dalrymple&set=a.3179516775491269
How are you adjusting to marketing a book during a pandemic?
Even before the pandemic, I had started to pull back from in-person author events. They are incredibly time-consuming–not only pursuing the opportunities but also managing the logistics of packing up books and supplies, traveling to the venue, unpacking, conducting the event itself, re-packing, and traveling back home. I felt I could serve my readers better by spending that time writing. I’m also enjoying using platforms like Facebook for online interactions and live events with readers.
If anyone is interested in a deeper dive into this topic, I discussed this in Episode 077 of my podcast, The Indy Author, “Behind the Scenes of My Book Launch with Matty Dalrymple” (https://www.theindyauthor.com/077—behind-the-scenes-of-my-book-launch.html).
What are you working on now?
I just finished an Ann Kinnear Suspense Short to submit to an anthology. The theme of the anthology is What happens when the villain wins? and profanity is encouraged, so it’s quite different from the Ann Kinnear novels and other shorts–I had so much fun with it. I will eventually publish it as an ebook, either if it’s not picked up by the anthology or three months after the anthology is published if it is accepted, and I’m contemplating what caveat I should include on the online retail platforms so Ann Fans won’t be unduly surprised by the different tone.
I’m also working on Ann Kinnear 5, in which Ann will return once again to the Chester County, PA / Philadelphia area.
Fantastic! Where can readers find you?
Readers can find lots more information at mattydalrymple.com, and for a more interactive experience, I’d love for them to follow me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/matty.dalrymple) or to join me in my private Facebook group, Matty Dalrymple Readers Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/467106061125690).
Since readers are often also writers, I’d also love for them to join me on my non-fiction platform, The Indy Author (https://www.theindyauthor.com/), where we discuss the writing craft and the publishing voyage. On my weekly podcast, The Indy Author Podcast (https://www.theindyauthor.com/podcast.html), I’ve been thrilled to be able to interview some incredibly talented crime fiction and thriller authors, including Robert Dugoni, Lisa Regan, Steven James, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Jason Kasper, J. J. Hensley, and Rachael Herron.
Thank you, Matty! A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE is available NOW.
ANN KINNEAR BOOK 4: A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE
They say that dead men tell no tales. But when good intentions are twisted to evil ends, and the perpetrators don’t care who gets burned in the process, the truth must come out, and it will take Ann Kinnear’s particular skill to uncover it.
Can Ann learn why arson experts are coming to grief on the trails of Mount Desert Island before becoming a victim herself?
Spirit senser Ann Kinnear is back on Mount Desert Island, Maine, to take part in a documentary with her colleague and competitor, Garrick Masser. The topic? The recent death of Leo Dorn, head of the Stata Mater research lab, who fell from a cliff-side trail on his wife’s estate.
Ann has barely unpacked before Dorn’s hiking partner and fellow researcher Shelby Kim disappears, and now Ann wonders if Leo’s fall really was an accident. But when Ann finally locates Shelby, the young woman isn’t talking.
Then a warehouse on the Manset waterfront burns to the ground and Ann knows she’s getting close to the truth.
Will Ann overcome hell and high water to plumb the depths of Mount Desert Island’s secrets, or will this be her fall from grace?
Find out in Book 4 of the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels!
Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot
That it do singe yourself.
— William Shakespeare, “Henry VIII”
Matty is also the author of the Lizzy Ballard Thrillers ROCK PAPER SCISSORS, SNAKES AND LADDERS, and THE IRON RING; the Ann Kinnear Suspense Novels THE SENSE OF DEATH, THE SENSE OF RECKONING, THE FALCON AND THE OWL, and A FURNACE FOR YOUR FOE; and the Ann Kinnear Suspense Shorts, including CLOSE THESE EYES and WRITE IN WATER. Matty is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Brandywine Valley Writers Group. You can connect with Matty via Facebook and Twitter.
Matty Dalrymple podcasts, writes, speaks, and consults on the writing craft and the publishing voyage as The Indy Author. She is the host of THE INDY AUTHOR PODCAST and the author of THE INDY AUTHOR’S GUIDE TO PODCASTING FOR AUTHORS. She is also the co-author, along with Mark Leslie Lefebvre, of TAKING THE SHORT TACK: CREATING INCOME AND CONNECTING WITH READERS USING SHORT FICTION. Matty is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors. You can connect with The Indy Author via Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
Matty lives with her husband and three dogs in Chester County, Pennsylvania.