Saturday, August 9, 2014

Mission to Murder: Author Interview with Lynn Cahoon

Lynn Cahoon, author of Mission to Murder, joins us today. Her book series is focused on Tourist Traps which makes it a perfect summer read. 

What was your favorite book growing up and why? 

The easy answer is A Wrinkle in Time – mostly because the heroine goes on a journey to find her father. I’m also a fan of The Phantom Tollbooth, again, a journey story, but also a cute play on words. 

Where did you get the idea for this book? How did you know that was the book you wanted to write?

MISSION TO MURDER is the second book in the TOURIST TRAP series. The first, GUIDEBOOK, came about because of a spring break trip to visit my sister who lives in Santa Maria. During the day, while she worked, I explored the central California coastline.  One day, visiting Cambria, I found an old house that was for sale. I was at the beginning of divorcing my husband of almost twenty years. I needed a place to start over. I took a picture of the house, to remind me I had options. One day, the story started forming in my mind that focused on the house and who lived there. 

The series took off from there. MISSION takes the history of the area and plays with the ideas. What happens when a new ‘historical’ site is discovered? How does that affect the current tourist draws (like The Castle in MISSION)? And to what lengths will someone go to keep their own money maker profitable? Jill, the main character, is still finding her way with her business so adding in her naivety about the historical certification process gave instant conflict.

A Spanish Mission

How did I know it was the book to write? 

GUIDEBOOK began as I was developing my voice as a writer. It went through many incarnations, but the core story stayed the same. As I shopped it to agents and publishers, I wrote the first three chapters of MISSION. Then I set the series as I shopped for agents. Two years later, the series found a home with Kensington.

The pool at Hearst Castle 

If you could meet any author alive or dead, who would it be and why?

Easy answer. Stephen King (and his family.) Why? The man has a way with telling a story. As a genre author, I love the way he keeps me in the story, not letting me leave, not even for a quick bathroom break or more potato chips. And I really, really love potato chips. I am still thinking about the last King I read, 11/22/63. I guess you can already see from my answers, I’m a fan of time travel stories. And Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box is fantastic. How do you raise a family focused on reading? I think the Kings have the answer.

Elephant seals attack Fifi in the book

Have you ever come close to missing a deadline?
So far? 

No. But writing on deadline is a whole nuther animal. I question my process and ability more when I’m on deadline. I procrastinate writing. I often find myself in the slow lane, the slough of despair, or the fraud complex. Fighting my way through the self-doubt is part of the process, for me, I guess.

For book 3, I did ask for an extension from the original deadline.  I learned being open with my editor ahead of time gives them the information they need to do their job and ultimately, support you.

Beach where characters run

Do you ever base characters on people you know?

No. Never. But if a victim in the story just happens to remind people who know me of a certain someone, that’s not my fault.    

Honestly, my characters tend to build themselves. I might start with a burned out attorney who chucks it all to open a combination bookstore and coffee shop, but as I write the character, they tend to take over and tell their own story. 


  1. Sounds like a great series. Can't wait to start with book 1.

    1. Kerry, I hope you enjoy your trip to South Cove!

  2. Thanks for having me over Deborah - I'm out in the woods this weekend, so I'll be stopping in and out. :)

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Kim - I love writing Jill and the South Cove gang.

  4. Thank you for a great post Lynn! Hope you have a great time in the woods.

    1. Deborah, We had a great time. Very restful. Except when I tripped over the tent lip and went down hard. Just call me Grace. LOL

  5. i loved guidebook to murder. looking forward to reading the second one.