Interview with Lise McClendon

What is the most fascinating aspect of writing fiction, in your opinion?
People, in their endlessly diverse selves. Once in high school journalism the teacher asked everyone what they were interested in, to get an idea what sort of assignments they should get. I answered: People, because then and now, I find them intriguing and basically unknowable. The class laughed and moved on; the teacher was expecting an answer like sports or drama, I guess. But that spontaneous moment has defined my interest in fiction. I majored in both journalism and sociology -- you see where I'm going here -- because the only writing I felt competent in back then was reporting. Now that I've had a few years (!) to observe human nature my interest is still the same. Last week I heard of an unusual mental condition and made a note to myself about it. There is no end to the weird wonderfulness of humans.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have published six books with New York publishers, in two different series. (Available here.) But when I wanted to break away from mystery series fiction for awhile and write a stand-alone my publisher at first agreed, even gave me an advance and a contract. Then he renigged. This is a dirty little secret of traditional publishers. So I went indie and never looked back. Would I like the backing of a big publishing house again? Sure, but the money was never good enough to entice me. (I made five times as much money in one month on that book than the advance from the publisher.) I like having more control over my work, the story itself first and foremost, the cover, the pricing, all of it. This is a great time to be an indie author.
What's the story behind your latest book?
In 2009 a gas leak blew up most of a city block in Bozeman, Montana, killing one unfortunate woman who set off the blast by flipping on a light switch in an art gallery. This dramatic scene inspired me to feature a different sort of explosion, the kind planned and executed by a vengeful arsonist, at the start of PLAN X, my new thriller under my pen name, Rory Tate. I grew up in college towns and Bozeman, home of Montana State University, was a perfect setting for a laboratory blast, a Shakespeare professor who wasn't at all who he said he was, and a secret hidden away for decades that could bring down the Royal family in Britain. All wrapped up in the story of Officer Cody Byrne, just back from Iraq with a case of PTSD, who must find next of kin for the professor while chasing down her own estranged family. Lots of action in this one. Plenty of fun to write.
What inspires you to get out of bed every day?
The sun! Every morning the damn thing through yonder window breaks!

Seriously though -- coffee. Then conjuring tales that somehow make somebody smile, or laugh, or cry, or squeal.
Published 2013-08-23.
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Books by This Author

The Girl in the Empty Dress (A Bennett Sisters Novel)
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Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 71,060. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2014. Category: Fiction » Women's fiction » Chick lit
Merle Bennett is turning fifty, and her four sisters are helping her celebrate by going to France on a walking tour. But one sister invites along a colleague whose annoying ways upset the 'wine, women, and walking.' When the sixth wheel finds an injured dog beside the road the idyllic summer vacation takes a dangerous turn. Truffles, wine, romance, and intrigue in the heart of France.
Jump Cut
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Series: Thrillers by Rory Tate, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,560. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Seattle reporter Mimi Raynard is desperate for a new job. But will the resume tape of the "Russian Madam" do the trick? At the Seattle Police Department narcotics detective Shad Mulgrew has his own career problems when he's framed for stealing drugs from evidence. Funny, edgy, and modern, this international thriller takes you on a wild ride to save their souls, and Seattle's.
Blue Wolf
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Series: Alix Thorssen Mysteries, Book 4. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 76,690. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
The iconic wolf: vicious killer or symbol of power? The question comes to Jackson Hole when Alix Thorssen works on an art auction. When a wolf is shot near Grand Teton National Park the controversy blooms as Alix digs into an old mystery for a local artist. Wyoming flora and fauna are lovingly described alongside sharp dialogue and good pacing in this readable, down-to-earth mystery.
Nordic Nights
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Series: Alix Thorssen Mysteries, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 91,250. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Alix Thorssen, gallery owner and sleuth in Jackson, WY, fends for her stepfather when he is jailed for the murder of a Norwegian painter during a winter festival with ice sculptures, runes, ski racing, and mythology. Alix deals with an out-of-town boyfriend, an in-town wanna-be lover, a cranky mother, the gallery, and increasing danger to herself in this entertaining mystery. 'Solid, enticing.'
Painted Truth
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Series: Alix Thorssen Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 81,260. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Set in Jackson Hole where the Old West merges with upscale art galleries, in this second book in the series Alix Thorssen finds herself at a crossroads with her gallery partner, sexy Paolo Segundo. When another gallery burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, Alix is drawn in as an appraiser of the lost paintings. She must examine her ethics and way of life to find the truth, and justice.
The Bluejay Shaman
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Series: Alix Thorssen Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 73,650. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Alix Thorssen finds herself up to her Ray-bans in shaman's secrets, mysterious deaths, zealots, and madmen as she tries to clear her sister's husband of murder. This debut of the Jackson Hole art dealer's adventures is set in Montana on the Flathead Indian Reservation and in Missoula where Alix follows a trail of moonlight rituals and legendary artifacts to a chilling confrontation with a killer.
Blackbird Fly
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Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 100,020. Language: English. Published: March 29, 2011. Category: Fiction » Women's fiction » General
Behind the golden stone walls of a village in France, American Merle Bennett finds solace from her grief while renovating her late husband's ancestral home. But things don't go as planned. Soon any calm she feels in her French summer is overshadowed by secrets from the past. A crumbling house, a deranged squatter, a surprise in the garden house -- all must be resolved before Merle can go home.
Sweet and Lowdown
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Series: Dorie Lennox Mysteries, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 86,340. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Europe is at war. Nazi bombers are hammering London. Wendell Willkie is giving Roosevelt a run for his money. In the rich milieu of a bygone time, America prepares for war as home-grown fascists intervene, and a mother lies dying in her mansion in Kansas City. Eveline Hines hires Dorie Lennox and Amos Haddam to protect her wayward daughter in this homage to Chandler's The Big Sleep, set in 1940.
One O'clock Jump
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Series: Dorie Lennox Mysteries, Book 1. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,230. Language: English. Published: March 22, 2011. Category: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
Halfway around the world, war has begun, but for Dorie Lennox, newly-minuted private eye, danger is more immediate. The dark streets of Kansas City of 1939 offer music, gangsters, and the chance to forget her murky past. With vivid prose and sharp dialogue, the world of Dorie Lennox comes alive, in this thoughtful mystery in the high stakes world of machine politics and desperation deals.