Interview with BV Lawson

Have you always wanted to be an author?
Having a librarian as a mother meant there were always books in the house. I was a book junkie, and she was my supplier (in the best possible sense). Perhaps I turned to writing to feed my habit from a different angle, but it didn’t take long to get me hooked on it, too. After winning a poetry contest at age 10 and some essay contests, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Unfortunately, life gets in the way of dreams sometimes, and it took me quite a bit longer than I’d hoped.
What was the catalyst for your Scott Drayco mystery series?
I enjoy private eye novels, but I’m not a fan of writing in the first-person, so I came up with a “private eye procedural” hybrid via my protagonist Scott Drayco, a former FBI agent turned freelancer who consults with law enforcement agencies. The setting—the Eastern Shore of Virginia on the Delmarva Peninsula—is a short hop from D.C. (especially in a small plane), but it feels worlds apart in terms of culture and scenery. I was entranced after visiting the area, and as far as I know, this is the first mystery novel set there. Not to give too much away regarding the plot, but there is an Opera House and a Chopin manuscript involved, which arose out of my background in musicology.
How long did it take you to write your first novel?
It’s a story idea that I wrote over a decade ago and actually shipped around to a few New York agents around that time, and even had Michael Garrett edit an early version. But it took the ten years following to develop into its current stage, with a lot of breaks in-between. (See life getting in the way of dreams, above.)
Your main protagonist is male, but you're female. Is it hard writing from the POV of the opposite gender?
Actually, I find I prefer writing male characters. I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with that. Perhaps it’s because I read so many male-centric novels as a child, or perhaps it’s because I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by sympathetic and intelligent male role models. I find that most of the core aspects of being human are consistent in both men and women, although both nature and nurture matter when it comes to creating “traditional” behaviors and language patterns.
What is a typical writing day like?
A perfect day is to get up, exercise to get the blood flowing in both body and brain, then sit down after a power breakfast and write for at least eight hours. A more typical day is filled with interruptions of one kind or another, and fighting the urge to check email, social media or play solitaire when the writing gets a bit “thorny.” I’m in awe of authors like John Creasey who allegedly wrote between six and seven thousand words a day, publishing 600+ books in his lifetime. A good day for me is three thousand words.
What kind of research do you do for your books and stories?
I probably research too much. My penchant for research (blame those maternal librarian genes), is one reason I started up my blog In Reference to Murder because I was digging up so many resources, I felt I should share them with other writers and readers. I don’t do as much hands-on practice as some authors due to time constraints, but research plus empathy plus creativity and imagination go a long way. And long live Google Maps and Google Earth.
Do you like to write to music?
My protagonist, Scott Drayco, is a former classical pianist whose career was cut short by violence, which is what steered him toward law enforcement instead. Why make him a pianist? I started out with violin lessons at age 3, piano at age 7 (studied for 12 years), and after various other instruments/voice lessons later, I’d earned two music degrees. You’d think such a background means I listen to music when I write, but I find it impossible. To me, music is a foreground experience, especially with classical forms, and listening while writing is too distracting. I often listen *before* I write, though!
Are you a plotter (outliner) or panster?
Well, the research question above is probably a giveaway. I’m a huge outliner. When I first started writing, I’d make pages and pages of detailed outlines, often taking weeks or months to complete, before I wrote word one on the novel. Thanks to the Scrivener software, I can now add research to my projects a lot faster, and the drag-and-drop feature of moving scenes around means I’m not quite as anal about getting everything in order before I start writing. (And no, I’m not a paid spokesperson! I also like yWriter, which is free.)
What are you currently reading?
My TBR pile is huge. The leaning tower of tomes. As a book blogger, I’m often sent novels, and I have several of those waiting for me. I have other books from the library and still more that were gifts. I also have a growing ebook library on both my computer eReader and phone. Many are mysteries, but I also enjoy reading nonfiction, mainly science and technology books. I would love to have been a physicist, but science education wasn’t a big deal in rural schools in Tennessee.
What advice do you have for newbie authors?
I’ve read so many articles and anecdotes and words of wisdom, that after awhile, it all blends into one giant amorphous blob of writing protoplasm. The best takeaway is to love what you’re doing and to be persistent. A lot of people have one book in them, but few have the staying power to suffer the pain and fear and doubt that are part of a professional writing career. It’s worse than giving birth, because it lasts for as long as you are a writer.
Published 2014-09-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Scott Drayco Series: Books 1-3
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 255,290. Language: English. Published: April 6, 2017. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
Read the first three books in the Shamus Award-nominated mystery series that Library Journal called "worth putting on your reading list" and readers describe as “not a stereotypical detective” and "an extremely complex character." If you like a heart tugging mystery and thrilling suspense, you’ll love BV Lawson’s bestselling series.
The Maltese Moon Rock: A Scott Drayco Novelette
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 16,950. Language: English. Published: November 16, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Action & suspense
Crime consultant Scott Drayco and “the world’s most diminutive defense attorney” Benny Baskin find themselves on the Eastern Shore of Virginia fighting for the innocence of Baskin's client, jailed for the murder of his business partner. Against the backdrop of the Wallops Island rocket launch facility, Drayco soon discovers the motive for the man's murder might just be out of this world.
Elegy in Scarlet: A Scott Drayco Mystery
Series: Scott Drayco. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 82,660. Language: English. Published: October 29, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
NOTE: This is a sequel to book #4 in the Scott Drayco series, DIES IRAE, which should be read before ELEGY IN SCARLET if you want to avoid spoilers! When crime consultant Scott Drayco’s long-AWOL mother returns and is charged with murder, he’s dragged into a world of secrets, lies, and cons as he becomes obsessed with solving the mystery about her and his own past.
Hear No Evil: Five Scott Drayco Stories
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 17,160. Language: English. Published: August 13, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Themes & motifs » Psychological
Five tales featuring brilliant crime consultant Scott Drayco, a former pianist turned FBI agent who uses his music and law enforcement insights to solve cases others don't want to touch. From HEAR NO EVIL, where Drayco has to solve a murder in an empty concert hall in a snowstorm, to FM IS FOR MURDER, where a shock jock gets his comeuppance, these stories show why evil is often a song best unsung.
The Melungeon Witch's Scandal
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,320. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
When a single, pregnant woman is attacked, Melungeon healer Cephea Collins comes to her defense and her aid. After all, Cephea herself knows a thing or two about being an outcast in society. As Sheriff Daniel Praeger's ex-wife makes a last-ditch attempt to drive Daniel and Cephea apart, Cephea begins to wonder if there will be a happy ending for anyone.
The Melungeon Witch's Gold
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,100. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
A mysterious stranger is found with a bag of gold—and shot with a poisoned arrow. When a man and woman arrive in town with claims the gold was stolen, Sheriff Daniel Praeger must uncover the truth while Melungeon healer Cephea Collins tends to the wounded and unconscious victim. Will the growing feelings between Daniel and Cephea help solve the puzzle or drive them further apart?
The Melungeon Witch's Ghost
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 6,020. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
When Sheriff Daniel Praeger's three-year-old son finds a "sleeping man" in the woods, Daniel realizes the man has been murdered—and was himself accused of murdering his own wife a year ago. With the dead man's uncooperative family and Daniel's ex turning up the heat, can Daniel keep his son and Cephea safe while sorting out his own conflicted emotions?
Return of the Melungeon Witch
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 5,680. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
Melungeon healer Cephea Collins finds herself falling for Sheriff Daniel Praeger, but those feelings are put to the test when he asks her help on a case involving the murder of his ex-girlfriend's brother. As the ex makes it clear she wants to rekindle her relationship with Daniel, Cephea learns that love can be as deadly as any of the poultices and poisons she uses in her craft.
The Melungeon Witch
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 3,170. Language: English. Published: May 23, 2016. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Romance » Paranormal
When a girl is found murdered in a small Appalachian town after meeting with mysterious Melungeon healer Cephea Collins, suspicion falls on Cephea. It's up to Sheriff Daniel Praeger to uncover the truth, but his investigation may dig a little too close to home when he finds himself falling for the main suspect, and his beliefs about science and witchcraft are turned upside down.
Dies Irae: A Scott Drayco Mystery
Series: Scott Drayco, Book 3. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 85,370. Language: English. Published: October 15, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » General
Three years ago, Scott Drayco left the FBI after an incident involving his partner, Mark “Sarg” Sargosian. Now a freelance crime consultant, Drayco never imagined his estranged former FBI partner would turn up on his doorstep, pleading for help. But Drayco must race against the clock to solve a music code sent to a murdered college student—before his partner’s daughter becomes the next victim.
Requiem for Innocence: A Scott Drayco Mystery
Series: Scott Drayco, Book 2. Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 83,360. Language: English. Published: April 30, 2015. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
- Four adult murder victims in Washington, DC, all wheelchair-bound - An attack on an innocent disabled girl on Virginia's Eastern Shore - A list of suspects that include a badly-disfigured man, his enigmatic Goth son, and a slippery and dangerous adversary Crime consultant Scott Drayco must battle greed, guilt, and guile to uncover the truth. But is he dealing with one murderous monster or two?
Played to Death: A Scott Drayco Mystery
Series: Scott Drayco, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 87,440. Language: English. Published: July 12, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » General, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00)
When crime consultant Scott Drayco is bequeathed a rundown Opera House in a down-on-its-luck seaside village, his hopes for a quick sale are dashed after a client is murdered in the Opera House—the letter “G” mockingly carved into his chest. Drayco must untangle a web of jealousy and betrayal reaching into the darkest days of history before tensions in town explode and he becomes the next victim.
False Shadows: Eight Scott Drayco Mystery Stories
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 27,130. Language: English. Published: December 30, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Psychological thriller, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Scott Drayco had everything going: handsome, brilliant, a talented classical pianist. After a violent act scarred him, he turned to an FBI career and now freelances as a crime consultant, taking on cases others won't touch. From a suspected serial killer who plays mind games with Drayco, to murder and revenge at 20,000 feet, these 8 stories delve into dark mysteries of the human soul.
Vengeance is Blind: Three Scott Drayco Short Mysteries
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 9,380. Language: English. Published: December 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
From three-time Derringer Award finalist BV Lawson come three tales featuring Scott Drayco, a man who had everything going for him: handsome, brilliant, a talented classical pianist in the prime of his youth. After violence scarred him physically and emotionally, he turned to an FBI career for ten years and now freelances as a crime consultant, taking on cases other people don't want to touch.
Grave Madness: Three Scott Drayco Mysteries
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,830. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
From Derringer Award winner BV Lawson come three tales featuring Scott Drayco, a man who had everything going for him: handsome, brilliant, a talented classical pianist in the prime of his youth. After violence scarred him physically and emotionally, he turned to an FBI career and now freelances as a crime consultant, taking on cases other people often don't want to touch.
Deadly Decisions: 5 Tales of Crime and Suspense
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 10,480. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Mystery, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
Tales about dark choices people make when their backs are against a wall: a sheriff's deputy and a nun hold the fate of a meth dealer; a former violinist takes fate into his own, scarred hands; a forensic linguist obsessed with solving the puzzle of a missing Moravian deed; a homeless man killed by a hit-and-run finds advocates in a minister and his cat; a hitman who just wants to be left alone.
Death on Holiday
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,520. Language: English. Published: February 6, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Mystery, Fiction » Mystery & detective » Short Stories
From Derringer Award winner BV Lawson comes 4 tales of mirth and mayhem: a shopping mall Christmas Elf with revenge on his mind; a man whose day goes from bad to worse when his car is rear-ended by the mayor's wife and police find a skeleton in his trunk; a P.I.'s blackmail case that takes him to a costume party and too may Abraham Lincolns; and little Sammy Spade wreaking havoc at summer camp.