Monday, October 13, 2014

Polly Iyer - An Author Interview in the HBS Author's Spotlight

Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Author Polly Iyer. She is the author of the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series.

Author Genre: Suspense, Mystery, Romance

Website: Polly Iyer Books
Twitter: @PollyIyer
E-Mail: PollyIyer at gmail dot com
Goodreads: Check Out Goodreads
Google+: Check Out Google+
Facebook: Check Out Facebook

Author Description:
Polly Iyer is the author of six suspense novels: Hooked, InSight, Murder Déjà Vu, Threads, and two books--soon to be a third--in the Diana Racine Psychic Suspense series, Mind Games and Goddess of the Moon. Her books contain adult language and situations with characters who sometimes tread ethical lines. She grew up on the Massachusetts coast and studied at Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston. Today she lives in the beautiful Piedmont region of South Carolina, spending her time making life difficult for her characters.

SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author

Congratulations on your book: Backlash. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?

Right now, I’m working on a suspense novel tentatively titled Chain Reaction. It’s about Zoe Swan, an artist/author who meets an art history professor on the beach. Zoe is separated from her husband, but common interests and a chemical attraction to the handsome stranger leads to a torrid affair. But all is not what it seems, and before long, Zoe is drawn into the hunt for a missing masterpiece from a famous art heist, and she brings her overbearing husband and his jewel thief brother along for a ride that starts out in Myrtle Beach, SC. and winds up in Boston.

I realize my idea to get this book out by the end of the year is premature. The book is written, but it needs to be critiqued and edited, and since I wrote it way back when, it needs updating.

The museum heist in question is the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and I was afraid a certain fugitive would be caught and the paintings found. He’s been caught, but no news of the paintings. I’d be thrilled to scratch the book if the painting were found, but that hasn’t happened yet, so I’ll release the book.

You have a good following on twitter. Since you started before the social media buzz, what impact has social media relationships had on your current success? How did you build your following in your niche? How much has it changed your book launch process?

I’m a social media dabbler. My favorite is Facebook where I’ve made a lot of friends, mostly writers. Sometimes the first news I have of what’s going on in the world is on Facebook. I love the immediacy of the platform. I do a little Twitter, but I can’t say I like it much. I feel as if I’m preaching to the choir, tweeting and retweeting my books and others. I have a friend who loves Twitter, has 50K followers, and swears it helps sell her books. For me, it’s too time consuming with few rewards I’ve seen personally. I don’t do any other social media.

Do you do any book signings, interviews, speaking and personal appearances? If so, when and where is the next place where your readers can see you? Where can they keep up with your personal contacts online?

Signings are another thing I don’t do. I’ve done a few that amounted to very little in the way of sales. If I were in a bigger venue, I might consider doing more, but I live in a small town with one indie bookstore that’s connected to its own publishing company and a Barnes and Nobel. As a self-published writer, B&N wants nothing to do with me. I’ve concentrated on ebooks. My philosophy is writing a good book garner readers. Anyone interested in exchanging info with me can do it either on Facebook or write me on my email address: Polly Iyer at gmail dot com. All info is on my website:

Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?

I don’t have a newsletter, but I blog on Goodreads. The posts mainly consist of recycled blogs from bloggers who’ve hosted me in the past. I’m part of The Blood Red Pencil Blogspot, named one of the top 151 writers’ blogs. I post there on the third Wednesdayof the month. Whenever I’m asked to participate in a blog, I make it a point to interact and answer every post. I think that’s the duty of a blogger. As far as finding readers, I rely on word of mouth or reviews on Amazon or on social media. So far, that seems to have worked for me. Amazon’s promotional mails have promoted my books too. I don’t know how much traction I get from that, but I’m grateful for anything they do since I’m exclusive to them. I belong to Sisters in Crime and the Guppy subgroup, participate in their loops, along with Murder Must Advertise, Crimescene Writers, and Mystery Buffs.

You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?

Thanks for the compliment. I’m a former artist, so I design and publish all my own book covers.

Doing so keeps my hand in the creative, artistic aspect of being an author. I usually have a basic idea of what I want on my covers, search through the many photo sites, and purchase the ones I want. So far, it’s worked out well.

Several of you novels have been converted into audio books. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience?

Not sure. Collectively, they’ve sold well but not enough, but that’s always the case with writers.

It’s a very time consuming process, and I’m not sure when or if I’ll do the next one. When a book gets into the Whispersync program, anyone who has bought the book can buy the audio for $1.99. So for about $6, you get the book and the audio. Three of my four books are in the Whispersync program. That’s a deal in this day and age.

I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a collection called Carolina Crimes with nineteen members of Sisters in Crime. What was the impact on your other sales? What was the main objective of bundling your works with other romance authors? How did you put something like that together?

First, I don’t classify myself as a romance author. Some of my books are romantic suspense, but none is pure romance. Most are suspense/thrillers. There’s always a romance in my books, but the story is primary, the romance secondary. I was delighted to have my short story accepted for the Carolina Crimes Anthology. That was the first short story I’d ever written. I had nothing to do with putting together the anthology. That was the brainchild of Karen Pullen, and she did an amazing job. I submitted another short story to the Sisters in Crime Guppy Anthology, titled Fish or Cut Bait. So my second-ever short story was also accepted.

Both are dark stories as are all my novels. I’m not sure what the impact of my involvement in the anthology has had on the sales of my books other than getting my name out there for people who’ve never heard of me. That’s a lot of people.

Besides the Sisters in Crime, what other writer support groups do you belong too? Do they help with the writing, marketing and the publishing process?

I have two amazing critique partners. I exchange/swap twenty or so pages with one of them every two weeks, and the other gives my novel a full edit when I’m finished, as I do her books.

She’s a much better editor than I am, without question, so I come out ahead there.

What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles?

Giving away books has earned me readers and reviews. Reviews are the most important factor in gaining a readership. That’s, of course, if they’re good reviews. Whose book would you choose to read: one with a few good reviews or one with one hundred good reviews? People read them.

They read the good ones and the bad ones and the ones in between. When giving away books, promotion is very important. Readers must know the books are free, so it’s incumbent on the author to make sure that happens. There are plenty of sites that promote, some for free, others for a price. After every giveaway, sales correlate to the number of downloads and the ranking you achieve while the book is free. I’m not sure how that works, but after every giveaway, my paid sales soar. Some authors think free books defeat the purpose of writing books. Why give away your hard-earned talent? Not me. I’d rather have people reading my books than not, and most of the time, if they like the free book, they’ll buy the others. This works better if you have a few books to your credit, but you have to start somewhere. I would never tell anyone to give away their books, but giveaways have been going on for decades for almost every product. It’s a marketing strategy, and it works for me.

What is your method of getting reviews for your novels? Do you seek professional reviews, use social media or do you rely on your reading audience to supply them?

I touched upon part of that in the previous response, but I’ve never solicited reviewers. I should have, but I haven’t. I did have a lovely gentleman offer to read my latest book before it was published. He’s been very generous in promoting Backlash wherever he could, and he’s since purchased more of my books. I do have an author page on Facebook and post happenings on both that page and my regular page. I’ve never sent out a blast to all my followers to Like me. As you can tell, I’m a bit lazy when it comes to do all the things a writer is supposed to do to sell.

My philosophy is to write a good book and hopefully readers will find you. What I don’t like is overkill. I’ve been turned off by some authors who do nothing but promote. After a while, I don’t even look at their promos. There’s a fine line, and once you cross it, you’ve lost readers.

A few of my readers kept asking for a third Diana Racine book. I had no intention of writing a series, but I now have three books and they’re asking when the next one will be coming out.

Such pressure. I do have an idea for a fourth, but it’s in the embryo stage right now. I just want to make sure that each succeeding book is as good as the last. When it doesn’t meet expectations, readers will tell me, and that will be the end of it. Nothing is worse than a good series that goes on too long.

Author's Book List
Backlash - A Diana Racine Psychic Suspense Book 3
When psychic Diana Racine’s old friend is murdered in New Orleans, her love, Lieutenant Ernie Lucier, brings her in to consult on the case. What she sees when she touches the dead man’s body is another man with silver eyes, a gang tattoo, and a bullet in the middle of his forehead. Before long, Diana and Lucier are drawn into a web of murders that stretches far into the past. The deeper they get into the investigation, the more it appears the deaths are the work of a group of vigilantes on a moral crusade. Vigilantes wearing the blue of the NOPD who won’t let anything or anyone stand in their way.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Think about the worst moment in your life. A moment that changed irrevocably everything you’ve ever known. Would you take that moment back?

What if that moment offers you a different life, allows you to do things you would never do otherwise? Meet people you would never know?

Think again.

That one moment transforms the lives of a dozen people, each keeping a secret they can never expose. A single thread ties them together. Inextricably and forever. Cut it, and someone dies.

Now, would you take that moment back?

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
GODDESS OF THE MOON - A Diana Racine Psychic Suspense Book 2
Psychic Diana Racine and her boyfriend, Lieutenant Ernie Lucier of the New Orleans Police Department, are drawn into a baby kidnapping case. Clues lead first to a hospital worker, then to Brother Osiris, the head of a homeless shelter, and finally to some of the richest men in the state. A combination of mysticism, mythology, and the black arts lures Diana and Ernie even deeper into a plot that puts both their lives in danger.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Murder Deja Vu
Wealthy architect Reece Daughtry spent fifteen years in a Massachusetts prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Released on a technicality, he now makes his home in the mountains of North Carolina, building rock fireplaces for a waiting list of clients. His self-imposed solitude is shattered when local author Dana Minette asks him to build a fireplace in her new house. Dana becomes more than a client, and for the first time in twenty years, Reece longs to be with someone other than himself.

Then a local woman is murdered in the same savage manner as the murder that sent Reece to prison. More than one person wants him to take the fall, including Dana’s ex-husband, the local prosecutor, who’s determined to convict Reece in the high-profile case. But Reece won’t be railroaded again. Four men were with him the night of the first murder. One of them is the killer. Reece goes underground to discover who’s setting him up and why. Dana insists on going along, and against his better judgment, he relents. With both the police and FBI on their trail, it’s a race against time and a crafty murderer who will kill again.

Order the Book From: Amazon
Mind Games - A Diana Racine Psychic Suspense Book 1
During a New Orleans Mardi Gras Ball, psychic entertainer Diana Racine touches the hand of a masked Cyrano de Bergerac and is instantly transported into the icy-cold body of a dead woman submerged in water. As Diana crumples to the floor, water filling her lungs, she hears Cyrano whisper that the game has begun.

Diana has been called every epithet in the book: charlatan, cheat, publicity hound…and genius--all at least partially true. But convincing New Orleans police lieutenant Ernie Lucier that her vision of the dead woman is the real thing may be her hardest act yet. He becomes a believer when Diana leads him to the alligator-infested bayou and the woman's remains. When another vision leads to another body, it's clear that the two dead women are a prelude to the killer's ultimate victim--Diana.

Order the Book From: Amazon
High-priced call girl Tawny Dell boasts a client list that’s part Fortune 500, part Five Families. With a PhD in art history and a tidy chunk of money stashed offshore, she hangs up her G-string with plans to retire to a Mediterranean island to open a gallery. Lincoln Walsh, NYPD sex-crimes investigator, has other ideas. He wants Tawny to work undercover at a high-class sex club to discover who murdered a prostitute with ties to the club. The club is owned by an ex-hedge fund manager who’d do anything to hook Tawny into his harem. In exchange for Tawny’s cooperation, Linc’s office, in collaboration with Treasury, will see she avoids prison for failing to pay Uncle Sam his share from years of illegal earnings. But Tawny gets more than she bargained for—another dead prostitute, a mob boss who’s an old client, and romantic stirrings for the hot New York cop sending her back into the world’s oldest profession. Adult language and situations.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Psychologist Abigael Gallant fought her way back from her ex-husband’s brutal attack that killed their daughter and left her blind. Now she “reads” audio books, runs with a guide at a local track, and has a thriving practice that specializes in treating the newly disabled. The last thing she needs is another man in her life.

Enter Detective Luke McCallister, a cop forced into counseling a year after a gun blast during a meth lab take-down robbed him of his hearing. Luke is fighting hard to stay on the force, but computer work and fingerprint analysis are not what he has in mind. Initially reluctant to Abby’s therapy, Luke’s barriers tumble because Abby sees deeper into him than anyone ever cared to.

Though Luke’s lip reading is excellent, he refuses to “listen” to Abby’s warning that his romantic overture jeopardizes her professional ethics. But when break-ins and threatening computer messages escalate into a physical attack on Abby and her guide dog, Luke walks a fine line between cop, protector, and lover. Unable to deny their physical attraction, Abby and Luke tiptoe around their personal baggage and enter into a delicate relationship.

Then Abby is kidnapped. While Luke puts his life at risk to find her, Abby discovers the ghosts of her past are back to haunt her, and the man she once loved was as much of a victim as she.

Order the Book From: Amazon - Barnes and Noble
Author Recommended by: HBSystems Publications
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
HBS Author's Spotlight
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Check out the index of other Spotlight authors. Spotlight Index.


  1. Thanks for having me today, James. This was a fun interview.

  2. A great interview with Polly. Her books are beautifully plotted and written and a treat to read. I love them!

  3. Thanks, Michele. Considering you're such a good writer yourself, I'm gratified you like them.

  4. Terrifc books with beautiful covers... I'm always ready for your next one!

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Thanks, Peg. I've read all of yours and enjoyed each one. Thanks, too, for your help with Backlash. You're in the acknowledgments.

  7. Huge fan of Polly Iyer. The woman is not only the real deal as far as an author, she's an artist who never ages. Looking forward to Backlash! Nice blog.

  8. Never ages? Wish I agreed with that. Thanks, Donnell, for the author compliment. All the authors dropping in today are some of my favorites. All terrific storytellers, and isn't that what it's all about? Thanks so much.

  9. Did I misspell Barnes & Noble? Oops!

  10. Interesting interview. I'm a big fan of your books. Looking forward to Chain Reaction, or whatever it ends up. The Gardner art theft is fascinating.

    1. Thanks, Ellis. I'm a big fan of yours too. You're an excellent writer, and your stories are also excellent.

      I'm waffling about the title for the next book. I doubt Chain Reaction will be the final one. Maybe something will pop up during edits that suits the story. Right now, I'm blank. Thanks for stopping by.