Meet the Author: Erin Lynn/Emily Queen

Erin Emily
Add a subheading 1 1 Meet the Author: Erin Lynn/Emily Queen

Hello there,

My name is Erin Lynn (and Emily Queen!) and I want to welcome you to the Sleuthing Women blog! I'm going to be honest and tell you I don't relish writing about myself, but it's a necessary part of my job so I'm going to give it a go and ask that you bear with me if I go off topic.

Why is that a phrase? It's bear with me and not bare with me, right? I mean, neither make immediate sense and the second one seems inappropriate given you know absolutely nothing about me except that my attention span sucks. See, off topic.

Ok, so the basics. I'm almost 40, and I live in rural Maine and write cozy mysteries with my mom. Yes, you read that right. She's ReGina Welling, another one of the Sleuthing Women in this group, and you can find out more about her here. I'll talk about working with my mom in a minute, but first some background:

Writing has always been a way for me to process emotion. I've got dozens of old diaries and journals full of angsty teen poetry, short stories, and, I'm going to be honest--complaints about my tyrannical parents who wouldn't let me go to a concert two hours away with a bunch of 19-year-old dudes (I was 14--thanks, Mom and Dad, for knowing when to say NO!).

I knew I had a predilection for writing, and I applied myself in English class, even taking two years with the most detested (and best, in my opinion, because she PUSHED us) teacher at my high school. In the back of my mind a dream began to form, and I entered college as an English major with every intention of becoming a writer someday.

But you know, shit happens. I discovered a love for Anthropology and changed majors. I got married for what I perceived as love and then divorced within a year, then got pregnant, quite unexpectedly shortly thereafter. Basically, life kicked in, and started kicking me in the proverbial nards. I stopped journaling. I stopped dreaming about writing. I was going to be the best parent I could be, and that meant finding a stable career. I changed majors again to accounting, and proceeded to slice off a little piece of my soul with every data entry keystroke.

Don't get me wrong; my kids have never been a burden nor are they really the reason I put my pen away. I thought I was growing up, doing the right thing, creating stability. I felt I no longer had the luxury of living in a dream world, not if I was going to be a good mother. I probably thought I'd never make it anyway, and so why bother? I was wrong, about a lot of things. I got divorced again, only much more painfully this time, and again resigned myself to a certain lifestyle.

Then, my mother, at 50, enrolled in college and got herself a mixed media art degree. I thought that was pretty awesome, and when she parlayed one of her writing projects into a book series I was even more impressed. Shortly thereafter, she published and started actually selling books. It got me thinking, and it got her thinking, and we started throwing around some ideas for stories we thought would be fun to write together.

It was incredibly scary to leave my steady job--I was the scheduling supervisor for a homecare agency, with my own office and a nice salary--but I knew that ultimately, independence was what I craved. I love getting to work from home, in my PJs. I sit on my deck and watch the birds in the summer; I stay home and off the snowy roads during the winter. I'm here when my kids get back from school and if I need to take personal time I don't have to ask anyone's permission. I get to make up stories for a living, and that's a pretty awesome job to have!

Thank goodness my mom is also my very best friend, because there have been times where I think we both might have happily drowned one other in a lake and let me tell you--we both know how to hide a body! Seriously though, I'm incredibly lucky to get to work so closely with her. Sometimes it feels like we share a brain, and it's a good damn thing because co-writing can be incredibly difficult!

Long story short (not really, apparently!), we wrote a few series together before realizing that while we love co-authoring, we do have differing interests and distinctive voices. Working a bit more independently offers more flexibility, which has become a necessity over the last couple of crazy years. We still develop, plot, and storyboard together, trade off editing and revisions, and help each other out when our respective stories have hit a wall or a hole or fallen into the gaping abyss where plots go to die. But nowadays, she's the driving force behind our Haunted Everly After mysteries and I focus on writing historical mysteries under the pen name Emily Queen.

It's our own special formula and it works for us! Here's an example:

I left an in-text note in the manuscript for "A Murder Most Unlikely", one of Emily's titles. I'd realized that one of my characters needed a distinctive feature, but I was working in a later chapter and didn't want to interrupt my flow by going back right then. The note simply said "this character needs to have a big mole above his eyebrow."

Weeks later, during post, I get a message out of the blue that says "just how big is this mole?" No preamble, just that question--like I said, we share the same brain so of course I knew exactly what she was asking about. "However big you want it to be," was my reply, and then I got back, "Perfect. I've given it a couple of hairs that look like antennae. So it looks like a large ladybug."

I may have snorted. I  may have even spouted water (ok, fine, wine) out of my nose. This is how the passage turned out, in case you're interested, and it's from "A Murder Most Unlikely":

"While the man expounded upon the sublime beauty and resonant eloquence of a single brush stroke, all Rosemary could think about was the size and shape of the mole above his eyebrow. Two thick hairs sprouting from one end, and made it look as though a brown ladybug had landed on the man’s forehead and decided to take up residence there. Fascinated, it wasn’t until she heard Abbot mention the word injection, that she was able to pull her attention back to the conversation."

Just one of the reasons I love working with my mom, and why she's invaluable to my writing. She can take "needs to have a big mole above his eyebrow" and turn that mole into its own character.

As you can see, we've both got huge personalities, and let me tell you it's a family trait we've passed down to my boys. Seriously, they're both the coolest. Kash, my 17-year-old high-school junior, creates video games. He's started his own company with his best friend and his girlfriend, and they create mobile games. You can actually buy one on Google Play, which is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. And bonus--he'd rather be in his room coding than out on the streets getting into trouble.

Although, there was this one time he got brought home by the local sheriff for trespassing, but the building was abandoned and I have to claim some responsibility for creating an inquisitive child with very little fear. However, he has been threatened with certain death if he ever attempts something like that again, and I confiscated his lockpick set (it was a gift from the same BFF he games with, during a prolonged "spy" phase I'm glad is finally over). This is the kid who dusted my Kindle for fingerprints so he could get my code to turn off the parental controls. My hands are full, it's a wonder I get any writing done at all!

My youngest, who is now 15 and a half (oh god, I'm old. I'm old and now I'm hyperventilating about it), is just about the chillest kid you'll ever meet. Wyatt likes musical theater, Dungeons and Dragons, video games (what can I say, it's a family theme), and binging TV with his mother.

Currently we're on season 7 of Brooklynn 99, which I thought would be stupid and it IS, but it's funny stupid and I'm completely hooked. We're very excited about "How I Met Your Father" since HIMYM is a household favorite. We're also rewatching White Collar, mostly because Willie Garson died and it made us incredibly sad.

We play board games and do puzzles, and have completed a few of those "mystery in a box" sets you can get from places like the Deadbolt Society. Sometimes we bake--last weekend we made the "Motherboard Cake" from Rosanna Pansino's "Nerdy Nummies" cookbook. Here's a photo but you have to promise no judgies--my creative streak does not extend to art/anything that requires coordination!

20220313 183230 Meet the Author: Erin Lynn/Emily Queen

You can see what it was supposed to look like here.

The boys' stepfather, my current partner-in-crime (you counted right, I've been divorced twice, so we're holding off on the legality thing, but it's been 9 years so I think it's sticking!), Alexander, is also a huge video game enthusiast and streamer. My house is FILLED with electronics and game consoles. We don't even use our dining room for eating because that's the only place we can play our Oculus VR systems (there are 4 in this house right now, and we may need an intervention! No, scratch that, we're fine. You'll never take our tech!!).

So that's me. 39 (ye gads!) years old; two cool kids and a pretty awesome sort-of husband; rural Maine; can hide a body. Oh, and I write sometimes and share a brain with my mommy. It's fine, totally normal. We also have two dogs and three cats in addition to the four people in this very small, very old house! If you want to see photos of my family/menagerie, keep checking back here or click one of the links below to find me (and Emily!) on the web and social media.

I'm going to stop talking about myself now and let you get to know the other sleuthing women in this group. They're all awesome, hilarious hustlers and you're going to love them!


Erin Lynn 💗 Emily Queen

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