Amy M. Reade Interviews Sylvie Carmichael of Highland Peril

When Maggie first asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I had a hard time settling on a topic.

I considered writing about research, my experiences in Scotland (and the Highlands in particular), family vacations in general, the mystery festival Maggie and I were going to attend together, and the craft of mystery writing.

But I was working on another blog post when I came up with a different idea: how about an interview with one of my characters? My hope is that it will give you a glimpse into my upcoming release, Highland Peril, and also give you a chance to get to know my main protagonist, Sylvie, a bit better.


Interviewer (“I”): Do you mind if I record this interview?

Sylvie Carmichael (“SC”): I suppose not.

I: I’m here with Sylvie Carmichael, part owner (with her husband) of Highland Treasures, an antique shop/art gallery in the village of Cauld Loch in the Scottish Highlands. I’m interviewing her today because of her connection with one of the persons of interest in the death of Florian McDermott. Sylvie, as I understand it your husband, Seamus, has been questioned by police a number of times regarding the death of Mr. McDermott. Is that correct?

SC: It is correct, but he had nothing to do with that man’s death.

I: And we’re supposed to take your word for it?

SC: Isn’t that why you invited me here?

I: I’m the one asking the questions, Mrs. Carmichael. So we’re supposed to take your word for it?

SC: Listen, you. My husband may have spent some time in prison, but he’s paid his debt to society. He’s a sweet, gentle man.

I: Why was he in prison?

SC: He assaulted someone, but it was in self-defense. It’s not in his character to hurt people. Really.

I: Uh-huh. How did you come to be acquainted with Florian McDermott?

SC: He was a customer in our store. He bought a painting from us.

I: Was there anything significant about the painting?

SC: The man who painted it was an old Scottish master, a famous artist. Seamus first saw the painting in an old junk shop in Edinburgh and he bought it for a steal.

I: No pun intended.

SC: I don’t think you’re very funny.

I: Sorry. Please continue.

SC: Anyway, Florian came around one day and liked the painting and bought it.

I: Then he was killed?

SC: Yes. He was killed in a car accident that night.

I: The police obviously don’t think it was an accident.

SC: I suppose not. My money is on the guy who came looking for that same painting the next morning.

I: What guy?

SC: We don’t know his name, but he drove all night long, all the way up from London (or so he says), to see the painting in our shop. But by that time Florian had bought it and left.

I: Interesting. What’s so special about that painting?

SC: I have no idea. No one seems to know. But there must be something about it that would make someone kill to get it.

I: Who has the painting now?

SC: I don’t know. It wasn’t found among Florian’s things when the police found his car.

I: Do the police have any leads, other than questioning your husband?”

SC: Not that I know of. I’m not exactly on their list of people to call when new evidence turns up. But it wasn’t Seamus, of that I can assure you.

I: Yes. You mentioned that earlier. What brought you to the Highlands? As I understand it, you were previously a resident of Edinburgh.

SC: Seamus convinced me to move up here to get away from the city. At first I resisted, but I’ve come to love living in the Highlands.

I: What do you love most about it?

SC: It’s quiet, or it was until the frenzy surrounding Florian’s death. And I love the mountain behind my house and the loch that the village is named for. I’m a photographer and every day brings something new in the Highlands, whether it’s the interplay of light and shadow on the surface of the loch or the wildlife that live in the woods.

I: Do you miss living in Edinburgh?

SC: I miss some things about it. I miss my sister and her daughter, for example. When Seamus and I go to Edinburgh now it’s a treat. I don’t take it for granted anymore. But I’m always glad to be back home in Cauld Loch.

I: Anything else you’d like to say?

SC: Just that Seamus is a good man. He would never have hurt Florian McDermott. He wants nothing more than to see the police catch the person responsible for Florian’s death.

I: Thanks, Mrs. Carmichael.

SC: You’re welcome.

Amy M. Reade is a cook, chauffeur, household CEO, doctor, laundress, maid, psychiatrist, warden, seer, teacher, and pet whisperer. In other words, a wife, mother, and recovering attorney. But she also writes (how could she not write with that last name?) and is the author of The Malice Series (The House on Candlewick Lane, Highland Peril, and Murder in Thistlecross) and three standalone books, Secrets of Hallstead House, The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor, and House of the Hanging Jade. She lives in southern New Jersey, but loves to travel. Her favorite places to visit are Scotland and Hawaii and when she can’t travel she loves to read books set in far-flung locations.

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Amy M. Reade Interviews Sylvie Carmichael of Highland Peril — 15 Comments

  1. It’s been a long time since I’ve read an interview of a character. I’ve never written one, but I think I will at some point. The character can be surly, crusty, rude, which the author wouldn’t want to be if it was an interview of him/her. Also, some of the author interviews happen so frequently that they begin sounding the same. This was totally different and you get a “feel” for one of the book characters. This was more fun getting a peek of your book through this character.

    • Thank you, Linda! It was a fun post for me to write and it made me really think about how Sylvie would respond to questions about her husband and about the events in the book. I think it’s a great exercise even if I hadn’t planned on posting it. I definitely plan on writing more character interviews.

  2. I’ve posted about my characters but never in an interview format. Like with Sylvie, I think more will be revealed about a character in an interview. I will definitely adopt this technique.

  3. What fun! I definitely got an idea of what Sylvie is like and perhaps of her husband Seamus. Hmmmm. Sounds like a mystery to me. ? Fun unique interview!