I'm pleased to welcome Emilya Naymark to Cozy Up With Kathy today.
Kathy: Behind the Lie deals with a mother's need to protect her son, which begs the question, do all sons deserve protecting?
EN: That’s an interesting question! It never occurred to me that a parent might not have their kid’s safety and wellbeing at the top of their agenda. I don’t know why it never occurred to me since the news, not to mention a ton of fiction, concerns just such parents.
For me, the answer is yes—all sons, all children. Even if, God forbid, my kid was Damien from The Omen, I’d still want to save him from his fiendish fate.
are more and more tragic reports of violence occurring at what should
be happy events. Did this sad reality give you the inspiration for the
violence at the summer block party in the book?
EN: In part. I live in a neighborhood very similar to Laney’s street in Behind the Lie. Before the pandemic, we threw gargantuan summer block parties, with one of them seeing nearly six hundred guests over the course of twelve hours. Being in the center of that is surreal, and my morbid imagination immediately took me down dark paths. I believe that anybody is capable of anything, given the right, or wrong circumstances—and a chaotic gathering seemed the perfect setting for violence.
Kathy: What first drew you to thrillers?
EN: I think I was always drawn to the sinister. Horror led to crime, crime led to thrillers and mysteries. Give me danger, regular people in trouble, an impossible conundrum—and I’m yours!
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
EN: Not recently. I’m a fan of everything well written, whether horror, fantasy, science fiction or literary, and as a result have tried my hand at each. I settled on thrillers and crime because I’m intrigued by character psychology. It’s a challenge to figure out why a person did some awful thing and to see how their own life and background influenced their choices.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
EN: Hide in Place and Behind the Lie feature Laney Bird, an ex-NYPD undercover detective turned private eye. Before the timeline of the series even begins, she bungles a Russian mob racketeering case, goes through a gut-wrenching divorce, and quits being a cop. She believes starting over in a small upstate New York town will fix everything, but, of course, people are capable of vicious crimes everywhere, even in small upstate towns.
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
EN: Laney is a lot of fun to write, but in the first novel I fell in love with Alfie, her teenage son. He’s such an endearing mix of earnest and clueless. In the second novel, I became deeply attached to Holly because she tries so murderously hard to be everything to everyone. I related to her more than is comfortable to admit.
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
EN: My husband worked as an undercover detective for the NYPD, and the stories he told of his adventures year after year filled me up and then boiled over. I threw having a teenager into the pot and the series birthed itself.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
EN: Publishing was always the goal. Although writing is a wonderful release in itself, I wanted to share what I wrote with readers.
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
EN: Anne Rice, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Tana French. And if one of them couldn’t make it, Octavia Butler. I just hope they’d be game enough to chat with each other because I’d be too star-struck to say a thing.
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
I’m always reading or listening to several books at once. Right now, I’m reading We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker, The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix and a book for a friend as she readies for publication.
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
EN: I trained as a visual artist, so I still draw and paint. I also refinish furniture and garden. My ideal day involves either a museum or a hike.
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
EN: Eggs, because we have our own chickens!
Tea, because I can’t go through a day without it. My most recent obsession is Irish Breakfast brewed together with looseleaf chamomile flowers. So good! I tried growing them myself, but only harvested enough for about ten cups, so now I buy enormous tubs of dried flowers.
Orange flavored dried cranberries from Trader Joe’s. Delicious.
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
EN: Yes, for both. I have a passion project I’ve been researching lately.
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
EN: Writing! Seeing my books in libraries and bookstores. Meeting other writers and making new friends. Getting fan mail! The list goes on…
A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney’s life—and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with the disappearance of her friend and another woman, she’ll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.
As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there’s fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy’s involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.
Laney’s personal life unravels as she’s drawn into her missing friend’s dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family’s included.
A story that will keep you guessing until the very end, Behind the Lie will not only grip readers, but also reveals the desperately true decisions women make for the sake of their families.
Emilya Naymark was born in a country that no longer
exists, escaped with her parents, lived in Italy for a bit, and ended up
in New York, which promptly became a love and a muse.
She is the author of the novels Hide in Place and the upcoming Behind the Lie, out February 8, 2022.
Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTERY.
When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family. You can find her at her website: https://www.emilyanaymark.com/author