Friday, 10 March 2017

Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Lynne Kennedy

I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Lynne Kennedy to A Bookaholic Swede to talk with me about her story, Time Exposure: Civil War. With a Masters’ Degree in Science and more than 28 years as a science museum director, Lynne Kennedy has had the opportunity to study history and forensic science, both of which play significant roles in her novels. She has written five historical mysteries, each solved by modern technology.

Time Exposure: Civil War photography meets digital photography to solve a series of murders in two centuries.

The Triangle Murders was the winner of the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Mystery Category, 2011, and was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Award for independent books of high standards.

Deadly Provenance has also been awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion and was a finalist for the San Diego Book Awards. With the release of Deadly Provenance, Lynne has launched a "hunt for a missing Van Gogh," the painting which features prominently in the book. "Still Life: Vase with Oleanders" has, in actuality, been missing since WWII.

Her fourth book, Pure Lies, won the 2014 “Best Published Mystery” award by the San Diego Book Awards, and was a finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award.

Time Lapse, her fifth and latest mystery, premiered at the end of 2016 to all 5-star reviews. She blogs regularly and has many loyal readers and fans. Visit her website at

Hi Lynne, it's so nice to have you stop by. Can you tell me how did you discover indieBRAG?

I’ve actually won Indie BRAG awards for two of my other books: The Triangle Murders and Deadly Provenance.

Can you tell me what Time Exposure is about?

Briefly: In present day Washington, D.C., renowned digital photographer Maggie Thornhill discovers a mummified corpse in her basement. She believes it to be her ancestor, famed Civil War photographer Joseph Thornhill. The truth she uncovers, however, will change written history as we know it.

Can you tell me more about Maggie Thornhill?

Tim Exposure is the first of the Maggie Thornhill series. Maggie is 30-year old digital photographer who heads up a lab at Georgetown University, Washington DC. She often works with law enforcement to help cases in which photography can be used. She is bright, does not suffer fools and, essentially, wants to rid the world of bad guys.

Why is Maggie Thornhill convinced that it’s Joseph Thornhill that she has found in the basement?

Maggie’s great, great grandfather was a famous Civil War photographer (and the reason she pursued a career in photography.) Through his diaries and photographs, she learns that he had taken photographs of a mysterious civilian on the battlefield, whom he believed was a killer. Maggie assumes that this killer found out about Joseph, murdered him, and buried him in his own basement, now her basement.

Who is Joseph Thornhill’s mentor Alexander Gardner?

In all my novels, I try to make the historical parts of the story as authentic as possible, both in real events and real characters. Alexander Gardner was, in fact, a famous Civil War photographer who began working under Mathew Brady, but then became famous in his own right. Many of the well-known Civil War photographs, and those of Abraham Lincoln, were taken by Gardner. He is an important character in Time Exposure, because my fictional character, photographer Joseph Thornhill, works with Gardner on the battlefields.

Can you tell me more about photography during the Civil War?

The Civil War was the first major “conflict” to be photographed extensively. Besides the portraits of soldiers, etc., done as tintypes and ambrotypes (replacing daguerrotypes, for the most part), photographers who ventured onto the battlefield had a difficult task. They used wagons for their supplies, often called “Whatizit” wagons since they looked odd. The newest technology at the time was the “wet-collodion” process, where an image was captured on chemically coated pieces of plate glass, a time-consuming venture. Also the cameras themselves were big, bulky, and heavy and took time to set up. One interesting note: photographers often set up the scene after a battle to get the best shot. Sad to say, but yes, the photos were often staged.

What inspired you to write this story?

When I was a museum director in San Diego, we hosted a Smithsonian Lecture Series. One program from the National Museum of American History was about Civil War photography. I was hooked. That, combined with my love of history plus my experience in science and technology, inspired me to write mysteries that took place in the past, around real historical events, but solve them today with modern technology.

Any author’s that have inspired you in your writing?

I think the book that launched my writing adventure is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. A western, can you believe? The reason I found this book so special was its characters. They are so real and rich you cannot possibly forget them. Any of them. The plot, the setting, the atmosphere, dialogue, etc. all work too. But the characters are simply unforgettable.

What are you reading now?

I read many types of books: mysteries, historical fiction, literary fiction. I also read a lot of non-fiction, particularly in researching my books. My favorite author these days is Kristin Hannah. She has a lovely style and characters that resonate and remain with you long after the book is finished. Unfortunately, when I try to think of a favorite mystery, none really come to mind. They all blend together. I write mysteries, so what does that say? At the moment I’m reading David Baldacci’s The Last Mile, and, frankly, am disappointed. The good news? There are so many books to choose from. The bad news? There are so many books to choose from.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Since my book goes back in time and is about photography in two centuries, Time Exposure seemed like a fitting title.

Who designed your book cover?

Based on an idea from a friend and colleague, also a writer, the concept of looking through a digital camera screen at a scene back in time to the Civil War was a perfect fit. The artists at BookBaby Publishers did the execution.

A Message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Magdalena has chosen to interview Lynne Kennedy who is the author of, Time Exposure: Civil War, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Time Exposure: Civil War, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.

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