Who’s sitting in the Author Spotlight today? Haley Walsh, author of the Skyler Foxe Mystery Series. Haley is here today to talk about her latest release and the inspiration behind Skyler Fox. This M/M romantic mystery series follows the teaching and unwitting sleuthing career of Skyler Foxe, high school English teacher!
Haley Walsh is giving away one eBook copy of Desert Foxe (Skyker Foxe Mystery Series 5). To enter to win, leave a comment with an address where you can be reached in the body of the email. Do you have a favorite sleuth? Tell us about it and be entered to win. Contest ends 11/22/2014.
The Story Behind the Skyler Foxe Mystery Series
By Haley Walsh
There’s a story behind every story. What inspired the books? What, if any of it, is from your own life? But the story behind my latest Skyler Foxe Mystery was more than that. It happened quite a few years ago, in fact. Long ago and far away.
It’s strange to have been pals (and have dated) gay guys all one’s adult life and yet not know about m/m romance until recently. Sometimes you walk around with blind spots. But when I did discover it, it sort of became something sitting in the back of my mind. After all, I was working on a career as a novelist. I didn’t have time for this. I was writing serious books! Of course, about that time, I had veered my writing toward the fun genre of murder and mayhem: mysteries! But these were still fairly serious being historical mysteries, something dense with prose and heady research. In fact, research took up a lot of my time besides the day job, but I did finally get that publishing contract from a big New York publisher. No, it’s not all that glamorous and money is not tumbling into my hands, but let’s just say it is slightly prestigious and ego-boosting.
And yet, here at the back of my mind was this other story just squirming around taking up my daydreaming time. Since I was in mystery mode now it began being shaped as a mystery, and since I love writing characters with depth, it started to be populated with all kinds of interesting people with detailed backstories. For my day job, I had been working with kids and teens for six years, and with the teens there was so much drama from the least little thing. My writer’s eye took note, memorizing details like the toss of a head, the scrunch of a nose, someone wearing their sunglasses at the back of their head, the slouching, the strutting, the posturing, the slang! Yes, an idea was definitely forming.
I like stories to have all sorts of things going on. And especially in a mystery, it isn’t necessarily the puzzle that is the most important thing in the book. The characters and their lives and loves can become the main thrust and the mystery can come along and screw it all up. Making my detective an amateur sleuth and putting him in a high school setting as a teacher added just the right amount of angst, red herrings, and plot galore to keep a series going for a good long time.
I do use my own past experiences with teens, my own sense of humor, some of the characterizations of gay men I have known. These books are supposed to be funny, light-hearted romantic mysteries but they also deal with some serious themes and issues, including homophobia, murder, and the sexual orientation of teens. It’s fluff but deep fluff. Fluff noir.
And then I got the idea from watching the television show, Veronica Mars, that one could have a mystery solved in each episode but still have an on-going story arc stretch throughout the season. And I got it in my head to do that with the first three books of this series, making it like a mini-series pilot. Each book will have its own puzzle, its own murder to solve, but there will be something going on in the background, something strange and dangerous to keep the characters on edge for three books until the final denouement in book three.
And so we started with FOXE TAIL. Skyler Foxe is a young, fun-loving player, a brand new high school English teacher in a bible belt sort of region in southern California. He loves teaching, loves his school kids, has an unnatural obsession with Motown music, and loves going out dancing with his friends, who are all former hook-ups—what are affectionately known as the Skyler Fuck Club or SFC—and just wants nothing more than partying on weekends and getting down to English Lit during the week. Of course—this being a mystery—he also falls into murder.
In the first book, FOXE TAIL, Skyler finds a dead body outside a dance club and discovers it’s the son of his high school principal.
And in FOXE HUNT, Skyler meets up again with former hook-ups and friends, Jeff and Evan, just kicked out of the Army for don’t ask don’t tell. Evan came home wounded and very depressed and winds up dead. The police call it suicide but Skyler discovers it’s murder. Meanwhile, through all this, something fishy is going on behind the scenes at the high school. A math teacher, hinting at her own fears and suspicions, is pushed down the stairs and ends up in a coma. And the gorgeous new assistant football coach, Keith Fletcher, is acting suspiciously himself, and seems to know more than he should.
In book three, OUT-FOXED, while chaperoning a high school dance Skyler has just been dragged out of the closet by the hunky assistant football coach—a man he thought he knew. But when Sky discovers Keith has been keeping a big secret, he breaks it off, leaving both of them lonely and confused. With troubles mounting from the press, angry parents, confused students, Skyler’s own mom, and a murdered teacher, what’s a boy to do but discover—once and for all–who’s behind all the dirty doings at James Polk High? A novella followed, volume 3 ½ called FOXE DEN: A Holiday Collection. It has no mystery at all, but what I call “DVD extras.” We see Skyler and his main squeeze Keith through the holiday season with some hot action as well as navigating the scary territory of a first time relationship.
Book four, FOXE FIRE, is a standalone though it does continue the story arc of Skyler and his boyfriend Keith while Skyler is trying to stop an arsonist and a murderer, worrying that it might be one of his students. And in the latest release, DESERT FOXE, Skyler and his cadre of friends goes to the White Party in Palm Springs for some fun, frivolity, and luscious men but wind up getting involved in murder and more when the FBI asks Skyler to do the unthinkable.
There are more books in the future with Skyler tackling some of the knottier issues of LGBT life and, of course, solving murders.
Genre: M/M mystery/humor
Is it Part of a Series: It is number 5 in the series, which is also available for review
Publication Date: Nov 7
Length of book: 230 pages
Formats: Print and ebook: mobi, pdf, Kindle
Haley Walsh tried acting, but decided the actor’s life was not for her. Instead, she became a successful graphic designer in Los Angeles, her hometown. After fifteen years of burning money in the ’80s and early ’90s, she retired from the graphics industry and turned her interests toward writing. She became a freelance newspaper reporter, wrote articles for quirky magazines, published award-winning short stories, and now writes an acclaimed gay mystery series, the Skyler Foxe Mysteries. She’s lived all her life in southern California, sampling wines and chomping chocolate. Yeah, it’s a living.
You can contact Haley Walsh at: