Monday, August 15, 2011

Author Interview: Lindsay Downs on Emily Cahill, CID Part 1

Today I'm interviewing Lindsay Downs, who specializes in military-themed mysteries and romantic thrillers. We're discussing her mystery novelette collection, Emily Cahill, CID Part 1.

Tell us about your collection.

For those not familiar with that particular unit, they’re the Army equivalent, only better, to the Navy NCIS.

The stories:

"Final Mission"

After being seriously wounded in a copter crash in Iraq, Sgt. Emily Dahill meets her new partner as she embarks on her new Army career as a CID agent. Who could this new partner be?

"A Body in the Snow"

Emily and her partner, Dakota, cross bullets with their most determined foe. Who will survive?

"Right Place, Wrong Day"

On leave to hang with friends Emily gets the surprise of her life.

"Dog on Fishing"

When it comes to knowing how to fish, and catch the big ones, never underestimate your partner. He might surprise you.

Your book is focused on military characters. How did you bring verisimilitude to your depictions of military characters? Many stories are notorious for their laughably incorrect depictions of military personnel?

As we all know or should know the military isn’t a joke. It’s serious and so I try to impart that feeling onto my readers. When the characters are in uniform I work hard at making them believable: what they do, say and how they act. There have been several movies made over the past ten or so years that are so totally inaccurate as to make them laughable. Not to mention there’s at least one show on a major network where the characters, solve the crime, but are constantly bickering or harassing each other. Totally unprofessional, both in the field or workplace.

What made you choose to develop Dakota, the dog, so much? What does that bring to some of these stories that they otherwise may have lacked?

Dakota is not just a dog. He’s a collie from the great Kebi’s first litter. Highly intelligent, intuitive but still able to have fun if the situation warrants it.

I wanted a different twist to my stories. Not that I don’t put enough twists and turns in already. With Dakota he can help take the story/investigation to a different, quite frequently a comic, level. After all, collies have a different, sometimes strange, way of doing things.

Most authors will partner two people but I wanted something unique. Someone that would stand out in the readers mind. I first introduced a collie, Kebi, in my romantic thriller, Target Identified. She was partnered with Alison and in the end was instrumental in the rescue of her father and fiancée. So with the Emily Dahill, CID stories I decided to expand on the role of the collie.

Do you feel the continued involvement of the United States in multiple overseas engagements might influence reader’s perceptions of your characters? Did you ever have any concern about writing about characters who have experience from such recent conflicts?

Let me start out by saying I support the women and men of the United States military. So much of what we hear on TV and read, either in the paper or on line, is only about the negative events involving our troops, the removal of Osama Be Laden aside. When do we hear the good our troops do for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Not often enough, if at all. As far as my readers perceptions being influenced, that I can’t answer. I will do my best to portray, Emily, her team and the soldiers in the most favorable light I can, unless they are the criminal.

How did you come up with Emily Dahill?

The short answer, the vivid imagination of a writer.

For the long answer you’d have to go and read all my books. There aren’t that many, yet, so no whining. In each one you’ll find the heroine is a powerful, not in strength but character and conviction, individual. Strong, independent yet at the same time caring. But, hurt someone she loves and watch out.

I developed the same traits in Emily. With that in mind, the next step was to find where she belonged in the Army. I have a minor character, Special Agent Thaddeus Dahill, CID, in Target Identified, and thought wouldn’t it be great if he had a daughter who followed in his footsteps. To give her a human quality, I gave her a fear of helicopters.

She is a constantly developing and evolving character. In each story you, the reader, will learn a little more about her. How she works. How she thinks. And her all important, especially to her team members, axioms of safety and preservation.

What got you started writing fiction?

I started writing with an eye toward being published in 2006, and got my first contract in 2008, and haven’t stopped.

What authors have influenced you?

I really couldn’t say that I’ve been influenced by any author in particular. I tend to read a wide variety of genres and authors.

Anything else you want to share with us?

I am in the process of working on Emily Dahill, CID Part 2. If things go according to plan, the book should be out in six to nine months, but in publishing, some things never go as planned.


Thanks for sharing, Lindsay. Of course, as an Air Force veteran I think I'm honor-bound to insist that the OSI is better than both the NCIS and the CID.

You can find Emily Cahill, CID Part 1 at:

Astraea Press
Barnes & Noble

For the next six months, all proceeds from the sale of her collection will be donated to the Japanese tsunami victims.

If you're interested in a virtual author signing on your e-book (ah, how things have changed so quickly), please visit


J. Gunnar Grey said...

I love that J.A. Beard asked how you write military characters and you discussed the collie. That's classic Lindsay.

J.A. Beard said...

Ooops, that's a mistake, as she had a different answer. Blogger was being all weird when I was trying to type this in, so I'll go update that now.

J.A. Beard said...

There we go. All fixed. Sorry about that Lindsay!

Anonymous said...

I love the idea of showing the partnership between agent and canine. Though I wonder if Dakota sometimes steals Emily's thunder, and how she might feel about that.

J. Gunnar Grey said...

And now it makes perfect sense. I love Lindsay's collies--they're so well portrayed.

Lindsay said...

Kay- Usually the only thing Dakota might steal is food when no one is looking

Lindsay said...

Gunnar- having had a collie and planning to get another it's fun showing them in action. And there is a lot more planned with those two

Lindsay said...

Thank you for having me on your blog today. I enjoyed the visit.

J.A. Beard said...

Your welcome.

J.A. Beard said...

You're welcome, that is.