Leigh Perry is Toni L.P. Kelner in disguise, or maybe vice versa. As Leigh, she writes the Family Skeleton mysteries, including the recently released The Skeleton Takes a Bow. As Toni, she’s the co-editor of New York Times best-selling anthologies with Charlaine Harris. Their most recent is Games Creatures Play. She’s also the author of the “Where Are They Now?” mysteries and the Laura Fleming series (all available as e-books and audiobooks), and an Agatha Award winner for short fiction. Leigh/Toni lives just north of Boston with her husband and fellow author Stephen P. Kelner, Jr., their two daughters, and two guinea pigs.
As for my writing background, I’m kind of a split personality. Though The Skeleton Takes a Bow is only my second novel as Leigh Perry, I’ve been publishing mysteries as Toni L.P. Kelner since 1993. As Toni, I wrote eleven novels in two series plus a couple of dozen short stories, and co-edited seven anthologies with Charlaine Harris.
So I’m both a newbie and a old timer.
In The Skeleton Takes a Bow, he’s playing the role of Yorkick in Madison’s high school production of Hamlet, and when he’s accidentally left backstage overnight, witnesses a murder. He can’t exactly go to the police, and there’s no body found anyway, so he and Georgia have to find the killer themselves.
That’s the bare bones of the story, anyway. (See what I did there? Har!)
Now, Sid broke that pattern. As soon as I got the idea for him, the voice and character were there, ready to go. Well, he is still a wiseacre.
The second challenge was having the second series cancelled? That hurt. A lot. I’d thought I was selling decently, but the numbers enough for the publisher to keep it going. But the payoff for that was my editor still believing in me. She bought the Sid books, and I’m having so much fun.
I figure if I made it through those two bad spells, I can make it through more.
L: I’ve got one more Family Skeleton book under contract, and I’m working on it, but don’t want to say too much about it yet. And I’m hoping I’ll get a contract for more after that.
Otherwise, I’ve got a story coming out in a horror anthology, which was a first for me. I don’t know the publication date, but the book is Seize the Night, edited by Christopher Golden.
I would love to be nominated for an Edgar—wining would be great, but just a nomination would be a joy to my heart. I want to be a GoH at Malice Domestic some day, and Bouchercon, too. Because I’m just that greedy. I want to hit the New York Times bestseller list with a novel. (I hit it with an anthology, but remember the greed part?) I would love to have a piece made into a movie or TV show that would involve me going to a red carpet opening.
But most important: to keep on being published. Awards, movies, bestsellers lists—all are gravy, and there will always be other authors who win more, become more famous, sell more books. That’s not winning the game. Winning the game is being able to keep on writing and keep on being published.
Night! I’m definitely a night owl.
Both. I have a skeletal dog named Femur and my new skeletal cat, Patty (short for Patella). In terms of live animals, I have joint responsibility for two guinea pigs: Spot and Clara.
Both, if at all possible. But if I had to choose, the magic at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. It’s got this magic sand that doesn’t creep into your bathing suit, and is close to a great ice cream place. Best of both worlds!