From the Booking Desk:

Vanessa Lillie is on the East Coast, but I haven’t yet had the chance to meet her in person. But I am very excited for her debut novel, Little Voices, coming out this Fall. I don’t think I have had a debut author on the Composite Sketch series before their book was out yet, so I wanted to capitalize on that opportunity and invited Vanessa to be profiled. She graciously accepted and I am so glad that she did. Wait until you see her answers.

Name: Vanessa Lillie
Location: Providence, Rhode Island

This person from my personal life is such an inspiration:

My maternal grandmother Bessie Knight. She always had a Literacy Council tote bag full of books slung over her shoulder. I’m pretty sure she read her way through the Miami, Oklahoma Public Library and the Native American library across town (we’re part Cherokee). I’d help her skim through the check-out cards to be sure her name wasn’t scribbled on the back. She had a tendency to check-out the same books and only realize halfway through that she’d already read it.

My grandmother’s love of reading didn’t stop at her own tote bag. She tutored people to read for decades. Many of the folks who came to learn at her kitchen table had recently immigrated, and she’d end up working with the whole family.   

She taught me that reading is a gift, and it’s one we should share in as many ways as possible.  

One of the people I admire most in the crime fiction community is:

Kellye Garrett. I was lucky enough to be co-mentees with her during Pitch Wars 2014. In a surprise to no one who has read her books, she went on to find her agent and book deal soon after. Her debut, Hollywood Homicide, won many awards, and she used her platform to share a vital message about more diversity needed in publishing. She’s given of her time and talent to organizations like Sisters in Crime and Pitch Wars. I not only admire her as a writer and am proud to call her a friend, but I’m deeply grateful for her leadership in the publishing community.  

STALKER ALERT! If this fictional character were real, they would likely need to get a restraining order against me:

The whole March family from Little Women. I’d be elbow-to-elbow with Laurie peering through their glowing windows and angling for an invite to the Pickwick Club. 

People are always surprised that I am a fan of this individual (singer, actor, or artist):

This may be outside the scope, but I know an embarrassing amount about the British royal family, especially Kate, Wills, Harry and our American Princess, Meghan.

I’ll be at Thrillerfest and Bouchercon this year, so if you see me at the bar, I’m happy to talk any manor of royal gossip from break-ups, fashion, feuds, weddings to heirs and spares.  

My personal catch phase is (or should be):

I have a four-year-old son, so “use your words” really applies to both of us.