by Rita Charleston
Today she lives in Abington, but her roots to our area are strong and long-lasting, ever since her great-grandmother came to America back in 1912 and settled in Chestnut Hill. “And several of my cousins still live in the Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy and Erdenheim areas,” said author Wendy Tyson, 46, who grew up in North Wales and will launch her latest book, “Dying Brand,” Saturday, May 9, at the North Wales Area Library, 233 S. Swartley St. in North Wales, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Net proceeds from the event will be given to the library to help them pay off their mortgage, and $2 from the sale of each copy of “Dying Brand” and two other books by Wendy will be donated to one of her favorite charities, Home At Last Dog Rescue.
“Dying Brand” is the third installment in the Allison Campbell mystery series. Set primarily in the Philadelphia area, this book continues the story of image consultant Campbell and the other characters introduced in”Killer Image” and “Deadly Assets.”
In “Dying Brand,” Allison is thrust into a murder investigation as her former boyfriend is found dead, slain on the streets of Philadelphia. His widow claims he was meeting with Allison, yet Allison hadn’t spoken to him in years. Nothing about his death — or his life — makes sense. And when compromising photos from their past arrive at Allison’s office, they raise more questions than they answer.
Tyson, who is not only an author but also a lawyer and former therapist, says her background inspired her mysteries and thrillers. “I wrote my first short story at age eight, and writing has been a love of mine ever since,” she said. “But the basis for this series actually grew out of the contrast between two prior careers. Before I was a lawyer, I worked as a mental health therapist, working in a residential treatment setting primarily with young girls at risk.
“Then, working as a lawyer on the Main Line, being in a place of affluence versus the kids I’d seen who had absolutely nothing and had seen the worst side in life, is where Allison came from. That contrast made me think a lot about image and what people see and respond to on the outside.”
And Allison has become one of Tyson’s favorite people. “I like her very much because she herself grew up as an outsider and is very good about seeing the beauty and the goodness underneath the surface. In fact, my original title for my first book was ‘Underneath It All.’ Allison and her family have been through a lot, and I think she uses the strength she’s gained from that to help others find the strength in themselves.”
With three books already out and devoted to the adventures of Allison Campbell, Tyson has signed a contract for three more, due out in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Tyson is also the author of the Greenhouse Mysteries Series, the first of which, “A Muddied Murder,” is due to be released in the spring of 2016.
Tyson is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers’ online magazine. She has been compared to other successful female authors of crime novels such as Main Line resident Lisa Scottoline, Sara Paretsky, Patricia Cornwall and Sue Grafton. When she’s not writing, which is most of her free time, she is employed by a mutual fund company in Malvern. She lives with her husband, three sons and three dogs on a small property where the family enjoys organic gardening.
And so, the question could be asked, when does Tyson have the free time to write? “Well, I get up very early in the morning before the kids are up and write for a few hours,” she explained. “Then it’s off to my job. But I do write on vacations and whenever I have the opportunity. By evening, I’m usually brain-dead, so I devote myself to my family. But I do try to write whenever I can.
“I don’t sleep a lot, and I think I would tell other women not to underestimate what they can do. There’s a Chinese proverb that’s always inspired me: ‘When sleeping women awake, mountains move.’ I love that sense of empowerment, and I think it should do the same for women of any age.”
Today, she said, all her dreams are coming true, “Years ago I swore that if I could find an agent, I would give writing my all. And I think I’ve been very, very lucky. And I think those of us who have achieved something, whether as a writer or anything else, have a duty to give back, to use success to benefit others, whether it be kids with no voice, dogs, whatever. And those are the kinds of things that bring great pleasure and satisfaction.”
For more information about Tyson’s appearance, call the library at 215-699-5410 or visit www.watyson.com.