Mystery Thriller Week: Q&A with Joynell Schultz

Mystery Thriller Week, a celebration of the genre and its authors and readers, is officially underway and runs through February 22. If you’ve done the math, yes, it’s 10 rather than the usual seven days. It’s a super-sized week for a super-sized genre. For more information about the event, pop over to

In conjunction with the event, I’ll be sharing Q&As with mystery and thriller authors throughout the week (and a half).

Today, I’m happy to welcome Joynell Schultz, author of Love, Lies & Clones.

About the book

June Taylor never asked to be cloned. She never asked for the faulty heart that beats inside her chest. But most of all, she never asked for the chaos that would become her life.

When her estranged father mysteriously appears at her doorstep to warn her of impending danger, she immediately dismisses him. But when he goes missing, his seemingly unbelievable claims prove to be true. Not only is her life in danger, but the lives of others like her are at stake.

As clues about a malicious conspiracy unfold, an AWOL soldier emerges insistent that he holds the missing link in this deadly puzzle, but placing her trust in a stranger is the last thing June is willing to do.

With the clock ticking, can June trust him with her secret…and her heart?


What would you like readers to know about your book beyond what’s in the blurb?

Love, Lies & Clones explores what it means to be human. Twenty years ago, when scientific cloning was making the news with Dolly the sheep, I wondered what would happen if we cloned humans. Would these clones be as human as you and me? Would there be equal rights issues? That sparked the basic idea of this novel.

Do you start writing at the beginning of a story or to reach a future point you see in your imagination?

I usually have a few scenes that come to mind—sometimes it’s the ending and some key scenes, other times it includes the beginning. I then begin stringing them together with more and more scenes until I have a novel. That’s just for the outline though. Once the outline is done, I write the novel from front to back—then rewrite the novel a few times, as it never turns out perfect the first time.

What are your protagonist’s best and worst qualities?

June is very loyal to those she trusts and cares about. This is both her best and worst quality. She’ll do anything for you—if you can break through her wall and earn her trust.

What’s the most surprising or unexpected thing that happened to your characters as you were writing the story?

My main character developed some sympathy for the antagonist. I wasn’t intending for that to happen, but June just connected with the villain.

What’s the first book you can remember loving? What’s the last great book you read?

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle was the first book I remember loving. It also got me loving speculative fiction. Now, everything I write has an element of speculative fiction in it. The last great book I read was Sunshine by Robin McKinley. It was a reread for me, as I’m writing a similar type of book and needed some inspiration.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve heard or been given?

Have thick skin and keep writing, no matter what feedback you get. I’m very sensitive with my writing and a little negative feedback makes me want to throw in the towel. If I only knew, early in my writing life, that everyone gets negative feedback.

What did you wish I’d asked, and why?

Um… What my favorite color is? Because it’s blue. Blue is awesome, and everyone should like Blue.

How can readers find out more about you and your work?

Lots of places! I try to be visible:




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More Mystery Thriller Week Q&As:

Q&A with Paul Russell Parker III

Q&A with D. M. Barr

Q&A with Elena Hartwell

Q&A with Marie Jones