7 Questions & 3 Expert Tips with Crime Author, Toby Neal. Giveaway! Blood Orchids

7 Questions & 3 Expert Tips with Crime Author, Toby Neal. Giveaway! Blood Orchids

I’m very excited to introduce you to today’s author. Born and raised on the island of Hawaii, Toby Neal uses her native knowledge and first-hand experience as a psychotherapist to create realistic settings and experiences, complex characters and an all around chilling crime thriller. To get to know her a little more, I asked her 7 quick fire questions as well as 3 tips on how to write a gripping crime novel.

Leave a comment below to be entered to win a copy of her first book, Blood Orchids! (see synopsis below)

It’s winners choice: digital or paperback, but please be away that paperback is limited to US winners only.



 7 Quick Fire Questions


1. Dream job/ career when you were a child?

Actress. Television newscaster.

2. Favorite TV show?

Currently? Person of Interest. I love the premise, that Big Brother knows something but it’s up to citizens to help each other. And, it’s a bit dark and gritty which I like.

3. Favorite dish/ cuisine?
I love Italian food! That culture knows La Dolce Vita and could teach us all about quality of life.

4. Beach or mountains?

Both. I live on the side of Haleakala on Maui and love them equally.

5. Proudest moment?

Graduating with my Master’s in Social Work at age 40 and doing valedictorian speech.

6. Pet peeve?

Judgmental people.

7. 3 everyday items you couldn’t live without.

My glasses/contacts (blind as a bat!).
A computer with internet.


3 Expert Tips


Blood Orchids is a story of “murder and secrets.” For our Ladies Who Critique members who write crime and mystery, what are your tips for writing realistic, gripping stories in this genre?

1. Get interested in a certain kind of crime and research it—that’s where my plots begin. Let it percolate into your brain, read about the kinds of criminals that do these things. In Orchids it’s a serial rapist, in the sequel Torch Ginger it’s disappearing homeless people, in the third one Black Jasmine it’s identity thieves. I collect articles and really get to know the crime and how it’s handled and what kind of perp does it.

2. Develop character bios on each of your main characters. Because I’m a therapist, I write mine like a psychological report.

3. Outline. Hard experience has taught me that mysteries, with their layers of plot, have to be planned.

Good luck, and happy writing!


Blood Orchids follows police woman Lei Texeira, whose life starts to unravel after discovering a gruesome murder scene on the shores of beautiful Hawaii. A scene that also begins to expose Texeira’s dark buried past. After an impulsive mistake she is sent to mandatory counseling to help deal with the escalating violence and how it triggers her. Meanwhile she gains the attention of a killer, and the lead detective on the case, Michael Stevens. Even deeper conspiracies develop the story, originating with her father, a convicted drug dealer. Haunted by a persistent stalker, the shadow of her past looms over the growing relationship with Stevens, Texeira, with the help of her loyal Rottweiler, battles the monsters of her past and present, reaching out toward a loving future.

For information about Toby Neal and Blood Orchids, visit Toby’s website.

Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/toby.w.neal

Follow on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/tobywneal


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7 thoughts on “7 Questions & 3 Expert Tips with Crime Author, Toby Neal. Giveaway! Blood Orchids

  1. Thanks for the tips. I am not much into reading mystery but Castle has got me interested in the genre and I was looking for some place to start. I am glad I found this post – am definitely starting with Blood Orchids.

  2. Great tips! Anyone has any suggestions for someone who doesn’t have a deep knowledge of human psychology on what’s the best way to start developing a character?

  3. I’m not much of a mystery reader, and when I do read mystery, I head for the lighter stuff. However, in my book club I was talked into reading Koontz’s Corner of His Eye, and survived it (just barely!) so figured I could handle Toby’s book. and I did, but it was almost as intense. what a ride! I did find it difficult to set down or lay aside, and though it terrified me (one of my greatest fears and nightmares), I found it compelling and it helped make me look at those fears a little more closely.

  4. Great post. Thanks Laura for having Toby Neal as your guest.

    Mystery is my genre of choice for both reading and writing. I do character bios and plot lines and time lines, but I have never done deep research on a certain type of crime. Mostly it was generic research. It was a wonderful tip and one that I will use. Thanks.

    Have a wonderful day.

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