Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Emilya Naymark Interview - Behind the Lie

Photo Content from Emilya Naymark

Emilya Naymark is the author of the novels Hide in Place and Behind the Lie. Her short stories appear in A Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta, Secrets in the Water, After Midnight: Tales from the Graveyard Shift, River River Journal, Snowbound: Best New England Crime Stories 2017, and 1+30: THE BEST OF MYSTORY. When not writing, Emilya works as a visual artist and reads massive quantities of psychological thrillers, suspense, and crime fiction. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her family.


Greatest thing you learned at school.
Not sure about greatest, but the coolest thing I learned to do was how to build a hologram table with lasers and mirrors and to create a hologram. I loved that class…

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
By eight, I knew I needed to be some sort of artist. I declared it to my parents and didn’t let up all through art high school and until I graduated from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
Impossible question! My favorite books change depending on where I am in my life. Right now, it’s probably In the Woods by Tana French. Beautifully written, razor sharp, smart, and absolutely uncompromising in its premise.

Outside my genre it’s a tossup between Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hearing from readers! That was something I didn’t really visualize, but when someone reads my novel and then sends me a note telling me how much they enjoyed it, there’s nothing like it. I’ve even received hand-written notes! It’s very special.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Haha! I’m going to go out on limb here and say it’s the same distraction that gets many of us: social media. Whenever I had to do research, I’d tell myself, oh, just a peek at the socials… An hour later, I’d feel dazed, bloated, and confused, and would need to refocus and meditate to get back on track.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Is it silly to say it was Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight trilogy? It seems those books launched a thousand authors, me among them. Something about their accessibility made me not only want to write but believe I could achieve publication. I thought the books were very well written and addictive, but not intimidating. They were inspiring.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
GREAT question. I ask this of myself every day. For me there are two answers.
One—escapism. Life can be tedious, or worse. Good stories are never that.
Two—the stories can sometimes show us how to deal with difficult situations. We can imagine ourselves handling an awful experience and getting through it, all while cuddled in comfort on our couch with a bowl of chips.

Can you tell us when you started BEHIND THE LIE, how that came about?
It started as a writing prompt when visiting historic Lyndhurst Castle in Westchester. I wrote about a young girl whose sister drowns in a lake, and how she breaks down in the aftermath. Once I had that, I had my core character and her psychology.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
My detective, Laney Bird, definitely changed the most. She still has a journey ahead of her, but she’s traveled from being a person who couldn’t face her own culpabilities to someone who sees the world, and herself, in a more sober, and hopefully more forgiving, light.

Your Journey to Publication
I wrote and queried three novels, with maybe two or three other novels begun and discarded in between. Two of the novels got some sniffs from agents, but ultimately did not survive the query process. The first, a paranormal romance, was too messy. The second was too cross-genre—a speculative romance/thriller with a cult sub-plot and themes dealing with autonomy in a hive-mind society.

But the third, Hide in Place, felt just right. After several passes from agents, I hired an editor to look at it. He liked it enough to recommend me to an agent. And that agent listened to him, read the book, and offered representation!

We went on submission in the spring of 2019 and a year later, at the very beginning of a global pandemic, I was offered a two book contract by Crooked Lane Books. Woohoo!

Writing and launching both books during the pandemic was definitely an experience. All I can say is thank goodness for Zoom and all the libraries, bookstores, and video bloggers who popped up, learned the technology, and helped me and thousands of authors get the word out.

What is the first job you have had? 
My first official job was as a color separator for designs that would be silkscreened onto children’s clothing. I had to do this by hand—place a sheet of vellum over a character drawing and color in all the yellow parts. Place another sheet and color in all the red parts. Etc. I don’t think these kind of jobs exist anymore.

Best date you've ever had? 
I’m going to go with the time my boyfriend and I went to a… special kind of night club in NYC on Halloween and encountered several celebrities. Later, one of the celebrities wrote a memoir where he mentioned that night.

Or an evening at a similar kind of nightclub in San Francisco…

Or the night we wandered around Amsterdam after drinking our dinner…

Or the night we decided to sleep in a forest without a tent, just our sleeping bags, and woke up in the wee hours surrounded by a herd of deer. Like thirty of them, in a circle. Utterly silent.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
I traveled to Egypt, twice! The first time we got a private tour of the pyramids at Giza and rode around on camels. I loved Cairo. The second time we went to a wedding in Cairo and took a cruise down the Nile. We visited Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, Alexandria, and the oldest monastery ever built.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? Ouch! True love, of course. I’m a terrible romantic.

First Love?
When I was 19, I saw a friend speaking with an incredibly handsome boy outside CBGB’s club in New York City. For the next three weeks I relentlessly bugged my friend about this boy. Mind you, I’d not even spoken to him yet, but already felt he was The One. Several Sundays later, I went to CBGB’s again, and there he was—cute, skinny, with a crewcut and hazel eyes. Our friend introduced us and I was so smitten I thought I’d melt. Or fly away. Or die. I never felt that way about anybody else.

Like I said, I’m a romantic. I’m also very lucky, because the guy apparently felt the same 😊.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home?
It would be hard to beat the weirdness that was my own home growing up. My parents never threw anything away, and picked stuff up from the curb to boot. We had at least three television sets, one on top of the other, because my father would get them from the street and fix them. When their fridge broke and they had to buy a new one, they moved the old one to the hallway and used it as a closet. My mother kept eggs in a cupboard, and I slept in the kitchen and painted (with oil paint! Turpentine!) in the living room, next to the television sets.

NYPD detective turned small town PI Laney Bird is in a fight to save lives--including her own--after a neighborhood block party turns deadly.

A transplant to the upstate New York hamlet of Sylvan, all Laney wants is a peaceful life for herself and her son. But things rarely remain calm in Laney's life--and when her neighborhood summer block party explodes in shocking violence and ends with her friend's disappearance, she'll need all her skills as a PI to solve a mystery that reaches far beyond her small town.

As people closest to Laney fall under suspicion, the local authorities and even her colleagues question her own complicity. And then there's fifteen-year-old Alfie, her complicated and enigmatic son, obviously hiding something. Even as Laney struggles to bury evidence of her boy's involvement, his cagey behavior rings every maternal alarm.

Laney's personal life unravels as she's drawn into her missing friend's dark secrets and she realizes she and Alfie are in danger. With treachery blazing hot as the searing summer sun, Laney fights to save lives, her family's included.

You can purchase Behind the Lie at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you EMILYA NAYMARK for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Behind the Lie by Emilya Naymark.


  1. Thank you very much for hosting me! This was such a fun interview :-)

  2. The 50s. It seems like times were fun and laid back.