Is LS Sygnet a pseudonym? Yes. For a very long time, Sygnet has worked primarily in the health care field. She opted for a pseudonym not only to protect her own privacy, but also for the benefit of those in her care. How long is the Eriksson Series? Initially, the series was 7 books long, and technically, that is the length of the series that exposes the secret in the protagonist's life (Helen Eriksson). There are however, other books coming in the series that do not feature Helen as prominently as the first seven books and begin to delve into more crime issues in Darkwater Bay, and into the lives of other characters. Where does Sygnet live? Sygnet as of the time this FAQ was written, lives in the Metropolitan area of Denver, Colorado. She has resided there since 1996, but is moving to the Atlanta, Georgia area in Summer 2014. Is Sygnet married with children? Sygnet is very contentedly divorced and has been for a long time. She has one son, and now, a daughter in law who she calls "the best thing that has ever happened to this family!" She hopes for a grandchild someday, very much, but would prefer twins – a boy and a girl. Is Sygnet really obsessed with the NBA? Yes. Does Sygnet have a favorite NBA team? Yes. What is her favorite NBA team? Look! A unicorn! Why doesn't Sygnet's website have an email address or contact information? Ever heard of spam? Again, Sygnet can be contacted directly on her Facebook page (LS Sygnet). She generally accepts all friend requests, and only requires that folks behave in a civilized manner (she had no desire to be a psychiatric nurse online, and says that would be an exercise in utmost futility anyway) and that in respecting the reading experience of others, that NO SPOILERS be posted there. Why were the Eriksson novels free for so long? Sygnet made a decision to promote the Eriksson series, books one through six from February 26, 2013 to May 26, 2013 for one reason alone. She is an indie author, no one had ever heard of her, no one had ever read anything she had written. She wasn't sure people would even like the Eriksson series (there are times when she mutters, rants and raves about Helen too, you know), so it was a marketing decision. It was in fact, successful. Book seven in the series was offered for a mere 99 cents and sold like crazy. At the end of three months, books 3-6 were listed at 99 cents as well, with the first two books remaining free of charge. The series continues to sell quite nicely. Does Sygnet plan to offer discount promotions in the future? Absolutely! However, there's a catch. The free promotion codes can only be used at smashwords.com, and they are only available to her friends list on Facebook. Remember, she pretty much accepts all friend requests, posts updates about coming books, AND free book coupons (or discounted books) on Facebook. Sygnet's bio at Smashwords says she likes speed metal. What are her favorite bands? Favorite speed metal bands? Because if this is a general music question, the list is too long to publish. (Her son once told her that she needed to have more discriminating taste in music). Sygnet's first go-to is always going to be Megadeth. She is way too fond of Metallica's Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets, some of the black album, but very little post the black album. She has been to Slayer concerts, seen Megadeth live too many times to count, Testament, Anthrax, etc. Heavy metal has also been on the playlist for about as long as she can remember, however, she used to fall asleep listening to AC/DC's Back in Black on cassette, so it's not always conducive to writing. (Yet, she was listening to Spacehog at the time these questions were answered). Does Sygnet support specific charities? Yes, for a number of years, she has supported the efforts of the Alzheimer's Association and the American Cancer Society. Sygnet used to be a certified breast self-exam instructor, and has volunteered with the ACS doing service follow up surveys. She has also participated for a number of years in the Alzheimer's Association's annual Memory Walk. Sygnet is a registered nurse in psychiatry. Does she ever write about things she's experienced at work? No. Never. The line is very stark between fiction and reality for Sygnet. The privacy of her patients is sacrosanct. Always has been, always will be. However, her knowledge of behavior and psychiatric conditions in general does come from her experience over decades working in the field. Sygnet is a passionate advocate for mental health. Is Helen Eriksson based on a real person? Good gracious no! All of Sygnet's characters are completely fictional, based in NO part on any person alive or dead that she is aware of, and any similarities are purely coincidental. Where does Sygnet get ideas for stories? Everywhere. She reads constantly (non-fiction, news, blogs, etc.,) and often asks herself "what if it had happened this way?" which is where the seed is planted and begins to grow. Has Sygnet ever published books under another name? No. Her entire published collection of work can be found here (on this website) and at Smashwords. Are Sygnet's books available in traditional book format? They are not, nor does she anticipate that happening in the future. Electronic books are, to her way of seeing things, the future of publishing. Does Sygnet have a literary agent? No, nor does she anticipate having one in the future. Does Sygnet, as an indie author, edit her own books? Yes and no. Of course all writers are required to polish books before another editor takes the reins, but the final copy has gone past more than Sygnet's eyes prior to publication. Yes, she knows things get overlooked. She sees the same types of errors in traditionally published books. That doesn't mean she likes to see them in her books. On average, she has read each book she publishes so many times prior to publication that she is utterly sick of them by the time they're finished. How long did it take to write the first seven Eriksson novels? The idea for Helen Eriksson and Johnny Orion came to Sygnet in 2003. She wrote the first novel (Daddy's Little Killer) at least 10 times, from beginning to end, before she was satisfied with it. The last time it was completely rewritten was in 2009, after a particularly inspiring vacation (lots of museums, Guinness and laughter with her son in London). Unfortunately, Beneath the Cracks had already been written and had to be completely re-written as a result. She liked the rewrite much better. Forgotten Place was written shortly thereafter, and The Chilling Spree happened during the insomnia phase of a nasty bout of pneumonia in 2010. Always Watching was written rather quickly, because by that point in time, Sygnet knew exactly how the series would end. (No, there were times where she felt ambivalent about the conclusion, and it wasn't etched in stone until The Chilling Spree was concluded). While writing Sins of the Father, over the summer of 2011, there were numerous blackouts in the city. Sygnet lost 100 pages (was using Pages instead of Word, and her version of Pages didn't auto save). If you remember a very hot day that summer, hearing someone screaming curses, it was probably her. After that mishap, she invested in a small back up power source for the iMac… and got Word for Mac. But, as it turned out, she liked the second version of those 100 pages much better anyway, so… Cloaked in Blood was a conundrum that took over a year to actually write, mostly because of the real world, but was finished in early 2012. Does Sygnet write every day? Usually. Just like musicians play a lot, and artists sculpt, draw or paint all the time, writers have to do the same thing. She says, "Mom was right about this one thing. If you don't use it, you lose it." Most of what she writes she says, "displeases me very much. I am seldom satisfied, and constantly mulling plots and word choices and pacing and all the little details that comprise continuity. Writing a series is hell, and sometimes I ask myself what in the world I was thinking." Where did the idea for The Quiet Ones come from? Quote, "Scars. Bad people. Pretending mental illness as a way to avoid consequences for having a head full of hate. General disgust that society makes erroneous assumptions. And of course, living with scars that look worse to the bearer than they do to the rest of the world." What does Sygnet do to relax? A quote, "Huh? Writing is relaxing!" Why did Sygnet write Helen to be an atheist? I don't like atheists, but I want to like Helen and can't because she doesn't believe in God. Another quote from the woman herself: "Many years ago, I met a woman who 'adopted' me as her daughter and helped me learn many things that had been...skipped over when I was a young girl growing up (I did not have access to any books on comportment, unfortunately, and those were not things that we were necessarily taught in a consistent manner without self-study). It was that one should never discuss politics or religion in polite discourse, because those are two topics that historically have caused man to go to war. Literally. It's still happening today, if you care to look at the political and religious landscape of the planet. "More specific to Helen, when she began to come to life in my imagination, I saw her as a rather practical person, one who was pretty meticulous about getting rid of clutter in her life, things that weren't relevant to her day-to-day processes. Religion is one of those things for her. It never enters into the equation. She doesn't necessarily look down on believers (her husband is a pretty devout Catholic, if you'll recall), she just doesn't comprehend how that meshes with reality. Helen is not fond of magical thinking, and believe it or not, much of religion does sort of fit that description. That isn't to say that the peaceable, humanitarian parts of religions aren't very soothing and comforting and wonderful, because they are - even to Helen. She's just not one to look at anything piecemeal. She sees the whole sum, and that's what led her to discard religion as unnecessary for herself. "Some may argue that her behavior shows that she needs the morality that religion would provide, so that perhaps it isn't quite so easy for her to kill people, but she would remind those people that if 95% of the world identifies as religious, their religion-based morality has not prevented them from being murderers either. "Ten years ago, when I started formulating the idea of Helen, she was based on an anti-archetype really. I was tired of the perfect protagonist, the one you always rooted for. I think in that respect, Helen has been a smashing success, because people want to like her, but at the same time, they want to grab her and shake her until her teeth rattle too. She is extremely, incredibly imperfect. She tries to do the right thing. She tries to be a better person. Sometimes she is. Sometimes she falls back into her old patterns of behavior. This is (at least in my mind) what makes her so very human. I found that I couldn't relate to perfect protagonists. I found that they turned me off to their stories because it had become so formulaic in that sense that they were perfect, and they would always come out on top, and blah, blah, blah. I wanted someone rougher, with a jagged edge who was still vulnerable... maybe someone whose vulnerabilities were all hidden beneath her armor. I wanted someone who made massive mistakes that could impact a lot of people. I wanted someone who gritted her teeth and hated to admit she was wrong. I wanted someone who still needed to learn who she really was, rather than just going through the motions of living. That to me, is who Helen Eriksson really is. She's still figuring it out. And she has a cast of supporting characters now who aren't afraid of her, who won't walk on eggshells around her. "If her lack of faith or her indifference to religion is so very offensive, please remember that there are a growing number of people like Helen in the real world - that place outside my imagination where even I'm forced to visit from time to time. Odds are, you already know and like or respect someone just like Helen in regard to her belief system. Not all non-believers are the in-your-face variety, just like not all Christians are picketing funerals, and not all Muslims are hijacking airplanes to use to destroy buildings and kill people. Most folks aren't extremists. In fact, most people are just like you - with just some small subtle differences here and there in the philosophy department. When we exclude those bits of life that season our world with diversity, we are missing out on something very rare and beautiful indeed."