+++ Summer 2002 +++
Gayle Lynds was the most prevalent author of the short-lived Crimebusters series. She is the wife of Dennis Lynds, who wrote 14 The Three Investigators books under the pseudonym William Arden. Today she writes spy novels and has become worldwide famous co-writing books with Robert Ludlum. From 1989 to 1991 she wrote four Crimebusters books – Rough Stuff, Reel Trouble, Fatal Error and High Strung. The latter has remained an unpublished manuscript and was supposed to be episode #13. However, the series was cancelled prematurely. Gayle kindly answered our questions via email. This is the original version of the interview which has been already published in a German translation.
|How did you meet your husband? As you saw him the first time, did you know he was also a fellow 3I writer?
Den and I met at a writer's conference, where we pretty much fell in love at first sight. At that point, my son was reading the 3I, but I hadn't made the connection to Dennis. The night we met, he'd just finished the first draft of Purple Pirate.
|Why did you use the nickname 'G.H. Stone'?
At the time, I was writing under the name 'Gayle Stone', since I was married to a man whose last name was Stone, and the editor of the series didn't want a woman's name as an author, so I used my initials - GH.
|What is your favorite 3I story? Which one do you like least?
I like all of them for various reasons. I really don't have any that I dislike. The series, in my opinion, is so very good that none is a bad book.
|Have you read them all?
No, I've not read them all.
|Have you been asked to write one of those Find Your Fate stories?
No. I've not. And I wouldn't have time, anyway. As you probably know, under my real name - Gayle Lynds - I coauthor books with Robert Ludlum. Those are The Hades Factor, The Paris Option, and the forthcoming The Altman Code. Plus, I write my own books - Mesmerized, Mosaic, Masquerade, and the forthcoming The Coil --- all published in Germany. They are, in their own way Three Investigators for adults. I have never lost my love for a fine adventure story, and that's why I decided to write adult books ... to bring to adults what kids naturally love. Anyone who would like to read more about my books and sign up to receive our e-newsletter, please visit me at www.GayleLynds.com.
|What about your three 3I books? Were you very satisfied with Rough Stuff (your first book) and the other two, Reel Trouble and Fatal Error?
Again, I liked each of them for various reasons. I thought Rough Stuff was technically the most superior. I had a ton of fun writing Reel Trouble because of Maxi and the band (which was based on my step-daughter's band at the time). I thoroughly enjoyed Fatal Error because it dealt with a computer virus and with toxic dumping, both of which I had to convince my editor were worthy topics. She knew nothing about either.
|Did the publishing house try to make you to write a certain story? Or could you choose the topics of your own books?
Generally, we come up with our own story ideas. Then we have to convince the editor that they're good.
|Writing a 3I book, did Dennis tried to interfere? Or was a book until it wasn't finished "top secret"?
Den and I are each other's first and best editors. We always discuss our work, and sometimes we read each other's work in progress. We respect each other a great deal.
|Is there any weird experience or inspiration that made you to write a certian 3I book? Or the title?
None that I can think of.
|What was the reason for the end? Any chance of a revival or comeback?
To this day, I've received no clear explanation for why the series died. I suspect it was many forces that came together and unwittingly conspired to hurt sales. I wish it would be reborn, but, alas, I don't hold out much hope.
|You wrote another Crimebusters book which was never released - High Strung (neither was Brain Wash by Peter Lerangis). Is there a chance that it will be ever released? Is Random House owning the rights for this book or manuscript?
I have no idea who owns the rights to High Strung now, although I suspect Random House does. I doubt very seriously that they'll ever release the book. I'm somewhat surprised, however, that Germany hasn't bought the rights and published it there, since I've heard that the 3I are very popular there. However, before they could publish, Random would have to pay me what it owes me for the manuscript. They ended the series with a few loose threads, and High Strung, alas, was one of them. Unfortunately, I don't know anything about the other unpublished book that you mentioned. Your best path might be to contact Random House directly and ask them whether they'll ever release the two books.
|What was your unreleased book about?
As for High Strung, it was the story of a stolen guitar - one of Elvis Presley's first, and very valuable. A large part of the story took place at a rock-and-roll radio station. It was a lot of fun, and I'm sorry it was never published.
|Who was your favorite character? Jupe, Pete or Bob? Why?
I always liked Bob more, because he seemed the least interesting of the boys. I like underdogs, and so I think that's why I focused so much on him. Jupe, of course, is a dream to write, because he's so smart and funny. Pete is also easy to write, because he's physical and very straightforward. My favorite animal to write was Monster-the-dog in Fatal Error.
|Writing Crimebusters, you had to follow explicit orders summed up in a series "bible." Were there any detailed instructions, how Alfred Hitchcock had to be depicted or was it just: "You know Alfie's image, just match it"? What do you think: how important was his role regarding the success of the series in the United States and abroad? Do you know, if he ever commented the series?
Unfortunately, the U.S. Crimebusters were not attached to Alfred Hitchcock's name, which I think was a mistake. The publishing house and the estate of Robert Arthur (I've been told) apparently did not want to pay the large amount of money that the Hitchcock estate demanded. I thought that was a pity, because the Hitchcock name gave the series a certain panache, an excitement, that might have helped keep the series alive in the U.S. In my opinion, the publisher "killed the goose that laid the golden eggs" by not continuing with Hitchcock and by not making a concerted effort to publish the books well. However, your German publisher was much smarter. Not only did he or she keep the Hitchcock connection, he/she created clubs, games, and all sorts of tie-ins that made the series even more fun and interesting. No wonder the 3Is are such a success in Germany.
|Have you ever been in Germany?
At this point, we have no plans to go to Germany, but it's a country we've both always wanted to visit.
|What's your opinion of the Hardy Boys and other popular series books created by the Stratemeyer Syndicate?
I've always said that The Three Investigators was not only the most fun but the most intelligent of all the series offered, including the Hardy Boys. One reason is that no coincidences are allowed in the 3I. The boys have to use their brains and the evidence they gather to figure out what's going on and solve the crime. The 3I also deal with more realistic problems and live in a much more believable world. It would take a lot to change my high opinion of the series.
|Questions by the rocky-beach.com team.
|Links of special interest:
Michael Morley: An Interview with Gayle Lynds (1996)
Susan McBride: Mesmerized - An interview with bestselling author Gayle Lynds (2000)
Mystery Ink: Interview With Gayle Lynds (April 2001)
Claire E. White: A Conversation With Gayle Lynds (May 2001)
Cathy Sova: Meet Gayle Lynds (May 2001)
The Goddess Diet: Gayle Lynds Interview (2002)