It doesn’t take a detective to see Lisa Preston’s career is on the rise.
The 53-year-old Sequim author and former police officer and paramedic just released her newest thriller “The Measure of the Moon” on April 18 through Thomas &Mercer, Amazon Publishing’s mystery, crime and true crime imprint.
Preston saw success with last year’s mystery novel “Orchids and Stone,” which she says was downloaded more than 125,000 times for Amazon’s Kindle First program that allows readers early access to new books.
“Things have been going pretty darn wonderful,” she said.
Aside from recent speaking events in Hawaii and New York City, Preston signed another three-book deal for a new mystery series. Her first manuscript is due this summer and tentatively comes out next spring. She turned in “The Measure of the Moon” last summer, which goes in a different, more layered direction than “Orchids and Stone.”
“’Orchids’ was about how much you would go to help a stranger and ‘Moon’ is about how far you’d go to help the people you love,” Preston said.
“Moon” seems to follow unrelated storylines flipping back and forth between 8-year-old Greer Donner and professional photographer Gillian Trett.
To sum up the tensions, Donner sees a man beating a woman in the woods who threatens the boy if he says anything while Trett begins an investigation into a Holocaust photo of boys in a forest.
“They are related by a minor character and it’s a big aha moment that some readers catch right away and some don’t,” Preston said.
Since moving to Sequim in 2000 with her husband Barry Johnson from Alaska, she’s wanted to write a layered, parallel fiction story for awhile like “Moon.”
It’s not directly stated, but Sequim makes cameos throughout, Preston said, as she uses some visuals of the area she spotted while riding her horse.
Back to the grind
“Moon” is only one example of Preston’s recent accomplishments. Her non-fiction work in animal care continues to catch more notoriety, too.
Preston said her “Ultimate Guide to Horse Feed, Supplements and Nutrition” from Sky Horse Publishing went to a second printing and another publisher wants to re-release her “Bitless Bridles,” a how-to guide on making inexpensive bridles and other items for riding horses.
But getting to this point in her writing career didn’t happen overnight. Preston said in a previous interview she was discouraged in 2011 and took a break but picked up writing again more than two years ago and hit her stride on and off the horse.
To break into fiction writing, she said perseverance, editing and rewriting were key.
For “Moon,” Preston said she removed a whole chapter.
“I cut some things that don’t answer every question,” she said. “It’s nice to leave some Easter eggs that some folks will get and some folks won’t get.”
With her fiction work, Preston said she likes blurring the genre lines so fans of traditional mysteries and fiction are both drawn to her books. “Moon” also features a Reader’s Guide for book clubs and individual readers to delve deeper into the story.
Along with her current endeavors, Preston has a short fiction piece appearing in an upcoming anthology from Cemetery Dance Publication.
“The Measure of the Moon” can be found and ordered from any bookstore like Port Books &News in Port Angeles and online including Amazon. For more on Preston, visit www.lisapreston.com.