Author Interview:Ellen Byron

Southern Charm comes to mind when I think of Ellen and her series. Her writing has such flare that it was quick to build a successful following of readers. I am one of those readers, who eagerly awaits reading her latest mystery and delight in her characters. Ellen has her latest out that is sure to make a reader jump into the mystery and solve the crime!

Enter here for your chance at a giveaway! (1) Hardcover Copy – A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron + swag U.S. Only

An Antique Hunters Mystery

A Cajun Christmas Killing

A Cajun Christmas Killing

About The Author

Ellen ByronEllen’s debut novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A Cajun Country Mystery, has been nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. BODY ON THE BAYOU, the second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, offers “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while Library Journal says, “Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.”

Ellen’s TV credits include Wings and Just Shoot Me; she’s written over 200 magazine articles; her published plays include the award-winning Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. Ellen Byron is a native New Yorker who lives in Los Angeles and attributes her fascination with Louisiana to her college years at New Orleans’ Tulane University.

My Interview With The Author

Bree

Hi Ellen, I am so very excited to have a chance to chat with you! I am a HUGE fan of your series! Let’s jump right into chatting about your work. We are back in the third story of the series, and it’s the first Holiday book, how was this one different from writing the others, did it hold a bit of holiday magic?

Ellen Byron

Oh, absolutely! Because I hadn’t been in Louisiana around the holidays since I was a Tulane student, my husband, daughter, and I spent Christmas week there in 2015. We experienced the celebratory atmosphere in New Orleans and Cajun Country firsthand. And best of all, we got to watch the Bonfires on the Levees from a private party in Gramercy, Louisiana. Everything I write about those bonfires is based on my own personal experience from that trip. As are the decorations in NOLA.

Bree

I love that you took the family there to celebrate the holidays! What a great way to get your material for this story. Your murder victim wasn’t a nice guy some would say a down right grinch. And as an author you may have had your own grinch like encounters. Did you ever feel the effects of the nasty side of reviewers similar to your character?

Ellen Byron

I’ve been lucky. Either my books have been generally well received or my publisher is hiding the bad reviews from me! But every so often, a one-star review pops up on Amazon or Goodreads. Again, I’ve lucky, they’re rare. And once someone sent me an email through my website titled “I hated your book.” I was like, OMG, who DOES that? But when I calmed down and read her email thoroughly, I was impressed by the effort she made to like my books. They just weren’t her thing. I actually wrote a whole blog post about my exchange with the reader for the multi-author blog I belong to, chicksonthecase.com. Here’s the link to the post:https://chicksonthecase.com/2017/01/23/i-hated-your-book/

Bree

Well, you had me at your first story and now I am hooked. Holiday books inspire me to feel festive. What’s the first thing you do to get in the season?

Ellen Byron

The first thing I do is decorate the outdoors – or rather, have my husband decorate the outdoors! We have three moving deer and a tree that we put out among the drought-resistant plants and cactus that make up our front yard, and a big, twinkling snowflake we put in the courtyard. We sometimes put one of the deer on the roof. We debated skipping the outdoor decorating one year, but neighbors kept asking when our decorations were going up. When we told them, maybe not at all, they were so disappointed that we went ahead and did it. The deer are so old that they’re barely working. Not sure what we’ll do once they cross the rainbow bridge for pretend animals!

Bree

I am seeing a Christmas with the Kranks moment. Only you are not avoiding Christmas. Where do you want to see the series lead? Are we in for new books this coming year?

Ellen Byron

I just turned in the ms for the fourth book, MARDI GRAS MURDER, and am waiting to hear about future additions to the series. I love moving my characters’ lives forward. I want real challenges to face my characters; i.e., in MGM, Maggie , my protagonist, and her boyfriend Bo discover they’re in different spaces when it comes to have children. So they have to sort that out. I want the lives of all my regular characters to progress in real, relatable ways – in addition to the murders they must constantly solve, of course.

Bree

That’s an aspect you have achieved. I have always felt as though your characters could be real humans, off paper. I also enjoy that you made this book seem special with the holidays.  What’s a holiday tradition that you included in the book,  that you participate in?

Ellen Byron

I’ve been making and collecting Christmas ornaments since I was a kid. I used to have two dozen boxes of them, but my husband encouraged me to pare my collection down, so now I have a dozen. I love trimming the tree, especially with ornaments that mean a lot to me because they’re from our travels, from our family’s history – we have one from my husband’s family that’s almost a hundred years old – or they’re handmade by myself or my kid, who’s now a senior in high school. I also have photo frames filled with her class pictures from preschool until now.

Bree

How amazing is that ornament? Beinginto your third mystery and having plenty of murders to come. How do you keep your murders straight, do you plot each murder at a time or do you have a list of “murders” set up?

Ellen Byron

I generally create what I call a “fluid outline” before I start writing. These can run to 35 pages and are chapter-by-chapter. They include plot beats, possible dialogue, etc. I call them fluid because I always find new chapter breaks and even new subplots. But I’ve found the general structure – including the victims and murderer (or murderers) – stays the same.

Bree

That sounds organized! I wish I was like that with half of what I do. As an author and reader it must be enjoyable to get some down time. And I am a reader who has a TBR list that will never end (this is the song that never ends) and am alwyas seeking more books.What do you enjoy reading in your time? Are you currently looking forward to a new book coming soon?

Ellen Byron

I just finished Louise Penny’s GLASS HOUSES, which was spectacular as usual. I can’t wait to tuck into Anne Cleeland’s latest Acton & Doyle, MURDER IN SHADOW. I love Jacqueline Winspear, Rhys Bowen, Alyssa Maxwell, and Leslie Karst’s series. I’m also incredibly lucky to blog on chicksonthecase.com with authors whose work I adore: Lisa Q. Mathews, Marla Cooper, Kellye Garrett, Vickie Fee, and Cynthia Kuhn. I always do a happy dance when any of them release a new book.

Bree

I am so glad to see a similar reading taste. My final question for you is coming, but I want to say thank you for stopping by! It was an honor. Describe your latest book in three words?

Bree

Well, readers it sounds we have a spicy, southern charmed mystery in the holiday season to read!

Ellen Byron

Deadly Louisiana Christmas.

Professional Reader Affiliates

NetGalley Professional Reader 50 Book Reviews 2016 NetGalley Challenge Reviews Published Great Escape Tour Host BethanyHouse Blogger Reviewer

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