Thursday, September 12, 2013

Featured Author: Ellie Grant

I'm happy to feature another cozy mystery writer, or I should say writers, since Ellie Grant is actually the pen name for best selling husband and wife team Joyce and Jim Lavene, authors of several great mystery series. Check out their interview from when they were here in May. Now they're on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours for their new novel, Plum Deadly.

About the book:

Unjustly accused of cooking the books, Maggie Grady is forced to retreat from her high-flying New York financial career to the town where she grew up. Her aunt Clara greets her with open arms and a job at the family-owned business that has baked the best pies in the South for over forty years. Unfortunately, while Maggie is determined to return to banking, her reputation there seems permanently in the pits. That is, until her old boss, Lou, visits with news that he’s found the real crook. Before he can reveal the details, though, Maggie finds his body right behind the pie shop.

With only her own word that Lou planned to exonerate her, Maggie is in the spotlight. The police seem to suspect that Aunt Clara’s damson pie may not be just dangerously delectable, but downright deadly. Maggie doesn’t just have her own name to clear; she has to make sure that her aunt’s beloved business isn’t harmed, either. Yummy local reporter Ryan Summerour appears eager to help, and Maggie can’t help hoping that it’s not just the police who find her a person of interest-—but Ryan, as well. She’d thought it challenging to make the perfect pie crust that Aunt Clara demands, but that turns out to be nothing compared with finding a murderer. . . .

Interview with Ellie Grant

How did you come up with the title Plum Deadly?

Plum Deadly was named for the plum pie that the police think may have killed Maggie’s former boss.

Do you all have another job outside of writing?

No. We are full-time novelists since last year.

How did you create the plot for Plum Deadly?

We visited pie shops and spent time in Durham, North Carolina at Duke University. Once we had our main characters, Maggie and Aunt Clara, the rest just came.

What’s your favorite line from a book?

"Except that Lou would never see another blue sky."

How do you get to know your characters?

We eat and sleep with them for about six months. We take them on long rides and try to understand them. They go with us on vacation.

Which character did you most enjoy writing?

Aunt Clara. She was fun to play around with!
I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories? Who, and in what category do they fall?

Aunt Clara is definitely that way. She can say off the wall things at inappropriate times and get away with it.

If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?

Aunt Clara. She’s great!
Sounds like it! Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.

Our favorite scene is when Maggie and Ryan first kiss. We’re suckers for the romance!

I am too. What song would you pick to go with your book?

"Satisfaction" by the Rolling Stones.

Who are your  favorite authors?

Barbara Hambly, Anne McGaffrey, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher.

How long is your to-be-read pile?

Never ending. We only read when we’re not writing.

You get to decide who would read your audio book. Who would you choose?

Julia Roberts as Maggie!

Do you have a routine for writing?

We get up every morning Monday through Friday, eat breakfast, have coffee, and sit down to write. We write about 5,000 words each day and do promotion and revision later in the day. We try to be off on nights and weekends.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?

We have a nice, cozy office in the house with big desks and computers.

Where’s home for you?

Midland, North Carolina.

Tell us one weird thing, one nice thing, and one fact about where you live.

Weird: People who live next door have peacocks who make sounds like cats fighting all the time.
Nice: We have a lot of beautiful trees and farm land surrounding us.
Fact: Our town’s population is 3,500 people.

Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?


What’s one of your favorite quotes?

“Do not be too timid or squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

What are you working on now?

One Witch is Not Enough, the first book in the Retired Witches Spell Book series, coming out with Berkley next year.

About the author

Ellie Grant writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook and Joyce and Jim Lavene. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Connect with the authors:
Website | Blog | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter

Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble