Sunday, October 30, 2016



Maggie Crozat agrees to be frenemy Vanessa Fleer’s Maid of Honor.  When it looks like the investigation is zeroing in on Vanessa as the prime suspect, Maggie reluctantly adds keeping the bride-to-be out of jail to her list of Maid of Honor responsibilities in Body on the Bayou, Ellen Byron's funny and engaging follow up to her critically acclaimed novel Plantation Shudders.


Ellen, how did you get started writing?

I got a degree in theater from Tulane University and was determined to be an actress . . . or so I thought. I joined Actors Equity and suddenly stopped getting work because my competition for roles was actresses like Holly Hunter. With time on my hands, I decided to write a play. In doing so, I found my true calling , and I’ve been writing ever since.

What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?

Well, right now I’m struggling with the outline for my fourth book–I’m actually procrastinating by answering these questions! – and so I’d say creating a layered, engaging plot.

What’s more important–characters or plot?
Characters, because they can inspire plot. But it’s harder for plot to inspire characters.

How often do you read?
Every. Single. Night. At least when it comes to books. But I’m always reading on the internet. I barely watch TV anymore.

What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
When to keep my mouth shut.

Is writing your dream job?

What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I’m embarrassed to admit this, but when I was a struggling actress in my twenties, I got a gig where I was paid to wear a Styrofoam straw hat and hand out cigarette samples. It taught me to give up smoking AND being a struggling actress!

Do you have any marketing tips you could pass on to indie authors?
Don’t spread yourself too thin on social media. Choose one or two platforms you’re comfortable with and focus on those. And find creative ways to keep your work in the public eye. I just did a giveaway on Facebook where the main prize wasn’t even my book. It was a grocery bag with my book logo, plus a bunch of swag. I shared it on a couple of cozy groups and had over a hundred people enter the contest.

How often do you tweet?
I force myself to tweet at least once or twice a day. It hasn’t been my favorite platform (see above!), but I just learned how to break who I follow into lists and that has been a game changer for me. I’m much more apt to tweet and retweet now.

How do you feel about Facebook?
I LOVE it. I’ve been on FB since 2008, years before I became a published author. I’ve found old college roommates, friends from other countries I’d lost touch with, friends from elementary school. For me, it’s always been a truly social tool, but now I combine that with my business of being an author. It’s tricky because sometimes my friends get buried in reader and author posts. So again, I have to separate people into lists.

For what would you like to be remembered?
Being generous, kind, honorable . . . and funny!

What scares you the most?

Would you make a good character in a book?

I already have, LOL! Kidding. Maggie Crozat is like me, but I’m less vulnerable. At least now I am. I was a lot more like her when I was actually her age.

What five things would you never want to live without?

Wine, chocolate, pizza, theater, and all forms of reading material.

What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
Lip balm.

What’s your favorite fast food?

What’s your favorite beverage?
Jasmine green tea.

What drives you crazy?
Ridesharing with motorcylists on the freeway. It’s so dangerous!

Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.

I’m really good at reading people. I’m terrible at drawing. No artistic talent whatsoever, although I am very craftsy.

What do you wish you could do?
I will always regret not sticking with ballet long enough to go en pointe.

What is one of your happiest moments?
When my husband, daughter, and dogs are all lazing on the bed with me. It rarely happens these days, I’m afraid. She’s a teen and has a very busy life. As do all of us, actually.

What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?

I’m a wife, a mother, a pet mother, I have a full-time job as a television writer, and I write a mystery series. There’s never nothing to do!

Where is your favorite place to visit?
New Orleans and Cajun Country.

What would you name your autobiography?
Never Slam the Door of a Jaguar. That’s what a guy once said to me after I exited his car on our first and last date.

Sounds like an idea for a character! Do you procrastinate?
I am right now!

What’s your favorite Internet site?

What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.” -Indiana Jones

Pretend you have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?

Homemade pasta and gravy like my Nonna and Zia used to make.

How do you like your pizza?
I am so rigid about my pizza. I like the thin-style straight-up regular pizza I grew up with in New York. (We always called it a “a slice of regular.” Never “a slice of cheese pizza.”)

What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?

It’s a wonderful photo of Bayou Teche behind St. Martinville, Louisiana. I took it when we visited the area over the holidays last year.

What’s your favorite song?

“Get Down Tonight,” by KC and the Sunshine Band.

What is your favorite movie?
Fellini’s Amarcord,  and Robert Wise’s The Haunting.

Do you have a favorite book?
Wuthering Heights.

If you had to choose a cliché about life, what would it be?
“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.”

What are you working on now?
Books three and four in my Cajun Country Mystery series, A Cajun Christmas Killing and Mardi Gras Murder.


Ellen's debut novel, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. The second book in her Cajun Country Mystery Series, Body on the Bayou, offers “everything a cozy reader could want,” according to Publishers Weekly, while the Library Journal says, “Diane Mott Davidson and Lou Jane Temple fans will line up for this series.” A TV veteran, Ellen has written for many hit sitcoms, including Wings and Just Shoot Me.

Connect with Ellen:
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Buy the book:
Crooked Lane Books