Friday, February 5, 2016

INTERVIEW WITH MARY ELLIS



 
Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, What Happened on Beale Street, is second of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. Mary enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. She can be found on the web at: www.maryellis.net or on Facebook.

 

If you had to describe yourself in one sentence, what would you say?   

Mary Ellis has found the best vocation in the world—crafting stories for people who love to read.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Any interesting hobbies? 

 I’d like to say sky-diving or underwater salvage recovery. But alas, like many writers my hobbies are reading, gardening, and taking long walks. However I swim, ride my bike, and snorkel as often as I can. Snorkeling in the Caribbean is my absolute favorite past-time.

What was your favorite book as a teen or child?  

I was given a full-color, illustrated book of Bible Stories when I was about six. I loved reading the tales of Moses, Noah, and Jonah. It triggered my curiosity and began my lifetime love of the Lord. I still have that wonderful book today.

What genre did you start out writing? Have you changed course? Why or why not?

I wrote Amish fiction for a number of years and then wrote three romances set during the Civil War. I enjoyed both genres very much, but I exhausted my supply of storylines. Regarding historical romance, my decision to leave the genre was influenced by my publisher. I returned to my first published genre—romantic suspense. And here I will joyously stay until no longer able to write. I love my current series, Secrets of the South Mysteries.

What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?  

The toughest criticism was probably that I included too much historical detail in my romance. When dealing with history, I can’t imagine how to avoid plenty of details. My best compliment was that a reader stayed up all night to finish the book. Although they had to go to work the next day, this reader couldn’t put my book down. That made my day!

Any other genres you’d like to try? If yes, what and why?  

Since I’ve already written Amish romances and historical fiction, I’m pleased as punch to stay right where I am. Although I’m very proud of my earlier books, by far romantic suspense gives me the most pleasure to research and write.

If you could go back in time and do something differently at the start of your career, what would it be?  

After trying to sell my first book for six months, my agent said there was no market for the genre I wrote. I ignored her advice and wrote a second book that she was also unable to sell. After I changed genres, my agent was able to sell my work. My foot was finally in the door, but I would have saved time and aggravation had I taken her advice sooner.

What is the most important piece of advice you’d like to give to unpublished authors? 

 Don’t give up. Keep honing your craft while learning the business end of publishing. Each of us, whether published or not, must keep improving. There is no “treading water” in this volatile marketplace.


A cryptic plea for help from a childhood friend sends cousins Nate and Nicki Price from New Orleans to Memphis. When these two
private investigators arrive at Danny Andre’s last known address, they discover signs of a struggle and a lifestyle not in keeping with the choirboy they fondly remember.

Danny’s sister, Isabelle, reluctantly accepts their help. She and Nate aren’t on the best of terms due to a shared past. Can they get beyond painful memories to find her brother?

And what on earth was Danny involved in besides becoming a rising star as a sax player? Nate and Nicki follow clues into dim and smoky clubs, trail potential stalkers, and challenge dangerous men with connections to underworld drug trafficking. To complicate things, the hotel they are staying in has its own secrets. Confronted with murder and mystery in the land of the Delta blues, the cousins and Isabelle will have to rely on their faith and investigative experience to solve the case and not lose their lives.


ISBN 978-0-7369-6171-4

Category: Fiction--Suspense/Fiction--Romance

Mary is giving away a copy of WHAT HAPPENED ON BEALE STREET! Just leave a comment, along with your contact information. U.S. and Canada only please. 
 


 
 

41 comments:

  1. Mary, quite a wide variety of subjects--Amish, Confederate, and now mysteries set in the south. Obviously it works for you (and your publisher, if they suggested the move), but have you heard from any of your readers about this? Thanks to you and Nancy for the interview.

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    1. Thanks for the comment, Richard. So far, the readers that I've heard from have liked my move to suspense. (Maybe the ones who haven't have chosen to remain silent...smile..) I believe authors and readers need to try new things to stay fresh. Here's where I plan to stay until I hang up my keyboard.

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  2. Whoa! This sure sounds intriguing!! Thanks Nancy and Mary for a great interview, and adding to my TBR list! =) Annie

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    1. I truly hope you enjoy. I sure had fun writing this book.

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  3. I have not read a book of hers I did not like.

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    1. Thanks so much, Kim. Thanks truly means a lot to me.

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  4. would love to win. angelachesnut246@gmail.com

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  5. Hey Mary! I am from Memphis! I love all things 901! (area code) So this book has definitely got my attention. I would love to read this book. It sounds like you have found your genre and this book looks amazing! Can't wait to read all places the you put in the book that are so familiar to me.
    danajeweler at y mail dot com

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    1. I absolutely love my research trips to your fair city. I pray I did Memphis justice in my humble story. I think the Peabody is one of the prettiest hotels in America!

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  6. I love mysteries and suspense and finding new authors! My email address is susanwalkergirl@gmail.com.

    Thanks so much!

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  7. Sounds fantastic!! Very different! Intriguing!

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  8. thanks Mary sounds like a winner..and great book too read!!!! mamawings@hismercy.org

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  9. Intriguing! It's always nice to get to know new (to me) authors.
    BonnieD73@comcast.net

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  10. Always good to hear about a new book from one of my favorite authors!

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  11. Very interesting interview. Thank you for the chance.
    leliamae54@aol.com

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  12. I fell in love with romance and suspense many years ago when I was introduced to the books of Mary Stewart. I am looking forward to enjoying more of this genre in your books.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  13. Hello Mary, I hope this does not mean you will not write amish stories anymore, I love those but of course if your name is on it ,I will read and check out the story. I enjoyed your interview today. thanks for sharing.
    Paula O(kyflo130(at) yahoo (dot) com

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  14. Great interview and the book sounds intriguing. Toss my name in the hat, please.
    debsbunch777(at)gmail(dot)com

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  15. Praising4u@aol.com Feb. 5, 2016 at 9:45 pm I've loved Mary's writing from the first time I was introduced to it by a few friends at church. What I love most is her investigation of the area's she places the stories in. I'm a detail oriented person, so I do love this about her writing!!

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  16. Oooh sounds like a good one! Thank you for doing a giveaway for it! dance.yourself.silly18(at)gmail(dot)com - Rachel

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  17. I think you have found your nitch Mary!

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  18. I am very interested in reading your latest book. I have read your Amis books so I know your writing is outstanding. I appreciate the chance.thank you.
    Deana
    Jhdwayne(at)peoplepc(dot)com

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  19. This looks so good. Jacquir613@gmail.com

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  20. Hi Mary! Thanks for sharing your writing journey with us. I have a couple of your Amish stories along with the 3 Civil War novels. "What Happened on Beale Street" sounds like my kind of mystery/suspense story. I'm so glad you found your niche & pray you have much success with it! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

    teamob4 (at) gmail (dot) com

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  21. Love any kind of suspense and this one sounds very "keep me up all night" interesting.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

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  22. Great Interview . Thanks for the give away. Cant wait to read your books.roseblackard(at) gmail (dot)com

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  23. Enjoyed the interview. Would love to win the book - it sounds interesting.
    betsylu2@msn.com

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  24. Mary,
    I enjoy all your books.
    Lisi Sierra
    esierra58@hotmail.com

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  25. Haven't read any of your books yet. This one would be a good start, sounds like a great read.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  26. Haven't read any of your books yet. This one would be a good start, sounds like a great read.
    diannekc8@gmail.com

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  27. Excellent interview. I am a big fan of Mary Ellis's books.
    CherylB1987@Hotmail.com

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  28. I'd love to go snorkeling in the Caribbean. Mary is a new-to-me author. Thanks for the great interview.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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  29. Thank you for the interview. It is interesting to think of how things might have been if I had just listened to that advice the first time around! Glad you were able to figure it out and get your books sold!

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  30. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful interview and giveaway! I'm intrigued by WHAT HAPPENED ON BEALE STREET and am adding it to my wish list.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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  31. Thank you for the great interview and opportunity to be a winner.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

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  32. I just read The Feathered Bone which is also set in New Orleans. I've never been there but it's been fascinating to learn about the city through fictional works.
    This would be my first title by Mary Ellis — helping me keep my New Year's resolution to try a few new-to-me authors.

    @AmandaGeaney
    geaneymail at gmail

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