Friday, March 24, 2017

INTERVIEW WITH MARY ELLIS: "Building" Suspense!

Interviewer: E.E. Kennedy

                                                          
Mary Ellis in Savannah, the location of her newest release.

 
SS: You are quite prolific and have written in several genres. Is this most recent private eye mystery series a new departure for you?

ME: I started out by writing mysteries in the ABA world, so it’s not really a new genre. I’m so glad to be back to writing mysteries and romantic suspense, since they’re my favorite genre to read.

SS: In the book I just read, Magnolia Moonlight, you display knowledge of the Mississippi Gulf coast and its landmarks, police procedure, private detectives and their legal limitations, casino gambling, forensic accounting and a host of other subjects. Are you a gambling private eye/accountant from Mississippi in a secret life or do you really enjoy research?

ME: I LOVE research. It was sheer joy to interview a police captain in Natchez, interview casino management and casino hosts in Bay St. Louis, and travel up and down the Mississippi River. It also helps to have an accountant, a Chief of Police and a Fire Chief for friends.

SS: From one author to another, are you an outliner or a pantser? How does that work for you?

ME: I’m sort of both. I do start with character sketches and a skeletal outline of chapters to maintain the pace. But as I write each scene I let the characters take over the action. I’m often surprised with what I get.

SS: Do you have a favorite author(s) who inspires you?

ME: In addition to my sisters (and brother) in Suspense Sisters (who are all awesome!) I like mysteries by Patricia Bradley, A. H. Gabhart and romances by Johnnie Alexander.

SS: Suspense Sisters are Christian authors. How do you incorporate your faith into your work?

ME: My central characters are Christians who try to live by Christ’s teachings and the Ten Commandments. For instance, when forced to lie on the job, they are bothered by their actions. In the book I’m working on now, my central character is a fallen-away Christian who yearns for a closer relationship with God, and finally seeks advice.

SS: Everyone always asks, so we will, too: Where do you get your ideas?

ME: That’s an easy question to answer. I love to travel and most of my story ideas come from my trips. Once I get away from the comfort zone of home, plot twists come to mind. And I don’t always have to go far. Sometimes a drive to a county where I’ve never been will stimulate ideas.

SS: What are your other interests besides writing?

ME: Besides writing and travel, I love to swim, ride bikes with my husband, and work in my yard which is usually a mess, despite my good intentions.

SS: Just for fun: tell us something that your readers might be surprised to know about you!

ME: My husband and I built our house ourselves, including carpentry, plumbing, electrical, drywall hanging—almost everything. It took us 3 years before we could move in, and another 10 years to “finish.” We’ll never do that again!

SS: Tell us about your latest release. Where can we learn more about you and your books?

ME: My next release is Sunset in Old Savannah, which should be available at the end of March on-line and in stores April 1st. In Savannah, everyone has something to hide. Investigative partners and best friends Michael Preston and Elizabeth Kirby are hired by a wealthy socialite to do surveillance on her wayward husband. When the husband turns up dead, the socialite becomes the police’s chief suspect. Mike and Beth must follow the clues through the historic town with more secrets than branches of moss-draped oaks. The duo uncovers a hodgepodge of potential murderers, including a scheming business partner, a resentful mistress, and a ne'er-do-well brother. As praise of their agency gets around, Mike and Beth must hire investigator Kaitlyn Webb to ease the workload. But will ghosts of Kate’s past threaten everyone's safety before a killer can be put behind bars? Although this is book 4 of a series, each story stands on its own and makes complete sense without going in order. Readers can see everything I’ve written at www.maryellis.net

READERS: Leave a comment below (with your email address!) and we'll put your name in the hat to possibly win a copy of Sunset in Old Savannah that Mary has kindly offered!

26 comments:

  1. Love reading Mary Ellis and this series is Savannah Ga,near me,gotta read for sure....
    thanks for sharing the interview...
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com).

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sharing this interview with my teenage daughter who loves to write!
    Kelley

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have been enjoying this series :)
    smincer10(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. Enjoying the first book of this series and fully intend to read the entire series. Enjoyed getting to meet you, Mary, at the Mid-South Christian Writers Conference.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Almost forgot my email!
      donnadoo_tx@mail2faith.com

      Delete
  5. Love reading about Savannah. My email is racky Lemaire(at)Gmail(dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love Mary Ellis books. I have read the other 3 in this series and would love to read this one. Thanks for a chance to win. spotts06(at)comcast(dot)net

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beverly Duell-MooreMarch 24, 2017 at 1:58 PM

    Oh, how I love these books! I can't wait to read, "Sunset in Old Savannah"!
    duellonlysis@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Sounds like another winner! Shelia Hall sheliarha64@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mysteries are a favorite and I am looking forward to this latest book by Mary. Thanks for sharing this interview and giveaway.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Love mystery and I would love the chsnce to read this book. It would be a nice birthday present for me.
    jhdwaynr(at)peoplepc(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  11. I had no idea you wrote in the ABA market too. Any particular book you would recommend...if we can still find them? :) I love to travel, too. There are so many wonderful places to visit, but I've said if I take off for a while, my family could look for me in Northern Italy. Thank you for this great opportunity to win/read your book! KatyLee (at) cox.net

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love your books. So intriguing.
    Thereadmaster@me.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Building your home house sounds amazing. I would like to win this book and read all in the series. My husband and I met in Savannah!
    Charlyn515 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  14. The cover is gorgeous! I would love to read the story. I've never read a book by Mary Ellis. I love connecting with new to me authors. jenmom1707@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  15. Looks like a winner! Savannah is such a special place, can't wait to read it.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I do not believe I have read your books yet, so look forward to reading a novel by a new author to me. I am very impressed with you and your husband building your own home. It is so hard. I put drywall up and thought that wasn't too difficult but never did master the art of "mudding" the drywall so that was about as far as I ventured.

    ReplyDelete
  17. This is my kind of book: mystery in the South! Love to win! paulams49ATsbcglobalDOTnet. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  18. I love the South and this is my kind of read. My favorite vacation was a cruise on the Delta Queen on the Mississippi River. Savannah, Charleston and Natchez are some of my favorite cities. Would love to read "Sunset in Old Savannah".
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love the South and this is my kind of read. My favorite vacation was a cruise on the Delta Queen on the Mississippi River. Savannah, Charleston and Natchez are some of my favorite cities. Would love to read "Sunset in Old Savannah".
    diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dianne Casey! You're my luck winner of Sunset in Old Savannah. I will contact you via email to get your mailing address. Congratulations and I hope you enjoy my humble book.

      Delete
  20. I'm from Alabama and I love reading books based in the south.
    tumcsec(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Thanks for the interview and giveaway. I haven't read any of Mary's books yet but this series sounds like a great place to start. d[dot]brookmyer[at]yahoo[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  22. Wonderful interview! I've not yet had the pleasure of reading Mary's books. Thank you for the giveaway.

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a fun interview Mary! I love getting to know authors better this way :-) I have several of your novels on my bookshelf. This cover reminds me when my husband and I went to San Francisco in October and rode a cable car that looked exactly like this. It was one from (I believe) the Pittsburgh area in the 1940's. Very cool to ride in!

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book! Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read the interview and leave me a comment. I was very pleased to get so many comments. Please stay tuned to the Suspense Sisters blog for more chances to win books and prizes.

    ReplyDelete