This week’s Cozy Chat is with Ellery Adams who I spoke with about her Books by the Bay mysteries.
Hi, Ellery. Thanks for joining us on Cozy Chat. Have a seat and help yourself to some tea while we talk.
Can you tell us a little bit about the Books by the Bay series? What gave you the idea for it?
This series features a group of aspiring writers turned amateur sleuths. It’s set in a fictional town on the Crystal Coast of North Carolina and the seaside setting permeates nearly every scene. I wanted to write a series featuring a very strong, but haunted female protagonist. I also wanted her to be middle-aged. Olivia Limoges is the heroine of the series, though her friends, the Bayside Book Writers, are integral because they bring her out of her shell. As does her standard poodle, Captain Haviland. This is a series for anyone who enjoys complex characters, multi-layered plotlines sprinkled with historical detail, a coastal setting, and literary references.
Sounds quite interesting, Ellery. As a fellow author, I can relate to a mystery involving a writer’s group. In fact, I’m starting one next month at the library where I work. I also love mysteries that involve pets. Mine also has a dog (Fido) and a library cat (Sneaky), as well. The poodle in yours has a wonderful name.
Do you have any advice to other authors about writing cozies or writing in general?
My advice is to write what you feel passionate about – not what you think might sell. If you put your heart (and tons of editing!) into your work, it’s bound to speak to people.
I agree totally. It’s very important to write what you know and love, although the know can be researched. The love has to come from the heart. As far as the tons of editing, that’s also very true. I am editing the sequel to my mystery, A STONE’S THROW, right now, and it’s slow-going because of all the little but important things that need to be smoothed out.
What are you currently working on?
I am also working on Murder in the Secret Garden, the 3rd Book Retreat Mystery featuring Jane Steward of Storyton Hall, Virginia.
The 5th installment of the Charmed Pie Shoppe series, Breach of Crust, will hit bookstore shelves on April 5, 2016. Here’s a brief summary:
Plate up another slice of Southern magic and mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Lemon Pies and Little White Lies . . .
Ella Mae LeFaye’s delicious pies are still drawing long lines—as well as the attention of Beatrice Burbank, president of the Camellia Club, a philanthropic organization comprised of high-society Southern ladies from the charming and affluent town of Sweet Briar, Georgia. To ensure the success of their centennial dessert cookbook, Bea hires Ella Mae to teach the tasty tricks of her trade to the club’s members at their annual retreat. Eager to work on new recipes for customers with food allergies and dietary restrictions, Ella Mae readily agrees.
But when Ella Mae finds Bea’s body floating in Lake Havenwood, she wonders what she’s gotten herself mixed up in. Someone certainly wanted Bea to eat humble pie, and the retreat offers no shortage of unsavory characters, including Ella Mae’s longtime nemesis, Loralyn Gaynor. Ella Mae definitely doesn’t need magic to tell her she must find the killer before someone else gets panned.
That sounds great. Do you write any other genres than cozies?
Not at the moment. I weave other genres into my mysteries (history, literary fiction, and fantasy) but I am planning on trying my hand at women’s fiction in 2016.
Can you also tell me how you got started in writing?
I used to sell homemade books for a quarter apiece to the neighborhood kids. They featured my friends as the heroes and they always had a happy ending.
Wow! That’s interesting. I actually used to make comics as a kid featuring some of my neighbors in different adventures and stories. I never sold them to anyone, but I had funny creating them.
What are your hobbies besides writing?
To be honest, I had more hobbies before I started writing three series, but when I have a rare moment between deadlines, I like to read, bake, garden, binge-watch Masterpiece Theater shows.
I know what you mean. Writing, editing, and promoting have really put a limit on my extra time. Your interests sound enjoyable, and I’m sure they’re relaxing when you fit them in.
Just that I’m grateful to any reader for buying my books or asking for them at their local library. It’s a very competitive market out there and it’s getting harder and harder for the mid-list author to survive. The “big names” get all the backing from the publishing companies, but cozy readers are incredibly loyal and do such an amazing job at PR when it comes to a writer/series they love. So thank you. Thank you for keeping our genre going and for being so tireless in supporting cozy mysteries. As long as you keep reading, I’ll keep writing!
I feel the same way, Ellery. As I’m working on my Cobble Cove books, it seems people are beginning to view them as cozies, and although I originally thought they fell into romantic suspense or general mystery, I think they might appeal more to the cozy audience because there’s no explicit violence or sex and I also focus on the characters in a small, fictional town (Cobble Cove, New York).
Thanks for joining me today, and best wishes to you on your series.