Hi Mary! Welcome back to the Book Loft. Is there a story behind your new release, Midnight on the Mississippi?
This book takes place in New Orleans, one of my favorite cities in the US. My husband and I visited there many times while my mother-in-law was alive for weekend getaways. We loved venturing into the swamps and bayous, countryside very different than the one we’d grown up in. Since Katrina, we’ve been back several times to gauge the progress of recovery and renewal.
What’s the first thing you ever wrote that you still have?
When I was in my twenties I wrote a short story for Redbook Magazine for a writing contest. I didn’t win the contest, but I still have that story. It had a wonderful beginning and middle. Then I rather ended the story abruptly because I had reached the required word count. I have since taken a few classes on composition…
Where do you most like to write?
My favorite place to write is in my screened-in gazebo on my laptop. But this summer thus far has been so cool and rainy, lately I’ve been hiding in my office.
Do you travel?
My husband and I travel a great deal, and I can honestly say every trip sparks ideas, both small and large, for future books. My current release grew from vacation experiences in both the French Quarter, and at several bed and breakfasts in Cajun country. Add a healthy dose of imagination, and my story grew larger than life.
How do you find the time to write?
I now write full time, but it wasn’t always so. I often had to squeeze writing in before and after work and all day Saturday. I’ve been known to write while someone else drives, and while waiting in dentists’ offices. It’s a good thing I’m an early bird because the creative muse abandons me after seven pm.
What’s one genre you have never written, and probably never will?
Science fiction. My mind just doesn’t work that way. I can believe fantasy like Narnia, but I can’t wrap my head around impossible ideas with scientific underpinnings.
Three. I’m doing my share of marketing my current release, Midnight on the Mississippi. I’m editing the second in the Secrets of the South mysteries, What Happened on Beale Street, and writing the third in the series, unnamed at present, which will be set in Natchez, Mississippi.
Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write your first draft?
Absolutely, I am. Everyone creates very differently, but since I hate to edit, I write very cleanly the first time. What I mean is I fix my mistakes as I go along. The book will still need a go-over at the end, and more mistakes will be found. But I don’t like to leave a “rough” draft. I would be too tempted to toss the ball-of-yarn in the drawer and forget about it.
When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My next book What Happened on Beale Street will be out in February of 2016 from Harvest House Publishers. When a talented musician is found dead in Memphis, Nate and Nicki are determined to find their friend’s killer with a list of suspects longer than the Mississippi River.
Thanks for sharing today!
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Mary Ellis is giving away a copy of Midnight On The Mississippi. To be entered in the giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice—once on each Spotlight post for the author. Please note: The giveaway is for U.S. addresses only.