Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mary Ellis Author Interview

Tell us a little about Midnight on the Mississippi.
What lies beneath the black water of the bayou? Hunter Galen, a New Orleans securities broker, suspects his business partner, James Nowak, of embezzling their clients’ money, but he’s reluctant to jeopardize their friendship. After James turns up dead, Hunter realizes his unwillingness to confront a problem may have cost James his life. Nicki Price, a newly minted PI, intends to solve the stockbroker’s murder as she establishes herself in the career she adores. As she ferrets out fraud and deception at Galen-Nowak Investments, Hunter’s fiancĂ©e, Ashley Menard, rubs her the wrong way. Nicki doesn’t trust the ostentatious woman who seems to be hiding something, but is the PI’s growing attraction to Hunter—the police’s only suspect—her true reason for disliking Ashley? As Hunter and Nicki encounter sophisticated shell games, blackmail, and death threats both subtle and overt, danger swirls around them like the mysterious dark water of the bayou. Only their reliance on faith and fearless determination give them hope they will live to see another day.

What inspired you to write this story? I have been intrigued by the mystery and romance of the French Quarter of New Orleans for years. My husband and I took frequent trips there while my mother-in-law was living in the Panhandle of Florida in the pre-Katrina days. We’ve been back many times since, and I knew I needed to set my first mystery/romance in that timeless city that I fell in love with.

If you were in your heroine’s shoes when the story starts, would you react differently than she? How so? No, I believe I would have reacted exactly as Nicki Price did. I usually stumble into situations that I’m totally unprepared for, but I make it my life’s work to learn the necessary skills to improve myself, no matter what the occasion.

How would you label the overall mood of your stories: dark, gritty, poignant, sensitive, heart-warming, light, witty, humorous, adventurous? I would label it as poignant and heart-warming, but also adventurous and (hopefully!) humorous. I don’t like reading books that are dark or graphic, so I couldn’t write one if I tried.

A sneak peek into what you're working on right now? I’m putting the finishing touches on What Happened on Beale Street, book 2 of my Secrets of the South Mysteries. When a talented musician is found dead in Memphis, two PI’s are determined to find their friend’s killer among a list of suspects longer than the Mississippi River. Releases in February of 2016.

If your life were a book, what would the title be? I Wish I Knew Then What I Know Now, by Mary Ellis

Describe your writing space. Right now I’m working in my screened-in porch. I absolutely love it out here, even when it gets hot and humid. Since I live in Ohio, I’m cooped up in my normal office space for far too many months of the year.

What do you do for a fun break if you find yourself overwhelmed with writing pressures? I take my dog for a long walk down my dead-end road. It’s good for both of us—mind and body!

Do you blog? If so, leave us the address. I blog from time-to-time at

Bonus fun questions:
Where is your favorite spot to read?   Anywhere next to water—a lake, the ocean, or even the creek that runs through my yard. I find peace and serenity near water.

Author bio: Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances set during the Civil War. Her latest, Midnight on the Mississippi, first of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, is set in New Orleans. 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: or

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