Do not adjust your screens, this is a blog takeover!
I’m thrilled to be part of E C Bell’s blog tour for her new paranormal mystery novel, Tying the Knot, which will be released April 27th.
E C Bell was kind enough to answer some questions, so today I am thrilled to share my interview with the author.
Read to the end of this post for a chance to win some Marie Jenner Mystery goodies!
Iseult: Welcome, Eileen, to my tiny part of the internet. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Eileen: Hi Iseult! So glad to have the chance to talk to you today.
Iseult: When did you start writing fiction?
Eileen: All right, the usual answer is I’ve been writing my whole life. Which is the truth, I guess. But I was just writing for myself. I never really thought about letting other people read my writing for a long time. (Decades. Can you believe it?)
Then I thought that maybe I’d like to actually make acareer at this writing thing, so I started taking writing courses after my daughter was born. I thought I could write a book for Harlequin, the romance publisher, to start. So I researched, (basically to find out how long the book had to be word-wise) and then I started to write a romance.
I quickly ran into trouble, because I didn’t READ romance, so I talked to the one person I knew who did. My grandmother. She was absolutely thrilled, and lent me her favourite Harlequin romances. I read them, cover to cover, and then I wrote my first book. 50,000 words, on a typewriter. It took me forever.
Here’s the thing, though. What I had written was too old fashioned for Harlequin. My grandmother loved it, but the publishers, not so much. So, I decided to rethink the whole writing thing. I wasn’t starting at square one, not exactly, but pretty close.
Life trundled on, and then about fifteen or so years ago, I decided to try writing again, for real this time. Took more writing courses, and finally learned how to think like a writer. Came up with a game plan, and here we are!
I: Excellent. I’m so glad you kept writing. What do you like best about writing?
E: It’s funny. What I used to like best about writing was the creating part. I LOVED writing that first draft, just to see the story that had lived in my head, written out in black and white. Editing felt like housecleaning. A never ending chore that HAD to be done, but was no fun at all. (All my original words were gold, after all. Right?)
Now, though, I like the editing process. I like to see the story develop from the lump of clay that is the first draft, to the finished product. It’s always so much better…
I: What an apt metaphor! It’s great when editing becomes something to look forward to rather than a chore. Speaking of chores, what do you like least about writing?
E: Coming up with character names. Damn, I hate it.
I: Yes, finding the right name can be difficult. I thought the names fitted the characters very well in Tying the Knot. I especially liked dead uncle Jimmy (perhaps because I’ve written stories about a zombie private detective also called Jimmy!).
There are a lot of spirits in Tying the Knot. I loved the descriptions of the animal souls. Have you ever seen a ghost? Please tell all!
E: I don’t think I have. Once, when I went on a ghost tour in Edmonton, I thought I saw a bunch of cats on a property where a young man had lived, and had killed cats… but honestly, I’m not certain what I saw.
It was eerie as heck, though.
As to seeing other ghosts, I’ve never had the privilege. I wish I had. There are people who are now gone from my life that I would have loved to have had an opportunity to at least say good-bye to, but that never happened for me. Could be why I started writing this series. So I could give people the chance to say good-bye to their lost loved ones. (Though it doesn’t really turn out that way in my books. The ghosts are the ones who have the opportunity to say good-bye, for the most part.)
I: That’s interesting about the cats. I wonder were they the cats he killed or living felines reclaiming his property for themselves?
That’s a deep theme in your books. Even though Marie can talk to the ghosts, the loved ones they left behind still can’t see them one last time.
Marie and James live and work in Edmonton, but Tying the Knot is set almost exclusively in Las Vegas. However, they bump into some familiar faces from their home town in the hotel.
Did you visit Edmonton to research the drug kingpin they encounter?
E: I actually live in Edmonton, so the research for the drug kingpin was much closer to home fo me than you’d think!
In my past life, I’d worked with young underprivileged adults who were trying to break into regular life. (Yep. I was helping them find work, among other things.) From them, I learned some about gang life, and more generally how hard it was to live poor in the city. How difficult it was for them to fit in to what I considered regular life, and how insurmountable the barriers were for them to succeed. I wanted to be able to tell their stories. But I couldn’t come up with the best way to do that…
And, years ago, there was a drug war in our city. It was never called that by the media, but the number of young men killed that year let me know that something unusual was going on. So, when I started writing the series, I started there.
That’s where the drug kingpin came from. He was the one who won the drug war in Edmonton. In my mind, at least.
I: Sounds like you’ve done lots of in-depth research then. No wonder the characters come across as real people.
Other than your own, what’s your favorite paranormal mystery series?
E: All right, confession time. I don’t read many paranormal mystery series. I started reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, (definitely NOT paranormal) and saw how a series could be written. (She’s fairly successful, what can I say?) Then, after I started writing my own series, I was introduced to Karen Dudley’s Robyn Devara Mysteries (not paranormal) after I met Karen at a writer’s convention. I read SG. Wong’s Lola Starke series. (There ARE ghosts!) and Krista D. Ball’s Spirit Caller series. (A delightful paranormal series) after I met the authors. And I devoured Eden Robinson’s Trickster series, because it was amazing! (Hopefully I’ll meet her some day too.)
But I didn’t seek out paranormal mysteries. I was too busy writing my own.
However, now that my series is almost done, I’ll have more time to read for pleasure, and will probably dive into some. Just for the fun of it!
I: I’ve read the Trickster series and loved it, but I must check out those other authors. Thank you!
I hear you live in a round house. Please tell me more!
E: Ha! Almost my favourite subject! I live in a geodesic dome, built over a ten sided foundation. The main floor is really open concept (due to it being a dome) and one of the first things we realized was, sound does really strange things in here. The sound from TV bounces crazily off the walls and ends up in unexpected places, which drives the dogs crazy.
Actually, not just the dogs. When we first moved into the house, we had the TV on the main floor, but had to build a TV room in the basement because all the sound went into my daughter’s room, driving her crazy, too.
Then she moved out, and Buddy, our three legged border collie moved in. He really couldn’t handle the stairs well, so we set up a TV on the main floor again, so he wouldn’t be alone every evening. The sound still bounces around the main floor like crazy, but it doesn’t matter because we all have a spot on the couch, so we’re not bothered by it. For some reason the dog has the best spot, but I try not to let it get to me. He has us all very well trained!
I love the house, but renovating was/is seriously painful, because there are very few to no 90 degree angles. (Watching my husband slave over a calculator, trying to figure out how to cut the flooring was something else, believe me.)
I don’t have much art on the main floor because there’s nowhere to hang it. (No actual walls. It’s all ceiling.) But I can live without the art. The house is very cool, and I’m so glad we found it. (Five or so geodesic domes had been built in our neighbourhood when it was first developed in the ‘70s. Obviously someone thought they’d be the house of the future, but they didn’t catch on. But we were lucky, and managed to snag one.)
The first Halloween after we moved in, we got so many people to our house, it was kind of wild. Everyone wanted to see what it looked like on the inside, because they’d gone by it while they were growing up. (Guess the people who’d owned it before us didn’t do Halloween.) It was like our own open house that night!
I: Your house sounds AMAZING! Although I can imagine finding the right furniture must be extremely difficult too. Where do you put your bookshelves!!!
Thank you so much, Eileen, for spending this time chatting with me. I loved learning more about you.
If you’d like to connect with Eileen, you can join her mailing list on her website at http://www.eileenbell.com/ for news about new books, upcoming appearances and, occasionally, recipes.
Be sure to check out Eileen’s new paranormal mystery novel – Tying the Knot. It’s full of humor, intrigue, and ghosts. I highly recommend it!
Tying the Knot will be released on April 27th.
Click on the buttons below to preorder your copy today from your favorite retailer:
Want a chance to win a Marie Jenner Mystery reader’s box, which includes a Tying the Knot cup, treats and drinks to enjoy, and items that relate to the series and to Vegas, PLUS a print copy of a Marie Jenner Mystery book?
Contest ends on April 27th.