I'm thrilled to be a stop on the
book tour for
and her new book
A CRIME OF PASSION FRUIT
Book 6 in the Bakeshop Mysteries
Torte―everybody’s favorite small-town family bakeshop―is headed for the high seas, where murder is about to make a splash. . .
Jules Capshaw is trying to keep her cool as Torte gets set to make its transformation from quaint, local confectionary café to royal pastry palace. Meanwhile, Jules’s estranged husband Carlos is making a desperate plea for her to come aboard his cruise ship and dazzle everyone with her signature sweets. She may be skeptical about returning to her former nautical life with Carlos but Jules can’t resist an all-expense-paid trip, either. If only she knew that a dead body would find its way onto the itinerary . .
Now, instead of enjoying tropical drinks on deck between whipping up batches of sea-salted chocolates and flambéing fresh pineapple slices in the kitchen, Jules is plunged into dangerous waters. Her investigation leaves her with more questions than answers: Why can’t anyone on board identify the young woman? And how can she help Carlos keep passengers at ease with a killer in their midst? Jules feels like she’s ready to jump ship. Can she solve this case without getting in too deep?
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Giveaway open to USA only
This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.
An Interview with Ellie Alexander
LKBR: Thank you for being here today!
EA: Thanks so much for having me!
LKBR: Please tell us a bit about your book/series.
EA: I write the Bakeshop Mysteries set in Ashland, Oregon. They feature a romantic pastry chef, Juliet Montague Capshaw, who has returned home to heal her broken heart and help her mom run their family bakeshop, Torte. Ashland is a real place in the southernmost corner of the state of Oregon. It’s home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and themed like an Elizabethan village. I love getting to fictionalize a real place and add touches of the eclectic people who are drawn to Ashland.
LKBR: How did you come up with the concept for this series? How about the idea for this installment?
EA: A Crime of Passion Fruit is the 6th book in the series. In the first book, we learn that Jules has left her husband and her adventurous life as a pastry chef for a boutique cruise ship behind. I’ve known for a while that I wanted to send her back to the ship (temporarily) to be able to officially say goodbye. So much of her story is about the idea of coming home and finding home again, so it was important for her to be able to compare her vastly different experiences of home—in Ashland and at sea. I’ve always like the idea of a closed group of suspects in a mystery. Jules is in the middle of the Caribbean when the murder happens, so we know that the killer has to be someone onboard. The question is who?
LKBR: Do you have a favorite character in your book/series?
EA: That’s always hard because now that I’m six books into the series all of the recurring characters feel like friends. I would say that the character I enjoy writing the most is Lance, the artistic director at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Jules’s sleuthing pal. Lance has a very distinct voice. I can get away with making him a bit more dramatic because that happens in the theater, especially in a town like Ashland. He makes scenes come to life. The minute I hear his voice in my head I can imagine him sweeping his hand over Jules’s body and commenting on her fashion choices. Originally, he wasn’t going to be in this book. Since Jules is on the cruise ship she can’t bring everyone from Ashland with her. When I was reading through the first draft the book felt flat and I realized it was because Lance was missing. I went back through and added email exchanges between the two of them. Suddenly the book came to life. And I won’t give anything away, but Lance comes up with perhaps the best line in the entire book via email.
LKBR: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love, action, death, etc?
EA: Hmmm. I think the hardest thing now is making Jules’s reaction to finding a body believable. She’s discovered six bodies in the tiny and charming town of Ashland (okay technically one onboard the ship) in less than a year. It’s hard to find new ways to show her responding with utter shock each time she stumbles upon a dead body. My mystery writer friends call it the “Jessica Fletcher” syndrome.
LKBR: In your writing, have you ever used experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
EA: Absolutely. I use so much of my own life experiences in the books. I go to Ashland three or four times a year to really immerse myself in the town. I spend time in coffee shops, Lithia Park, at the theater complex, and in all of the places that Jules inhabits in the books. I’m definitely a writer who has to touch, and see, and smell a place in order to capture it in words.
LKBR: When you’re in the process of writing/creating a book, do you use a computer, typewriter, dictate, or use pen to paper?
EA: I always outline in pencil because I tend to go back and change names and motives, even things potential suspects might by lying or hiding. Once I’m working on an actual manuscript I type it on my laptop. But, I don’t do any editing as I go. I keep a notebook (sometimes multiple notebooks) next to my desk and I’ll jot down ideas and edits as I go. When I have a finished first draft I print it out and then let it sit for a while. At least a few weeks, maybe more like a couple months. Then I go back to the draft with fresh eyes and incorporate changes from the notebooks.
LKBR: Do you have any writing quirks or rituals that you do before, during, and/or after writing a new book?
EA: Not exactly. One thing I do to get my head into Jules’s world is change out my office. For example, when I was working on A Crime of Passion Fruit, I plastered my office walls with tropical pictures and posters of beaches and fruity drinks with paper umbrellas. I created a playlist of steel drum music to get myself in the mood. Now I’m working on book #8 in the series. Yes, you read that correctly. Even though book #6 is just coming out, I’ve already finished and delivered book #7. In the book that I’m working on now there’s a wedding so my office is covered with pictures of wedding cakes and dresses, dessert bars, twinkle lights, everything dreamy and romantic. It’s not such a bad gig most days.
LKBR: What does your family think about your writing? How important is their support?
EA: They are beyond supportive. My husband and son tagalong to book events pretty much anywhere I go. I was just at Malice Domestic last month and they came, too. While I’m doing panels and signings they go explore on their own. We’ve been all over the Pacific Northwest on book tour. It’s so much fun to have them with me and cheering me on!
LKBR: Who/What inspired you to write your first book?
EA: My mom. She was an avid reader and loved mysteries. She got me hooked at a young age. Helen, Jules’s mom in the series, is based on my mom. I love that I get to pay tribute to her. And I also love hearing from readers who say that Helen is their favorite character.
LKBR: What was one of the most surprising thing(s) you learned when trying to get your first book published?
EA: That you need more than just a well-written book to get a traditional publishing contract. You need a book proposal, solid query letter, and should already be developing a social media platform before you start pitching the book.
LKBR: What book are you reading?
EA: At the moment, I’m reading The Alchemist by Paula Coelho. My son is reading it for his Spanish class, so I decided to join him. Of course, I’m reading the English translation. It’s lovely. I can’t believe I didn’t read it when it first came out. I also just finished The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir, by Jennifer Ryan. I highly recommend it. It has a similar tone and style to one of my all-time favorite books The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.
LKBR: Do you have any advice for aspiring cozy writers?
EA: Be professional in your approach. Join writer’s groups, attend conferences and workshops, read everything you can in the genre and about the publishing industry, introduce yourself to authors and bookstore owners—they will both be huge assets in your career.
LKBR: Where can readers go to learn more about you and your books?
LKBR: Thank you so much for letting us get to know you better!
Another sweet mystery treat from author Ellie Alexander!
When I saw the first book in the Bakeshop Mysteries, MEET YOUR BAKER, I fell in love with the cover. When I read the back of the book, I bought it. Before I even finished reading the book, I knew I had found a new series to add to my top favorite cozy mysteries list!
I’m not a big fan of stories where the main characters visit another location for most of the book. To me, the main town of a series is as much a character as the people. I miss the familiar setting of the characters’ homes and businesses when the story is set elsewhere. When I learned that A CRIME OF PASSION FRUIT would be taking place on a cruise ship, I was a bit nervous about how I would like it. However, despite the location, like the five books before, I absolutely became engrossed in this book! (How could I doubt it?)
Author Alexander had me so caught up in the goings on at Torte pre-cruise, then the preparations for the trip, and the excitement of getting underway and being on the ship, I forgot I was reading a mystery. When the discovery of the body came, I “gasped” right along with Jules it caught me that off guard! From that point, the mystery was on big time!
A CRIME OF PASSION FRUIT was a fantastic, fast paced story that had me flying through the pages. Not only was it a compelling mystery that had more twists than waves in the ocean, it was a feel good cozy that made me smile (and shed a few tears). To top it all off, stomach growling recipes that you are going to want to make soon as you close the book!
A delectable cozy mystery feast, A CRIME OF PASSION FRUIT was the perfect story to send the Bakeshop Mysteries to the half dozen mark!
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she's not coated in flour, you'll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research.
Author Links Web: http://www.elliealexander.co/
June 27 – A Cozy Experience – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 27 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 28 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
June 28 – Books, Dreams, Life - SPOTLIGHT
June 28 – Books Direct – GUEST POST
June 29 – Bookworm Cafe – REVIEW, INTERVIEW
June 29 – Read Your Writes Book Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
June 30 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW
June 30 - That's What She's Reading – REVIEW
June 30 – Mystery Playground – Drinks and Reads
July 1 – Babs Book Bistro - REVIEW
July 1 – A Cozy Girl Reads and Writes – REVIEW
July 1 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
July 2 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
July 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
July 3 – My Reading Journeys - CHARACTER INTERVIEW
July 3 – Celebrating Authors – INTERVIEW July 4 – OFF
July 5 – Sleuth Cafe – SPOTLIGHT
July 6 – Classy Cheapskate – REVIEW
July 6 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST July 7 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST
July 7 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW
July 8 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW
July 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST
July 8 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book - SPOTLIGHT
July 9 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT
July 10 – Sapphyria's Book Reviews – REVIEW
July 10 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 11 – Girl with Book Lungs – REVIEW
July 11 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
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