Thursday, May 8, 2014


Author Mary Ellen Hughes

Author Mary Ellen Hughes has a wonderful new book that was just released May 6. It's called THE PICKLED PIPER and is the first in the new Pickled and Preserved Mystery series. I absolutely loved this book and look forward to more in what I am sure will be a long running series.
(You can see my review of THE PICKLED PIPER in the blog post after this interview)  

Now, please sit back and get to know a little more about Mary Ellen Hughes...

LKBR:  Thank you so much for being here Mary.

MEH: Thanks for having me, Lisa!

LKBR: How did you come up with the idea for THE PICKLED PIPER?

MEH: I credit my husband with that. He happens to love pickles, and I suspect he knew I’d be trying out recipes as I wrote. At first I laughed at his idea, but pickling grew on me as a fun theme, and before I knew it I had a story and characters to go with it.

LKBR: Do you do your own pickling? (if this was not part of your answer for the above question)

MEH: I did some pickling several years ago when I had more time. As I mentioned, I now test certain pickling recipes, but with a book to write I need to keep it to the minimum. Freezer pickles are pretty quick, though, and very tasty.

LKBR: Are any of the characters in THE PICKLED PIPER based on someone you know?

MEH: My characters in THE PICKLED PIPER tend to be composites of people. In one of my earlier books, I used a few amusing traits of someone I knew (but changed the name). Then I worried that this person might recognize herself and be annoyed. To my relief she didn’t recognize herself, but I decided not to put myself through that again. Besides, it’s more fun to create someone new.

LKBR: Would you be interested in naming a character in your next book after me? Lisa Kelley - that's Kelley with an ey. LOL I'm kidding of course. Or am I? ;-) But it does bring me to the next question...

How do you come up with the names for all of your characters?

MEH: When I first started writing, I remember reading through obituaries for interesting names, especially for older characters. Now I have a book of various ethnic names – first and last –and I sometimes go to the social security website for popular first names listed by decade. Very helpful. I’ll keep your name on my list, Lisa, and maybe I’ll surprise you!

LKBR: Can you give us any hints on what Piper has facing her in the next book?

MEH: I’d love to! Book #2 is titled  LICENSE TO DILL. Piper’s local dill farmer is suspected of the murder of an old nemesis, who was found dead in the middle of his dill field. There’s adult soccer players and a visiting Italian team involved, old grudges to dig up, and – hopefully – a surprise ending!

LKBR: What can you tell us about your writing process? Such as...Do you follow an outline of some sort? Is there a certain place where you write like your home, bookstore, coffee shop?

MEH: I don't do detialed outlines, but I always know my story in general. I like to keep myself open to fresh twists as I write. I write on a laptop, usually in a little nook in a spare bedroom, which tends to get surrounded by lots of papers and books. It's nice to be able to close the door and keep it from view. I could never write in a coffee shop. I'd probably find myself people-watching and eavesdropping for plot ideas! 

LKBR: Do you have any other series or stand alones you're working on or have plans to work on?

MEH: Right now I’m focusing on the Pickled and Preserved series, and have started book #3.

LKBR: What are three things you would like your readers to know about you? 

MEH: First, I’m definitely not my protagonist, Piper Lamb. She’s younger, prettier, smarter, and a much better cook than I am. Second, I love to read mysteries as much as my readers do—all kinds. Third, though I love it, writing is time-consuming hard work. Hearing an encouraging word or two from readers can make all the difference in deciding to keep at it.

LKBR: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us before you go?

MEH: Only that I hope everyone will visit me through the links below.

I'd like to thank Mary so much for stopping by. I adore her and her new series. If you don't already have your copy of THE PICKLED PIPER, do yourself a favor and buy it as soon as you can! You won't be sorry. 

Mary Ellen Hughes is also the author of the Craft Corner Mysteries, the Maggie Olenski series and the short story THE WOMAN ON THE TRAIN. All of these great titles are available in ebook format. 

Continue down to for my review of THE PICKLED PIPER,


  1. Great interview Lisa! And Mary! I can't wait to read this. It sounds great. I picked it up on Tuesday and will be reading it soon.

    1. Thanks Dawn! I'm glad you liked it. And you are going to love the book! Thanks for stopping by.

  2. Thanks, Dawn, and thank you Lisa! This is a great site to be part of.