If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


Saturday, April 13, 2019

It’s All About that Research by Ellen Butler

One of the compliments I often receive from my readers is their appreciation for the amount of research I put into my novels. They say it gives a feeling of reality to my fictional stories, which is exactly what I am trying to provide. I don’t write non-fiction, memoirs, or true crime stories. However, I will admit that stories and research nuggets have influenced and inspired characters, vignettes, and sometimes comic relief in my novels. And, while I adore the convenience of Google, and other websites which have been both a blessing and a time saver, my favorite kind of research has been directly interviewing people.
One of my most in depth interviews happened while conducting research for my WWII spy novel, The Brass Compass. Oscar came to my attention through my parents. A former neighbor of theirs, Oscar lived in Berlin, Germany when the war broke out. Half-Jewish, at the age of fifteen, he was eventually forced to work in one of Hitler’s labor camps building Luftwaffe airstrips in the mountains. A cold endeavor in the midst of the 1945 winter. You may ask what this man’s life had to do with a female spy of WWII—the subject of my story. Oscar provided something that no other book or website could provide—the atmosphere of the Germany in the midst of the war. This included: the mood of the people, details of what people wore, living conditions, and paperwork. For instance, my spy needed a bus ticket, ration cards, and ID cards. The interview Oscar provided gave me details my spy would need to know. Eventually, Oscar escaped, along with a few other men, and spent the rest of the war hiding out in his father’s Berlin apartment until the Russians arrived.
For my modern-day mysteries, I’ve been lucky enough to utilize friends in the FBI, former and current police officers, medical practitioners and many more. An FBI friend was able to put me in touch with a retired agent who worked in the FBI’s Art Crimes Division on the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum art heist that happened in 1990. $500 million dollars’ worth of art is still at large, and the former agent was able to provide valuable information about the art which I utilized in my story Isabella’s Painting.  In Fatal Legislation my bad guys hack a Senator’s pacemaker to murder him. An FBI agent working in cybercrimes helped me with the plotline. However, a high school friend, who had the unfortunate experience of watching her husband go into cardiac arrest after his pacemaker went haywire, provided the true to life description of my Senator’s collapse.
I have pages upon pages of stories I could relate, but the real reason I’m sharing this with you is two-fold. First, I want my readers know though I write fiction, I do try to keep realism at the base of the story. Second, for those who are writers or aspiring writers, I cannot stress the importance of one-on-one interviews. Writing, on the whole, is an isolating job. We go into our caves and pound away on our keyboards blocking out the rest of the world. It is through these types of interviews that we can maintain our connections to the real world and bring more authenticity to our novels.   

Fatal Legislation
Lawmaking can be a murderous affair.
If any day calls for a soothing glass of wine, it’s today. One moment, Capitol Hill lobbyist Karina Cardinal is having a heated discussion with Senator Harper, who just torpedoed her latest healthcare legislation initiative. The next, after a cryptic remark, the Senator is dead at her feet. Hours later, she’s still so rattled she wakes to a freezing apartment because she forgot to close her back door. Or did she?

When her boyfriend, FBI cybercrimes expert Mike Finnegan, is suddenly reassigned to work a new case, he’s got bad news and worse news. The bad: the Senator’s death was no heart attack—it was assassination by a hacker disabling his pacemaker. Worse: Karina’s a “person of interest.” Certain that status could change to “suspect” at any moment, Karina begins her own back-channel investigation into who could have wanted the Senator dead. Of course, in Washington, that means playing politics and following the money trail. A trail that leads to more murders…and possibly leaving the door open for a killer to change her status to “dead.”
Purchase Links:

Ellen Butler is the international bestselling author of the Karina Cardinal mystery series. Her experiences working on Capitol Hill, and at a medical association in Washington, D.C., inspired the latest book in the series, Fatal Legislation, where lawmaking becomes a deadly affair. She has also won multiple awards for her novels, most recently for her WWII spy novel, The Brass Compass. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Office of Strategic Services Society. 
You can find Ellen at:
Twitter ~ @EButlerBooks


KM Rockwood said...

An author who does his/her research can provide a rich and authentic-feeling book. Nothing's more frustrating than to be reading along, willing to accept the world the author has presented, and coming to a detail or historic fact that you KNOW is not accurate. It ruins the whole experience!

I admire people who can handle the research. My one foray into historic fiction (a short story set in an iron-furnace town just after the Civil War) found me happily visiting old iron furnace sites and museum displays, and delving into the archives of the local newspapers. It was fun, but I have to confess I got totally bogged down in it. I'm not sure I could continue to actually produce any writing if I spent that much time on research.

And even after that, I got someone familiar with the historic period to go over my story. There were several factual errors that I needed to fix.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Research is fun! I need the firm foundation of diving deep, though in the end, very little hits the finished page.

Kait said...

My day job entails tons of research, but legal research and writing research are often two different animals. The mechanics, however, are the same. The trick is knowing when you are done.

Primary source research is always the best. So glad that you were able to conduct interviews in writing THE BRASS COMPASS. There's a richness and depth to first person accounts that is invaluable to a writer and speaks to the reader. Looking forward to an excellent read.

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks for joining us at WWK today, Ellen. You never know when research will provide that one little detail that makes the book special – although it can be a rabbit hole of fun that is sometimes hard to exit.

Ellen B. said...

Thanks for having me! Glad to see readers and authors enjoy the research experience. The key is knowing where to draw the line between research and fiction to make sure the research doesn't end up bogging down the story line. I have some wonderful beta readers and editors who have helped keep me on the straight and narrow!