About the Author
Tell us a little bit about you.
Hey, I’m Ellie Alexander, author of the Bakeshop Mysteries. I know this might be a shocker, but I LOVE to bake! So much so that I sometimes have to remind myself to stop writing about food and get back to the mystery when I’m working on a manuscript. I live in the gorgeous (yet usually rainy) Pacific Northwest. The rain is a fantastic excuse to cozy up in my kitchen and test new recipes.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
I’m sure this sounds kind of cheesy, but I feel like my greatest accomplishment is spreading light and joy in the form of mysteries. Reading can be such an escape, and I love having the opportunity to provide readers with a short time away from any of their problems or stresses. I was telling my kiddo that one day when a bunch of his friends were over playing in our backyard. I said, “My job as a writer is spread love and joy.” They all nodded along for a minute until one of them piped up and said, “And, MURDER, right?” Fair point, kid. Fair point!
Do you have any suggestions for writers just starting out?
Take your writing seriously. I think one of the biggest mistakes that new writers make is not treating the work professionally. If you wanted to become a dentist or doctor, you would study and train. You wouldn’t think that suddenly one morning you would wake up and become a dentist without putting in any work. The same is true for writing. Join writing groups, attend conferences and workshops, read books on the publishing industry, and work to improve your craft every day.
What is your favorite quote?
“You cannot step twice into the same river for fresh waters are forever flowing in upon you.” Heraclitus
I love this quote. It speaks so much to the idea that we’re always changing and flowing in new and different ways. It also really highlights Juliet’s story. She’s returned to her childhood home, and I like exploring the idea of can we ever really go home again? She’s changed and Ashland has changed, so finding the balance in stepping back into the place she’s known and loved.
If you could exchange lives with any of your characters for a day which character would you choose and why?
Lance! Lance is the Artistic Director in my fictional version of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He’s a bit over the top, and highly dramatic. Of course that sort of comes with the territory in the theater. In fact one of the reasons that I set the books in Ashland is because the town is a mecca for playwrights and actors. It is not out of the ordinary to see people wandering around Ashland wearing costumes or reciting poetry. I’d love to shadow Lance backstage for the day and watch the real drama unfold.
If your book was made into a movie which actor/actress would play which character(s)?
Great question! I would want Gwyneth Paltrow to play Juliet (Jules) the protagonist who is a pastry chef turned part time sleuth, because she’s very ethereal and romantic and I think Gwyneth captures that vibe.
If the book being featured is part of a series, tell us more about it.
This is the 6th book in the Bakeshop Mysteries which take place in the Shakespearean town of Ashland, Oregon. Juliet Montague Capshaw, but please call her Jules, has returned to her hometown to heal her broken heart and help her mom, Helen, run the family bakeshop, Torte. People come to Torte for a cherry scone and warm latte, but also for Helen’s wise advice and listening ear. Torte is the centerpiece of the bustling downtown plaza where everything is themed like an Elizabethan village. Ashland is home to a variety of artists, actors, musicians, and outdoor adventure lovers making for a very eclectic cast of characters.
Let’s get personal. Tell us 5 random things about you the person, not the author.
- I can speak a secret language. Okay, maybe not super secret, but I’m fluent in American Sign Langauge and used to have “secret” conversations with my deaf friends when I was in high school. I don’t use it much anymore but whenever I bump into a deaf person I try to fumble my way through a conversation.
- I’ll eat anything with cilantro in it. If you put cilantro in a dish of any kind, of any origin, I’ll eat it. I’ve never made anything sweet with cilantro, but that’s next!
- I never use an umbrella. Here in the PNW it rains so much that we don’t even bother with umbrellas. Just pull on a coat with a hood and head outside.
- I can tell you a lot about the process of brewing beer. My husband is a homebrewer and we have a second kitchen in our basement that is entirely for his brew operations. However, I’m terrible at pulling a pint. I always end up with way too much foam.
- I’m super competitve at board games. I also have a tendency to trash talk, even to my five-year-old niece. We play a ton of board games in our family and it can get pretty heated.
Connect with the author
About the author’s latest release & inspiration
Name of your latest release: A Crime of Passion Fruit
Release Date: June 27, 2017
Genre: Mystery (cozy)
Tell us about your book.
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 . .
“A warm and inviting atmosphere, friendly and likable main characters, and a nasty murder mystery to solve!” ―Fresh Fiction
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?
“A perfect mix for fans of Jenn McKinlay, Leslie Budewitz, or Jessica Beck.”
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve known for a while that I wanted to send Jules back to the ship. She got her culinary legs working at sea, expanding her taste buds at each port of call. She’s found her roots in Ashland, but she still longs for her estranged husband, Carlos and the life she left behind. Being back on the ship gives her the opportunity to compare the two worlds which is part of her growth.
There’s also a slight chance that it was raining rivers of water here in the Pacific Northwest when I was outlining the plot. Honestly, I was starting to wonder if we were ever going to see the sun again. I think that might have influenced my decision to set the book in the Caribbean.
What do you hope readers will get out of your book?
I hope that they’ll feel transported to the tropics. I think this book is the perfect beach read. It’s light and fun and filled with plenty of mouth-watering tropical recipes like peach mango coffee cake and summer Asian noodle salad. If you can’t read it on the beach, then hopefully you’ll feel like your toes are curled in the white sand and that a waiter is about to deliver you a fruity Mai Chai.
What can readers expect when they open your book?
I had so much fun researching this book. I learned that there’s an entire structure for crews on the cruise ships. It’s a bit like Downton Abbey. Depending on your position and rank you might not ever get to go above deck. Crew members are from all over the world, so it’s a huge mix of personalities and languages. I was able to get a behind-the-scenes tour of a working cruise ship and interview different crew members when I was writing this book and I tried to weave details about what it’s really like for the crew onboard. I hope readers enjoy getting a taste of the lifestyle.
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