Author: S. L. Ellis
Series: PI Cassie Cruise
Number in Series: 1
Release Date: December 20, 2014
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Women Sleuths
Presented by: Rock Star Lit
Synopsis from S. L. Ellis
CASSIE CRUISE wants her life back as a kick-ass P. I.
Trouble is, she has zero credibility since bungling a case on reality TV. After a public tantrum, she slinks off to bury her head in the sandy beaches of Southwest Florida.
Just as she starts over as the owner of The Big Prick tattoo shop, a body is discovered in the trunk of her burning car. Cassie’s aware there are those who’d get in line for their turn to torch her car. But murder?
You don’t have to like her, but you damn well better respect her. And get out of her way—this is one case she intends to solve, with or without an audience.
How did you come up with the idea for this story?
When we moved to Florida, we stayed for a time in a subdivision full of retirees. The neighbor across the way, however, was in her 30’s, blond, slim, and attractive. She just didn’t fit, which got me thinking about why she would move to a neighborhood of older people. Was she hiding from something or someone? And, well, you get the picture…
Where do you find your inspiration?
I am inspired to write when I read. The better the book, the more I’m inspired and eager to write.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am easily distracted. Any shiny thing will get me going into another direction and I have to dig deep to find the will power to keep going and finish the story before beginning another.
What are your current projects?
I am working on the next in the Cassie Cruise, Private Investigator series, and I’m 30,000 words into a historical (late 1880’s – early 1900’s) novel with a strong, female protagonist. She has visions of gloom and doom and, as you might imagine, isn’t the most popular person in the village when her visions come true.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Just that people aren’t always what they seem to be. They aren’t always what they present to the world.
Does music play any type of role in your writing?
Music is an important part of my writing. I like to remind myself how few words make up the lyrics to most of the songs that I love. They tell a story and convey emotion in under 200 words. I strive to keep my writing tight while still telling the story.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?
Experiences are things (conversations, emotions, adventures, work) you’ve participated in and felt internally.
What books have influenced your life most?
I loved and learned so much from a handful of biographies found in school libraries, but beyond those, any book written by Catherine Cookson, Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart began my love of reading genre fiction.
Are there any new authors that have grabbed your interest?
It’s best to say “newly discovered authors” because my TBR pile/list is huge and an author may have been published for years before I get around to reading them. Authors who’ve recently caught my interest and have become an obsession are Gillian Flynn, Elizabeth Hand, Ariana Franklin, Gil Adamson, and William Gay.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I welcome all reviews. How else will I learn and grow as a writer if I don’t listen to my readers? I say all, but there is the one I’m not looking forward to reading. I recently gave a memoir writer (who I’ll not name), an honest two star review and she wrote a response comment blaming it on a “tussle” we had in a forum. I’m not looking forward to her “revenge” review only because I won’t allow myself to respond to it. I have so many clever and snarky things to say to her, but won’t give her any more of my time and attention.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I have an author page on Facebook (facebook.com/slelliscassiecruise) and my website is www.cassiecruise.com. The blog posts on the website are written in Cassie Cruise’s voice, but I write the book reviews that you’ll see on that site.
Do you have a special time to write? How is your day structured writing-wise?
I write wherever and whenever I get a chance. Sometimes it’s only a sentence or two, so my progress on most projects is at a snail’s pace.
Why did you choose to write [genre] stories?
Genre stories are typically about characters and their actions, reactions, thoughts and behaviors. That’s what interests me and that’s what I write.
What is for you the perfect book hero?
A flawed, tough-minded, person who’ll always stand on their own, but isn’t afraid to show their loyalty to their loved ones.
When you start a book, do you already have the whole story in your head or is it built progressively?
I’m not a plotter. I have key points written, but everything else occurs organically during the writing.
When and why did you begin writing?
In 1996, I began my attempts at writing as a way to understand everything I was feeling when a family member was convicted of a very serious crime. The story was a failure as far as the writing, but I did come to terms with my feelings regarding the conviction.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I needed (and still need) validation, so I didn’t really believe in my writing until I won a contest for a short story and it was published in an anthology.
List three books you have recently read and would recommend.
1. Two Guys Detective Agency, Stephanie Bond
2. Burial Rites, Hannah Kent
3. The Impossible Wish, Christine Nolfi
Tell us something that people would be surprised you know how to do.
Most people would be surprised to know I was afraid of driving an automobile and avoided getting a license for a long time, but purchased and taught myself to drive a motorcycle in a matter of days.
Will you write more about these characters?
Lane Changes is the first in the Cassie Cruise, Private Investigator series. My hope is to write about Cassie, Janice, RJ, and Brick for a long time.
About S. L. Ellis
S.L. Ellis came from a small town in Michigan, and after a few decades of winter she was ready for a fresh start. A move to Florida and a few days on the beach improved her disposition a hundred-fold, and it was here that writing became more than a thought. Classes were taken, workshops worked, and a few books written.
Ellis's short story "A Brush With Death" was published in Vol. 12 DARK TALES, a UK magazine and reviewed by: Vince A. Liaguno, Dark Scribe Magazine, Anthology Reviews: "A Brush with Death is a solid, at times poignant, chiller in which a dying woman--who knows death well after a lifetime of obsession--makes a deal with the Grim Reaper. Ellis's keen observations on aging and death are spot-on." Her short story "If the Shoe Fits" was accepted for publication in HARDLUCK STORIES for its final issue. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and ITW.
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