by Cynthia Chow
We have a a review of Murder in the Paperback Parlor by Ellery Adams, along with a fun interview with Ellery. Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of the book along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL & an indie bookstore.
Murder in the Paperback Parlor: A Book Retreat Mystery By Ellery Adams
Review by Cynthia Chow
Jane Steward has always adored books, and she delights in hosting book-themed events at her family’s Storyton Hall in Storyton, Virginia. Jane’s latest endeavor as resort manager is Romancing the Reader, a Valentine’s Day book retreat devoted to romance readers who are clamoring to meet their favorite romance authors. Headlining that list is Rosamund York, a very demanding diva whose advance copies of her new romance novel have her fans up in arms—and very vocal about their displeasure.
While the town of Storyton is more than happy to take in the extra business brought in by those who love happy endings, a militant feminist, angry rival romance writer, and lurking freelance journalist challenge Jane’s managerial skills. When death does unexpectedly make an appearance, it will take all of her talents to balance hosting a successful retreat while protecting Storyton itself. As Cupid leaves his mark on many of the residents, a fashion show, romance cover model contest, Ladies’ Choice Valentine’s Dance, and charity auction all have to be wedged into Jane’s schedule.
Although Jane has loved Storyton Hall her entire life, only recently has the single mother of young twin boys learned of its greater purpose: the preservation of the Hall’s priceless secret library. Jane’s family are stewards of unpublished and often controversial tomes written by some of history’s greatest minds. Jane’s family protects the treasures, so she and her sons are being trained in skills not normally taught to librarians.
This second of the series continues to blend romance, literary lore, and mysteries. Threaded throughout is a much deeper fantasy mythology as well constructed as the main mystery plot. What readers will enjoy is how the author explores a multitude of issues concerning libraries, access to information, and information preservation. She also has a tremendous amount of fun delving into fandom and an author’s responsibility toward meeting readers’ expectations. There is so much to like in this novel by the prolific Ellery Adams, and readers will be entranced by the web of intrigue that began in the first book and continues throughout the series.
Interview with Ellery Adams:
KRL: How long have you been writing?
Ellery: Ever since I was a little girl. I used to write stories featuring my friends and sell them for a quarter.
KRL: When did your first novel come out?
KRL: What was it called?
Ellery:: A Killer Collection: Antiques and Collectibles Mysteries, Book 1.
KRL: Can you tell us a little about it?
Ellery: Molly Appleby is a young writer for Collector’s Weekly. When her latest assignment takes her to North Carolina pottery country to cover an exclusive kiln opening, she’s certain the show promises surprising offerings and rare finds. What she doesn’t expect to find is a dead body. I’ve recently rereleased this entire series as ebooks.
KRL: Have you always written mysteries/suspense?
Ellery: Yes, my 25th mystery novel came out this August. It’s my favorite genre though I do plan on trying my hand at women’s fiction in the near future.
KRL: What brought you to choose the setting and characters in your latest book/series?
Ellery: For Murder in the Paperback Parlor: A Book Retreat Mystery, I really wanted a setting where Downtown Abbey met Narnia met a hidden library, I wanted a beautiful, remote resort built just for book lovers, so I created one.
KRL: Can you tell us a little about the setting and main character for your most recent book?
Ellery: Right now, I am working on the fifth Charmed Pie Shoppe mystery, Breach of Crust. It takes place in Havenwood, Georgia, the fictional town of the heroine, pie baker, Ella Mae LeFaye.
KRL: Do you write to entertain or is there something more you want the readers to take away from your work?
Ellery: I definitely want to entertain, but more than anything, I want readers to feel. I never want a reader to walk away from one of my books feeling neutral. Ideally, I’d like something—a scene, certain phrases, a character—to haunt each of my readers for a few days. To follow him or her around like a cat. If that happens, then I’ve accomplished my goal.
KRL: Do you have a schedule for your writing or just write whenever you can?
Ellery: I have two school-aged children, so everything in my life is scheduled! I write every morning, a bit in the afternoon, and snatch minutes to promote and e-mail in the evenings. I edit every weekend. On the whole, I work seven days a week.
KRL: Do you outline?
Ellery: I don’t outline. Never have. I find it binding. I tend to jot down ideas per chapter, which I ignore if I feel like it. They’re just guidelines. Signposts I can follow if I choose. Sometimes, the plot takes a different turn and I want to give myself the freedom to wander down a road I hadn’t foreseen. That’s exciting. After 25 books, I’ve gotten a feel for the process, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still get bogged down in the middle or question my endings. Every book has its own persona.
KRL: If you had your ideal, what time of day would you prefer to write?
Ellery: Mornings. With endless cups of hot coffee and a cat on my lap.
KRL: Did you find it difficult to get published in the beginning?
Ellery: Not really, but I got really, really lucky. I do have a stack of rejection letters, but I also have an awesome literary agent.
KRL: Future writing goals?
Ellery: To write a women’s fiction novel and a young adult novel.
KRL: Writing heroes?
Ellery: Too many to list here, but I’m a fan of Hemingway, Christie, Fitzgerald, Shakespeare, Mary Stewart, and an author named Mika Waltari (he wrote wonderful historical fiction).
KRL: What kind of research do you do?
Ellery: Tons. Not a day goes by that I don’t fact check something on the internet. I also use my husband’s medical textbooks and all kinds of other nonfiction resources for resources. With three series, my research is ongoing and continuous.
KRL: What do you read?
Ellery: Historical fiction, suspense, historical mysteries, women’s fiction, young adult, new adult, popular fiction, horror, fantasy.
KRL: Favorite TV or movies?
Ellery: The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Game of Thrones, HGTV, Cooking Shows.
KRL: What an eclectic group! Any advice for aspiring or beginning writers?
Ellery: Never give up. Don’t write for the market. Write the characters who don’t stop speaking inside your head.
KRL: Anything you would like to add?
Ellery: Just how grateful I am to cozy readers. They are the most loyal of all readers and are such wonderfully amazing cheerleaders. I’d never be here today without them.
KRL: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Ellery: I am a huge Star Wars fan, I’m left-handed, and I have a tattoo.
To enter to win a copy of Murder in the Paperback Parlor , simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “parlor,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 22, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.
Click on this link to purchase this book & a portion goes to help support KRL & Mysterious Galaxy: