We at Badass Book Reviews are very excited to welcome author Ellery Adams! You might know Ellery as Jennifer Stanley or J.B. Stanley, but she writes two cozy mystery series under her Ellery Adams pen name. Her “A Book by the Bay Mystery” series currently has four books published and her “A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery” series currently has two books. Her newest release, Peach Pies and Alibis, is the second book in the “Charmed” series, and Ellery was nice enough to stop by and chat with us about it. Be sure to order your copy and to stop back by the blog on Sunday, 10 March, for our featured review. You can also check out our review of the first book, Pies and Prejudice. Finally, for all you readers that love free stuff, keep reading below for your chance to enter and win a copy of Peach Pies and Alibis and an adorable Peachy Prize Pack!
A Magically Delicious Chat with Ellery Adams
BadassBookReviews: Welcome to our blog, Ellery. Is there anything special that you do to celebrate when you have a new release?
Ellery Adams: Honestly, I’m too busy working on the next book to do much celebrating. If the book does well enough to hit the Times List, well, that’s a different matter. I’ll make time to eat, drink, and be merry should that happen <grin>
EA: The Charmed Pie Shoppe centers around a plucky, talented pastry chef in her early thirties. Ella Mae LeFaye has recently discovered that she possesses magical abilities. She is able to infuse the pies she makes with whatever feelings she wants. She uses her own memories to make her customers feel joyful, youthful, lustful, trusting, and yes, generous with their tips! However, being magical isn’t always peachy. There are lots of rules and restrictions and Ella Mae is trying to figure out how to find happiness as an enchanted pastry chef in a town filled with remarkable villains and amazing family members and friends.
BaBR: How did you come up with the idea for the world of Havenwood? Originating from Georgia myself, I’m wondering if the setting is based on a real place. Is there anyone in your life that served as an inspiration for your characters?
EA: I envisioned a town that wasn’t too far from Atlanta but was far enough to be isolated. When I began researching the first book, I read about little towns like Cartersville and Acworth (near Altoona Lake) because I needed to have a big lake in this series. The reason for this will become clearer as the books progress. And the characters are 100 percent fictional. I can see them and hear them as if they were in the room with me. Shows you how nutty I am, right?
BaBR: Haha, I think that just makes you sound creative! Without giving away too much, can you tell us about your favorite scene in Peach Pies and Alibis or maybe the one that was the most difficult to write?
EA: Oh, my favorite scene is actually quite moving and in some ways, rather terrible. I can’t say much about it because readers will know exactly what I’m talking about when I get there, but Ella Mae suffers a loss. People ask me why I’m so mean to my characters, but bad things happen to good people and they also happen to my characters. In my opinion, my characters cannot grow without surviving adversity, and I’ve dealt poor Ella Mae a wallop in this book.
BaBR: Your main character is named Ella Mae LeFaye. That surname calls to another literary figure, Morgan le Fay. Since Ella Mae will be searching for the origin of her magical powers in this book, will we be seeing more mentions of the Arthurian legends? What made you decide to add the magical elements to these stories?
EA: You are so smart to make that leap! Yes, Arthurian legend will come into play regarding Ella Mae’s origins. In fact, I’m flipping the traditional legend on its head by making Guinevere the scoundrel and Morgan le Fay the powerful, but misunderstood adversary. The origins of Ella Mae’s kind are even older than this time period, but I’ll leave the Greek and Egyptian myths for later books.
I decided to incorporate fantasy elements into this series as a test for myself. I like reading fantasy, and have always been impressed and a little daunted by it. When I consider Tolkien or Marion Zimmer Bradley or Mary Stewart and how multi-layered their stories are, I wondered if I could make a feeble attempt at a completely different world concealed within the one we already knew. I hope the blend has been successful. When I first told readers that I’d be combining mystery with a culinary novel with fantasy, I think they thought I’d lost my mind. Of course, that happened long before this series. <grin>
BaBR: In the first book, Pies and Prejudice, Ella Mae went through a lot of changes both personally and professionally. Will we see her more settled in this book or will she still be finding her place in Havenwood?
EA: She’ll be more settled in a professional sense and the pie shop is flourishing, but I’m throwing several huge personal wrenches at her in Peach Pies and Alibis. She really learns how to use her gifts in this book, but she has to face one of the most unique villains I’ve ever created. I can’t wait to hear what you think of this person’s weapons!
BaBR: I can’t wait to see what villian you’ve created to top the first book. Speaking of the first book, Ella Mae definitely has chemistry with her old crush Hugh Dylan, but have we seen the last of Chandler Knox? Will any other potential suitors be making an appearance in this book?
EA: Chandler isn’t making an appearance in this book. I like him, but he’s too wounded to compete with Hugh at this time. Someone from Ella Mae’s past will appear in this book and cause her lots of trouble. But she needs to be resolve her feelings for Hugh or he’ll gravitate back to Loralyn again.
BaBR: Oh, we don’t want that! Just for fun, who would you cast as your main characters if the books were turned into a TV show? [side note: Yes, I can completely imagine this series as a wonderfully quirky weekly show a la "Pusing Daisies!"]
EA: I’d pick Delta Burke (just as she was on “Designing Women”) for Aunt Verena, someone like Sissy Spacek for Aunt Dee, maybe Debra Messing for Aunt Sissy, Sela Ward for Adelaide, and Bryce Dallas Howard or Amy Adams to play Ella Mae. Maybe Reba McIntyre would play Reba!
BaBR: How many books do you have planned for the “Charmed” series?
EA: I have a contract for three. If Peach Pies and Alibis sells well, the publishers will probably ask me for another two books (fingers crossed!).
BaBR: You also write the “A Books by the Bay Mystery” series starring Olivia Limoges. Who would you say that you are more like, Olivia or Ella Mae?
EA: I am more like Olivia in my head, but act more like Ella Mae. I want people to like me and Olivia doesn’t give a fig if people like her or not.
BaBR: Obviously Ella Mae is a killer baker; the recipes at the end of Pies and Prejudice were a nice touch. Is baking something that you like to do as well?
BaBR: Both of your series written as Ellery Adams feature dogs in the story and on the covers. Are you a dog person? Do you secretly have something against the felines of the world?
EA: I am an animal person. I grew up with a pack of large dogs, but I am currently owned by four cats and trust me, they are the most spoiled felines you’ll ever meet. They have me well trained!
BaBR: Do you like to read mysteries while you are writing? If not, what other genres are you drawn to? What books are currently on your personal “To Be Read” pile?
EA: I don’t read cozies when I’m working on a book because I want my narrative voice to be unique. However, I’ll read other types of mysteries like those written by Michael Connelly or Tana French. I also love historical fiction and contemporary women’s fiction. I just finished The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey and loved it.
BaBR: After the release of Peach Pies and Alibis, what is next on your plate? Tell us what the rest of 2013 has in store for you.
EA: Insanity! I have to turn in a book April 1, August 1, and again on January 1 of 2014. I’m also thrilled to announce that I’ll be writing an all-new series (coming in 2014) about a secluded resort for book lovers. Think Downtown Abbey stocked with thousands of books! I hope readers will love reading the first book in this series as much as I’ve loved writing it.
BaBR: Oh, that sounds like a wonderful new series. I can’t wait to check it out! Thank you again for stopping by Badass Book Reviews, Ellery. We can’t wait for your newest releases and wish you the biggest success with everything!
EA: Thanks so much for having me. Your questions are amazingly thoughtful and this blog is pure magic!
** Remember readers, Peach Pies and Alibis — the newest “A Charmed Pie Shoppe Mystery,” released on March 5, 2013 and is now available for purchase at your favorite retailer. Be sure to come back on Sunday, 10 March, for our featured review as well! **
Use the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a copy of Peach Pies and Alibis OR Pies and Prejudice in the format of your choice AND the Peachy Prize Pack pictured above. This giveaway is restricted to US entries only. Winner will be contacted on 14 Mar, 2013.
About the Author
Ellery Adams grew up on a beach near the Long Island Sound. Having spent her adult life in a series of landlocked towns, she cherishes her memories of open water, violent storms, and the smell of the sea. Ms. Adams has held many jobs including caterer, retail clerk, car salesperson, teacher, tutor, and tech writer, all the while penning poems, children’s books, and novels. She now writes full-time from her home in Virginia.
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