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Tuesday 8 March 2016

ℚ Jump Cut: The Ellie Foreman Mysteries [5] - Libby Fischer Hellmann

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Jump Cut (, The Red Herrings Press, 287 pages), a Mystery, book five of The Ellie Foreman Mysteries series.

"Exceptional... As Hellman’s convincing, conflicted characters face impossible choices, the tension is real and memorable." —Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Hellmann's writing sparkles...plenty of suspense in this richly detailed thriller, but Hellmann’s characteristic wit and warmth are evident, too." —Booklist

"From spies to drones and hackers, Jump Cut is a heart-stopping tale of corporate espionage that will have you snapping on your seatbelt. The tangled web of international intrigue is riveting. Hellmann is a renowned master of suspense, and her great talent shows in the story’s many rich characters, the beautifully honed paragraphs, and the sweep of her provocative story. A keeper!" —Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author of The Assassins

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Trailer | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Libby Fischer Hellmann; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter.

What compelled you to write Jump Cut?

"Between 2002 and 2005 I wrote four Ellie Foreman mysteries, Ellie being a Chicago video producer who finds herself investigating murders.  After #4, I set the series aside and wrote a number of other novels, including a trio of historical novels and another mystery series featuring PI Georgia Davis.

For readers who may be new to Ellie, what can you tell us about her?
"Ellie is a Chicago video producer and single mother.  She lives on the North Shore about 20 miles away.

Born and raised in Chicago, she married, had a daughter, then got divorced.  Her mother passed when Ellie was in her twenties, but her father is still around, and plays a vital role in all the books.

Ellie is outgoing and has a self-deprecating sense of humor as well as a strong sense of fairness and justice, so when she sees situations that aren’t, she is apt to get involved.  Those situations usually (but not always) arise from the corporate or industrial videos she produces.

She used to be rather impulsive, but as she’s matured, she’s more thoughtful. Still, she tends to end up in trouble and needs to get herself out of it.

She’s had two serious relationships since her divorce – and now has settled in rather comfortably with Luke Sutton, who lives most of the week in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Unlike Georgia Davis, who is a loner, Ellie has a support system of friends and family around her.  I like to describe the Ellie books as a cross between “Desperate Housewives” and “24,” but Jump Cut is much more “24’ (and raises serious issues) than the others."
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating this book?
"How life imitates art, or, perhaps should I say, life imitates thrillers.

That’s happened in two of my novels. My 5th crime novel, Easy Innocence, is about high school girls who are part of a teen prostitution ring… not because they are runaways or come from abusive homes, but because they want the money to buy all the electronic toys (iPads, iPhones, etc.) and designer clothes their parents can’t afford to give them.  I was on book tour for that book in Dallas, Texas, when one of the attendees handed me a newspaper article about that very thing. Apparently a teen (Ages 12-15) girl was running a prostitution ring in her middle school (Ages 12-15)!

It happened again with Jump Cut.  Part of the plot is about the Chinese and how far they will go to suppress critics of their regime.  Ellie and her boyfriend suspect the Chinese have deleted online articles that purport to show the Chinese discriminating against some of their citizens who happen to be Muslim.  In early February, I ran across an article in the Washington Post that essentially says the same thing! "
What has been your greatest challenge as a writer?
"Facing the empty screen. (I write on a computer).  I’m part of the school that hate to write but loves having written.  Every morning when I sit down to write, my stomach clenches.  I’m sure readers are going to figure out what a fraud I am and that I can’t write at all.

In addition, if I manage to get past that fear, I’m pretty hard on myself.  I may write a sentence or even a paragraph, then decide it’s okay, but it doesn’t “sing…” acceptable.  But not great. I’ll make myself go back over it several times until I am able to “elevate” the prose into something that’s better than average.

That’s probably why I’m such a slow writer.  I have perfected the ability to procrastinate… to do anything BUT write.  And when I do, I take forever with each passage.  It’s very rare that I go back over my work and say, “Hey, that wasn’t so bad…” Even when it’s already published. Example: I had an audio produced for Jump Cut.  Which meant I had to listen to every chapter to proof it.  By the end, I was nearly crying… I had used at least four phrases at least TWENTY times each!  (I won’t tell you what they are).  I went BACK over the manuscript and was able to strike half of them out.  The good news is that my publisher agreed to change the written text and the ebook before publication on March 1.  The audio was corrected as well.  (Big sigh of relief.)"
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?
"Ha.  There have been so many it’s hard to know where to begin.  I’m in a writers’ group – have been for twenty years  (They’ll take me out of there feet first).  When I first started, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  In fact, I knew very little.  For example, before I was published, I wrote three novels.  None have seen the light of day, and they never will, because they weren’t ready.  I had to learn the craft of fiction. To wit, in one of those novels, two male police officers were the protagonists.  One of them walked into a house to question a witness, and the first thing he noticed were the curtains in the window. “Um... no,” said my writing group.  A solid, beefy cop would NOT notice curtains when he walked into a house.  "You need to learn the difference between a man and a woman's point of view”, they said.  Looking back, it seems obvious now.  But at the time it felt like a revelation.

As for the best compliment – that also happened in my writers’ group.  Two years after that, I finally discovered Ellie Foreman and brought in the first chapter of what would become An Eye For Murder.  I read it out loud.  Afterwards there was absolute silence.  I was sure I'd done something wrong.  This was it, I was thinking.  They're going to kick me out. Instead, as I looked around, the woman who'd been hardest on me, said, "That was amazing.  You found your voice."  Her comment is still the most flattering thing anyone has ever said to me about my writing."
What is in store next?
"Jump Cut is #5 in the Ellie Foreman series. I’m sure there will be another one, but I don’t know when.  I like to say “I’m writing my way around the genre.”  I’ve written amateur sleuth, PI (Private investigator), historical thrillers, contemporary thrillers, a police procedural, and even a cozy.  I’m anxious to try a caper novel next.  It will be with two characters who I introduced in a short story called Capital Partners.  After that, I’m not sure."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"Two years ago, I decided to dress up as Stevie Nicks (one of my girl crushes) on Halloween. This is the result."
I love it! :-D   Thank you for sharing!

Jump Cut
Available NOW!

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Majanka Verstraete said...

I've never heard of a video producer solving crime, so I'm already intrigued.

Majanka @ I Heart Reading

Libby Hellmann said...

Hi, Majanka. Ellie worked in TV news prior to that, and there are several authors who use that profession for their amateur sleuth. I chose that because I used to be a video producer and loved that I might be shooting a health care video one month... and a coal mine the next. Variety and all that.
And thank you so much, Book Chatter, for hosting me today. It's lovely to meet new readers!