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Friday 4 September 2020

ℚ♫ All We Buried: Sheriff Bet Rivers Mysteries [1] - Elena Taylor

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author Elena Taylor to talk about All We Buried (7 April 2020, Crooked Lane Books, 301 pages), a Mystery, book one in the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mysteries series.

“Atmospheric and addictive, Elena Taylor’s All We Buried is a suspenseful slide into the heart of a remote mountain town where the residents are as deep and dark as their glacial lake. You’ll stay up all night to finish this novel.”—Nichole Christoff, author of The Kill Chain

"At the forefront of this haunting, impeccably plotted mystery by Elena Taylor is a sharp new heroine, Sheriff Bet Rivers, that crime fiction fans are sure to fall in love with. Dark and atmospheric, this novel will keep you reading all night!"
--Sheena Kamal, author of The Lost Ones

|| Synopsis || Teaser: KCR Preview || Author Q&A || About the Author || Giveaway & Tour Stops ||

A very warm welcome to Elena Taylor; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

Here at BooksChatter we love music, so Elena has shared with us some music that has either inspired her or which fits with her latest work, All We Buried, including two performers who are local to her: Tinkham Road and Peter Pendras - enjoy!

Elena, what was the inspiration for All We Buried?

"I used to live near a very dark lake.  There were rumours about various things rusting at the bottom, including part of a train.  That fascinated me and launched my idea for the location of All We Buried.  Collier is a small fictional town on the edge of Lake Collier—a dark forbidding lake that holds a lot of secrets.

While the town and its valley are fictional, the geography is very real.  I live in a town of 7,000 people in a high valley on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountain Range in Washington State, USA.  My town of Collier is located high in a valley on the eastern side of the mountains, about an hour and half drive from where I live.  Everything described in the book could be found in the mountains I call home.

The main character came to me fairly whole.  Bet Rivers returns home to take on the role of interim sheriff while her father recovers from cancer.  His death, however, makes her position a little more permanent.  The character and the location launched everything else."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
Three Strikes, the latest book in the Eddie Shoes Mysteries series, published under the name Elena Hartwell; follow this link to discover the series on Amazon"This is a terrific question.  My first series, about private eye Eddie Shoes, is very light-hearted and humorous, which is closer to who I am in “real life.”  Bet doesn’t have the same sense of humour that I do.  She does, however, have my sense of duty and my drive to help people.  She’s also closer to the land than Eddie is, so that’s something else that Bet and I share.

Eddie wouldn’t be happy living in an isolated mountain valley, whereas Bet and I actually do.  Bet bonds with her father’s dog, Schweitzer, which definitely reflects me, I am an animal lover with two cats, two horses, and a dog. If I were in law enforcement, I would definitely want to be either with a K-9 unit or mounted police. Schweitzer is the most important partner Bet has, he’s someone she comes to rely on."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for All We Buried - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"I think it’s the most gorgeous cover!  My publisher, Crooked Lane Books made that happen with their designer Nicole Lecht.  She’s incredible.  I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when I saw the first draft, I loved it the moment I saw it.  

She used the geography of the Pacific Northwest, the mood of the dark, mysterious lake in the book, and then the bloom of colour in the sky is just pure genius.  I wish I could take credit for it, but it was all Nicole and Crooked Lane."
Why should we read All We Buried and what sets it apart from the rest? What makes your book unique?
"I believe that Bet Rivers is deeply human and reflects the emotions and experiences many of us share. Yes, the plot is solid and the whodunnit of the crime is fun to solve, but I think there’s more to the book than that. Bet faces so many challenges in her personal life. First, she loses her father. Then, she’s faced with what to do with her life and her career. Does she stay and become the Sheriff of Collier, as the town and her father expected? Or return to Los Angeles for the life she dreamed of? She’s not sure who to trust, including her own instincts. I think people will engage not just with the mystery, but with the emotional stakes of Bet and her fellow characters."
Can you tell us something quirky about All We Buried, its story and characters?
"The town is based on two real places that readers may actually “know” despite their small populations. I live in North Bend, Washington, made famous as the town of Twin Peaks in David Lynch’s quirky show of the same name. Then Roslyn, which is another small town just up and over the pass from where I live, is better known as Cicely, Alaska, in the television show Northern Exposure.

I took details from both communities to make Collier, Washington, feel more “real.” There’s even an actual road that would lead to the town of Collier, called Old Blewitt Highway, that you can find off Highway 97 if you’re ever in the area. I had invented the town and road to it long before I ever drove Old Blewitt Highway. Then one day, when I was out doing a little sightseeing just to add in a few more details, I decided to drive the old road. It was very eerie to drive up a road that turned out to be exactly what I had in my imagination! I keep expecting to see Collier after every turn. "
Who would you recommend All We Buried to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Anyone who loves a lot of character development with their mysteries. I’m interested in not just the whodunnit, but also the psychological experiences of the characters involved. I don’t use graphic violence, though there are some thrills along the way!"
If you could / wished to turn All We Buried and the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mysteries series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"This is always so hard! The book has some similarities to Craig Johnsons’ Longmire, so I think Katee Sackhoff would be great as Bet Rivers, though Zoe Saldana would also be a terrific fit. Then cast Bradley Cooper to play Rob Collier—the prodigal son of the founding family who just happens to return to Collier when the murder happens. Or Daniel Dae Kim, he would be terrific too."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I mostly write crime fiction, though I have been toying with a historical novel, which isn’t a mystery. I also have some other projects in various subgenres (historical/suspense) within the crime fiction category. I read a lot of mysteries and suspense, but I read other things too, narrative nonfiction, historical novels, and I’ve been reading a lot of middle-grade and YA in a variety of genres."
What is your writing process?
"I’m very organic. I start from an image or a character, then I build out a story from there. I figure out who the people are, what the events are, then I write a first draft. It’s always very messy and disorganized, so I do a lot of rewriting. I sometimes even do outlines AFTER I’ve written a first draft, to see how to reorganize my scenes or what scenes might be missing. Then I rewrite, rewrite, rewrite, and send the draft out to my agent. I get notes from her, rewrite more, send it out to a few trusted readers. Rewrite a few more times, then send back to my agent. I also do a lot of research, so I meet (or in these current times ZOOM) with my experts or contact people with questions. I like to visit places that are either real and in my work or similar to fictional settings. I read a lot of nonfiction on homicide investigation and police procedures. Then I rewrite with my editor.

Easy, right? Ha ha ha …"
What is in store next?
"Fingers crossed for book two of the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery Series. It’s set in a snowstorm similar to one that hit my little community in February of 2019. The National Guard had to dig us out there was so much snow. I like to throw challenges at my characters and see how they react."
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?
"I have several!  But here is a picture of me and Jasper."
Elena & Jasper
Wow!  What a beautiful animal!  Which must mean that the horse in your author photo is Radar; lots of head scratches to both of them, two your two cats and all of your other animals :-D

Thank you for sharing, and we hope that you are having a great tour!

All We Buried
Available NOW!

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CMash said...

So many good books, this being one of them, that I want to read. Now I just need uninterrupted time

Elena Taylor said...

So great to spend time with you and your readers today! What a terrific blog. And thank you for the Jasper comment - he is a gorgeous boy, isn't he! Since Radar is on the author photo, it's nice to show off Jasper too.