Sunday, July 31, 2016

Versatility Rocks! Mary Ellis, Amish, Romance, and Mystery Novelist

Welcome to The Diamond Mine, Mary. While some advise authors to brand themselves and stick with one genre, you've been willing to make changes. I admire that quality. After all, without your flexibility, your latest release wouldn't be out there for us to read. 

First of all, what a great cover! And this is part of a mystery series . . . YAY for you! 

How has your writing changed over your career? For example, how did creating Magnolia Moonlight compare with some of your first books? 
Although I was first published in romantic suspense, I’m best known for my Amish romances, set mainly close to where I live in Ohio. I loved studying and interviewing these humble Christians, but after twelve books it was time to move on. I then wrote three historical romances set during the Civil War. These required a tremendous amount of research, both through non-fiction books and at Civil War battlefields. Now I’m happily ensconced writing mysteries about a PI agency in New Orleans. I loved making a second genre change—it keeps my writing fresh and me happy.

What lessons would you classify as most important in your journey?
I believe an author must be flexible and willing to make changes to remain viable in this crazy publishing business. When I began writing, e-books had just come on the scene and had few takers. In those days, readers were forced to read on their computers. Now with e-readers, tablets, and cell phone, readers can choose how and when they enjoy their favorite stories. Although I personally prefer print books, an author must consider various tastes and make books available in every format for internet shopping, chain bookstores, and independent booksellers.  I truly hope we never lose brick-and-and mortar bookstores. Going inside one for me is like being a kid in a candy store!

What about Magnolia Moonlight stands out as you consider all the novels you've written? Magnolia Moonlight is third in the Secrets of the South Mysteries. (Although you do not have to read them in order) The first two books were Midnight on the Mississippi and What Happened on Beale Street. I absolutely love spinning these whodunit tales in the South, where we plan to move after my husband retires. The storylines are faster-paced than my historical romances or my Amish family dramas, and I usually have a main mystery with a subplot mystery happening alongside it.

Here is something about the story: What sinister secrets lurk in the shadows of yesterday? Natchez, Mississippi—Private Investigator Nate Price and his new wife, Isabelle, need a vacation. Their coworkers generously team up to surprise them with a belated honeymoon…but the happy trip turns sour when Izzy spies her ex-husband, who appears to have taken up his gambling addiction once again. While the boss is away, Price Investigations remains in the hands of Beth Kirby, a former police officer, and Michael Preston, a former forensic accountant. Hardly a dream team, as Beth resents working with a man who has no experience in his new job.

But Beth and Michael must move past their differences if they hope to uncover the truth behind a beloved Southern preacher’s demise. The preacher’s widow suspects foul play, despite the evidence indicating suicide.  With tension escalating between these investigators and local law enforcement—and new threats arising on all sides—how will Beth, Michael, and Nate hold on to faith and bring the truth to light?

Has what you hope for your readers changed over the years? I don’t think so. What I have always hoped for my readers is that they are entertained, refreshed, and uplifted by my books. Although Christian fiction usually offers a hopeful message to Believers, a fiction writer’s primary object is to entertain with good clean books that glorify God. Fiction should bring a smile to the face of readers. If I’ve done that, then I have succeeded.

Here’s something about me: Mary Ellis has written twelve award-winning novels set in the Amish community and several historical romances. Her latest, Magnolia Moonlight, is third of a new mystery series, Secrets of the South, from Harvest House Publishers. Before "retiring" to write full-time, Mary taught school and worked as a sales rep for Hershey Chocolate, a job with amazingly sweet fringe benefits. She enjoys traveling, gardening, bicycling and swimming, and lives in Ohio with her husband, dog and cat. Sunset in Old Savannah will release in early 2017. She can be found on the web at: or

Purchase link for Magnolia Moonlight - 

Please leave Mary a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of Magnolia Moonlight. US residents only. 

Thanks so much for joining us here, Mary. Your writing history inspires me, and I would guess you've brought smiles to the faces of many readers, and a bigger one to the fortunate winner of Magnolia Moonlight


Ann Ellison said...

Enjoyed the interview with Mary. I haven't read any of her books, but definitely need to check them out. Would love to win a copy of this one. It sounds like a good one.

Becky Smith said...

What a fun interview! And the cover of Mary Ellis's book is really captivating! I will definitely put her on my TBR list! Thank you!

Caryl Kane said...

Thank you for the wonderful interview! I've not yet read Mary's books. They sound intriguing.

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