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Q&A ft Ellen Byron, Author of A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING | Great Escapes Book Tours Cozy Mystery

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours presents A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron. Be sure to enter for a chance...

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours presents A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING: A Cajun Country Mystery by Ellen Byron.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win the giveaway and follow the book tour (for other dates see the bottom of the post).

A Cajun Christmas Killing: A Cajun Country Mystery
by Ellen Byron

Cozy Mystery - 3rd in Series
Crooked Lane Books (October 10, 2017)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683313052

Maggie Crozat is back home in bayou country during the most magical time of the year. In Pelican, Louisiana, Christmastime is a season of giant bonfires on the levee, zydeco carols, and pots of gumbo. Except, this year, the Grinch has come to stay at the family-run Crozat Plantation B&B. When he floods travel websites with vicious reviews, Maggie thinks she’s identified him as rival businessman Donald Baxter. That is, until he’s found stabbed to death at Maggie’s workplace. And Maggie and her loved ones become top suspects.

The Crozats quickly establish alibis, but Maggie’s boyfriend, Detective Bo Durand, remains under suspicion. With Bo sidelined during the investigation, Maggie finds herself forced to work with an unlikely ally: longtime family enemy Rufus Durand. Her sleuthing uncovers more suspects than drummers drumming, and lands her in the crosshairs of the murderer.

The sleigh bells are jingling, and the clock is ticking for Maggie and Rufus, who must catch the killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noël in A Cajun Christmas Killing, the recipe-stuffed third installment of USA Today bestselling author Ellen Byron’s Cajun Country mysteries.

Author Interview

Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

My audience is any reader who wants a fun mystery that’s light on sex, violence and profanity, but heavy on humor and setting. I refer to my fictional town of Pelican, Louisiana as a Cajun Brigadoon, and joke that my books are like a vacation… with murder. Readers who love Cajun food will also like my books because they come with Cajun-inspired recipes, as well as a “Lagniappe” chapter where I share about some of the real places and people that inspired me. “Lagniappe” means “a little something extra.”

How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

My series was originally titled “A Plantations and Pralines Mystery.” My publisher asked me to change that for a couple of reasons, one of which is he was afraid people would think I was writing historical mysteries. Since the series is set in Cajun Country and that region is so identifiable, it seemed the perfect choice for a series title.

Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image?

The fantastic artist behind my covers is Stephen Gardner, who works his magic for several cozy authors. (I particularly adore his artwork for Alyssa Maxwell’s Guilded Newport Mystery series.) I really wanted my covers to depict images from the region where my series is set. Since my protagonist Maggie Crozat works at both her father’s family’s plantation-turned-B&B and her mother’s family’s plantation-turned-historical site, incorporating these iconic locations seemed to be a no-brainer. But we always need to add a modern image to the cover as well, so people don’t get confused and think the series is historical.

If you could change ONE thing about your novel, what would it be?  Why?

For some reason that escapes me, when I shortened Grandmere’s name to Gran’, I added that apostrophe. I think I thought it was more dignified; without it, “Gran” looked like “bran” or something. Gran’ has become a much stronger presence than I originally envisioned her – she’s now one of my favorite characters - so remembering to add the apostrophe every time I type her name is a pain!

How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

You can “Like” my Facebook author page (, follow me on Twitter ( – although I’m much more of a presence on Facebook – and visit my website ( I love to hear from readers! And if you’re interested in Cajun Country, sign up for my newsletter. The link is on the homepage of my website. My “Cajun Country Newsletter” isn’t just about my books, it’s about the region. In fact, sometimes I get so caught up in sharing news about interesting restaurants and visitor sights that I have to remind myself to actually mention my own series!

BTW, I also enjoy helping readers create itineraries for Cajun Country and New Orleans vacations. If my books spark an interest in traveling to the area, let me know and I’ll share some tips.

What can we expect from you in the future?

A Cajun Christmas Killing, the third book in my series, officially launches October 10th although it’s available for presale now. It received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, which was a thrill. Book four, Mardi Gras Murder, will be available in 2018.

What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Buy my books! Take them out of the library! Share them with friends, family, and social media. I’ve done real and virtual book club appearances, so feel free to contact me about those. There’s been a huge contraction in the cozy genre; Berkley Prime Crime cut a ton of their writers loose and Five Star folded their entire mystery catalog. If you love a series, champion it. Otherwise, no joke, it may go away. I’ve been mulling over the idea of creating street teams, which are series fans who share news, bookmarks, and more within their area in exchange for special perks from us authors. I haven’t gotten it together yet, but I think that would be fun.

Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers trying to get published?

First of all and most importantly, write - even if it’s only for fifteen minutes a day. Any progress is progress. Join organizations in your area or online that pertain to your genre. I belong to Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America both locally and nationally. These groups have been a godsend of information and support. I’m on several of their listservs, which is another way to bond with the mystery community. It’s like having a thousand pen pals who share your same passion.

Also, develop a small group of beta readers – people whose input you respect and trust. Let them read your work and give notes, and do the same for them. Make sure you don’t submit your work to agents or publishers until it is a thousand percent ready to go out into the world (the aforementioned beta readers can help with determining that). But if you do want to contact agents, is a great, affordable resource for IDing the agent best suited to your work and keeping track of your hunt for him or her.

About The Author

Body on the Bayou, the second in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for a Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award. Her debut book in the series, Plantation Shudders, made the USA Today Bestsellers list, and was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards. Ellen is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the Malice Domestic Convention. Her TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as network and cable pilots. As a journalist, she’s written over 200 magazine articles for national publications. Her plays, published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and Asleep on the Wind. A native New Yorker and graduate of Tulane University, Ellen lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband, daughter, and the family’s spoiled rescue dogs.

Author Links

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N

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