Your book Diamonds & Deception has a very real dark side to it. How did you deal with that aspect while writing this story?
Writing that part of the story was difficult for me. Researching the aspects of human trafficking opened my eyes, especially the realization that it wasn’t some distant activity that happened far from where I live, but rather only a few miles away at a local mall. I incorporate it into the story to shed light on a particularly ugly criminal enterprise.
Karina Cardinal is a very powerful character. Was there an event or a person who inspired her development?
There’s an old saying, “write what you know.” I used to work for the American Academy of Physician Assistants in Alexandria, VA, and at one time did a stint on Capitol Hill for a Senator. So, Karina’s interest in politics and her work in the medical world comes from my own background. I think that’s where the similarities end. Karina is far braver and more impulsive than I. Her character development came from my imagination, and her ability to fall, or get dragged, into dangerous situations is all Karina. My life is utterly boring compared to Karina’s.
If you could do anything in the world besides writing and do it anywhere in the world, what would you be doing and where?
I believe I would enjoy being part of a production crew that was turning one of my books into a movie. How exciting to see a story on paper come to life!
You began your career writing romances, but then started writing mysteries. Why did you make the change?
A few of my romances fell into the romantic suspense genre, and I came to realize that not only did I have a knack for writing the suspense, I soon came to prefer it over the romantic love story. While I still incorporate a love interest in my suspense novels, it no longer drives the storyline.
What can fans both new and seasoned expect from you in 2019/2020? What else do you have in the works?
In 2020, readers will get to see the next Karina Cardinal Mystery (book 4). A fan favorite, Rodrigo, will be back in the story, along with Karina’s kooky neighbor, Mrs. Thundermuffin. Karina’s next adventure will also go international. After the fourth Karina mystery is completed, I plan to pivot back to my historical spy novel, The Brass Compass, and write a sequel for Lily St. James in post-WWII.
For more information about Ellen Butler and her books check out her website.