Edith here, happy to welcome Ellie Alexander to the 2021 blog. She has a new Bakeshop Mystery out, and she’ll send one lucky commenter a signed copy of Chilled to the Cone.
Take it away, Ellie!
Blurring Facts and Fiction
Thanks so much for inviting me on the blog today as we step into this new year. I don’t know about all of you but last year feels like a strange blur, like a mashup of fiction and reality, which in many ways parallels my writing and that of so many other mystery writers. When we sit down to pen a new story we have to set aside some semblance of reality. After all, what’s the likelihood that a pastry chef (or any other cozy sleuth) would ever be invited on a crime scene or for that matter be able to piece together the gruesome clues of a murder before the professionals? I’m going to say quite unlikely. But, isn’t that the gift of escaping into a cozy? We get to set aside the real world and venture into quaint villages and charming locales while helping our favorite amateur sleuths bring right to the world. To me that is exactly the salve for the soul that reading provides me.
One of my favorite parts of writing mystery series is getting to bring touches of fact into my fiction. My Bakeshop Mysteries are set in the very real Ashland, Oregon, home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival where the stunning Siskiyou Mountains stretch as far as the eye can see and where it’s not unusual to find someone dressed in pantaloons quoting Shakespeare in the center of the plaza or spot deer frolicking in Lithia Park.
Writing about a real place provides me with endless inspiration, from the artisan shops and restaurants to the Elizabethan theater, the welcoming community, and the gorgeous landscapes of the lush Rogue Valley, I’m never at a loss for ideas. And, I enjoy getting to bring the place that I call home to life on the page and introducing the beauty of Ashland to readers.
There is one glaring error when it comes to blurring the lines of fact and fiction though, and that is the murder of course. The 12th book in the series, CHILLED TO THE CONE just released and in the two years since Juliet Capshaw (my pastry chef turned crime solver) has been home the body count has piled up. Sweet, little Ashland is murder central. If I were writing about a purely fictional place that might not be a problem, but since Ashland is indeed real I feel like my books should come with disclaimer that explains that while Ashland is even more charming than I could possibly describe, the murders are one-hundred percent fiction.
If you come visit there’s a good chance you’ll see flocks of wild turkeys or bump into an actor dressed in Shakespearean garb, but you don’t need to worry about crazed killers lurking in dark alleyways or have to fear that your latte might be laced with poison.
So here’s to a new year of cozy reading filled with an abundance of fiction and a few fun facts mixed in.
Readers: What about you? Do you enjoying blurring facts and fiction when reading? I’ll send one of you (North America only) a signed copy of Chilled to the Cone and a cone sticker!
Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. She is the author of the bestselling Bakeshop Mystery and Sloan Krause Mystery series. Ellie loves hearing from readers and interacting with them on social media, you can connect with her and find her on social media here: http://www.elliealexander.co