Guest Post: Elena Taylor – ALL WE BURIED


Good day, book people. We’ve made it to the end of another month and the beginning of another seasonal change. Yay us! I often wonder what authors do all day long. Do they have outside jobs? Do they have a strict writing schedule? Do they spend hours reading and performing research? Is everything they encounter in their daily lives fodder for their books? What exactly happens on the average day in an author’s life? Realistically, authors’ daily routines probably differ as much as my daily routine differs from yours. However, I’m pleased to welcome editor, reviewer, blogger, Elena Taylor — author of All We Buried and she has graciously agreed to provide us with a glimpse into her daily routine. Thank you, Ms. Taylor (no relation), for stopping by today and sharing with us.



A Day in The Life of Author Elena Taylor


Polar and CoalTrain take a Break


My dog Polar is a very smart dog. He understands that Dad is up very early, and Mom is up very late. He gets Dad up with the sun for a walk, then he crawls back in bed with me for a little cuddle and a snooze until a reasonable hour.

Once I can open my eyes without a struggle, I like to sit up in bed and read for about an hour. Most of the time it’s a mystery that I’m to review—either as a blogger or for the New York Journal of Books—if it’s not for a review, it’s usually either nonfiction about crime, as research for my next book, or I’m reading for pure fun. 

My reading time is one of the best parts of the day. Outside the window, there’s nothing to see but trees. And the only sound is that of the river running through my backyard. Polar likes to lie against my leg and I’m often visited by a cat or two. I have a cup of coffee and get myself fully awake to face my writer’s day.

Then I wander down the hall, usually followed by the dog and a cat or two (if you’re sensing a theme here, you’re right!). I get another cup of coffee and head into my office. My office is a small room at the back of the house. I have a window looking out over the river, and an L-shaped desk that I built for the space. Polar fits underneath it perfectly.

The first thing I like to do is work on my own writing. If it’s the first draft, like I’m writing now, I shoot for a certain word count. With my current project that’s 1000 words a day. According to the post-it on my computer, my word count today is 27,968, so in about fifty days I’ll have a full draft of roughly 80,000 words. 

My goal is to finish in the beginning of November.

If I’m working on rewrites, I do a certain number of pages a day. 

That may sound weirdly arbitrary, and it probably is, but for some reason, I have to break my work down like that. I think it has to do with the fact that the industry goes by word count, whereas readers go by pages. For a first draft, I think like the industry and for rewrites, I think like a reader.

After I finish my word or page count, I take a break, have something to eat—by the river if it’s not raining—then I come back to my computer and work on client projects. I often find a cat under my desk waiting for my return.

One of the other hats I wear is that of a developmental editor, I look at big picture stuff on works-in-progress. Everything from story structure to pace to dialogue to character development as well as specific quirks every writer has. As I work, I often see kayakers float past the house and a lot of squirrels run around in the trees. It’s pretty exciting out here in Snoqualmie Valley.

Throughout the day I take mini breaks for coffee and catch up on social media. I respond to emails and generate content for my newsletter. And play with the cats and the dog. The dog is good about sleeping next to me, the cats like to climb around on my desk and require more attention, but they are so cute I get sucked in every time. 

Then comes my favorite part of the daily routine. In the afternoon I head over to the stables where we board our horses. It’s a bit of a drive, but the location is totally worth it. I catch up on the day’s news with NPR on the radio and let myself shift from fiction to the real world.

I spend an hour or two (or three) getting the horses out. In warm weather there are baths, in cold weather, I hang out with them in their shed to stay out of the rain. Living in Western Washington, “Mud” is considered a season. 

My two geldings are hilarious, Radar, the youngest, likes to play with traffic cones and will grab one in his mouth and run around with it. Our older horse Jasper is a regal Palomino Paint who rules the pasture like a benign dictator. He loves to graze and never misses a chance for snacks—a characteristic he and I have in common.

Back home my day varies depending on deadlines and how much I accomplished in the morning. Sometimes I work later into the evening, sometimes I only work another hour or so. Mostly I do the business side of writing. I write blog posts and book reviews. I put together mailings for reviewers or do other things related to promotions. 

In the winter it will already be dark, making me want to eat soup and join the entire family, four-legged and two, in bed. In the summertime, our beautiful northern latitude keeps it light until ten o’clock, and I feel a little guilty if I don’t work later. 

In the evenings, I have to admit, I love to watch television. I’m a sucker for TV mysteries. Grantchester, Frankie Drake, and Endeavor are some of my recent indulgences. I also finally watched Downton Abbey. I was late to the party, but I’m glad I waited. I absolutely loved it and binging it took my mind off our current situation.

Oh, and I bake too much. Nothing smells better than fresh bread and I have finally discovered the world’s greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe. Though just to be sure, I should probably bake another batch or two to make confirm they really are that good.

A friend recently asked me how I come up with the stuff in my novels. The adventures of my characters look nothing like my daily life. I suppose my imagination and my daily life are the yin and yang of my personality. I love adventure with my fiction and peace and quiet in the real world. Other than the occasional attack of my toes by a cat, peace and quiet is exactly how I get to live.

Thanks for hanging out with me today! Now I’ve got to run. The horses are waiting.

Elena 




All We Buried

by Elena Taylor

on Tour September 1-30, 2020

Synopsis:


All We Buried by Elena Taylor

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.



Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.




Book Details:


Genre: Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1643852914 (ISBN13: 9781643852911)
Series: Sheriff Bet Rivers #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads



Author Bio:


Elena Taylor
PHOTO CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Taylor lives on the banks of the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in a town made famous by Twin Peaks. When she’s not writing or working one-on-one with writers as a developmental editor, she can be found hanging out with her husband, dog, and two cats. Her favorite place to be (besides home) is the stables down the road, with her two horses Radar and Jasper.


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Guest Post: Elena Taylor – ALL WE BURIED


Hello, my bookish divas and divos. I hope you’re all staying safe at home during these trying times. For those of you that are still out working, first, thank you for your service and second please stay safe! 


If you’re anything like me, you probably wonder just how much research an author puts into their books whether it’s historical fiction, suspense, or a police procedural. I’m especially curious about research into the latter category if the author has never been in law enforcement because I have a brother and several relatives in law enforcement and I know that the public never truly knows what goes on behind-the-scenes (sometimes it is for the protection of the public — we don’t really NEED to know everything that’s going on — and sometimes it is for the protection of the innocent or even law enforcement and they often deserve the consideration!). Today, I’m pleased to welcome Elena Taylor, author of the newly released All We Buried, who will be discussing her thoughts on research from the perspective as a crime writer. Thank you, Ms. Taylor, for stopping by today and sharing with us. I look forward to hearing what you have to say and will be putting All We Buried on my TBR list!




A Crime Writer’s Thoughts on Research


Research is one of my favorite aspects of writing a novel. I love to research before and during the writing process. 

There are multiple areas to research for any given novel. Some of the ones I enjoy the most are: location and homicide investigation/police procedure.

Location

What makes location so much fun is it can include travel and onsite research along with internet searches and travel books.

My first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, is set in Bellingham, Washington. Bellingham, a small college town near the Canadian border, is about a ninety-minute drive from my house, so it was easy to drive up and visit.

I’ve gone in search of the best places to get a margarita and where to hide a dead body. I also sent my private eye on vacation for book three because I couldn’t justify too many murders in a town that rarely sees more than one murder a year, and got to do similar research in the charming, tourist town of Leavenworth, Washington. 

With All We Buried, I got to pick a new location for the novel. Hoping it’s the start of a series, I decided to set it in a fictional town that I can continue to discover and develop in future books. But that doesn’t mean I can’t do onsite research. 

Collier, Washington, is based on real places: the town of Roslyn, Washington, and a stretch of “highway” called “Old Blewett Pass Road.”

Roslyn is about an hour’s drive from my house, up and over Snoqualmie Pass, taking me from the wetter, western side of the Cascade Mountain Range to the drier eastern side.

Roslyn, made famous by the TV show, Northern Exposure, is a quaint town built on mining, just like Collier. The details I’ve included in my novel are things like the architecture and an incredible, historic cemetery, along with aspects of locations around town.

One of the primary differences with my fictional town, however, is Roslyn sits just off Highway 90, the main east/west corridor across the state. To get to Collier, you have to drive north from I-90 and head up into the mountains.

The choice to put Collier far away from the main interstate and any other towns was designed to add tension and danger for my characters. But I never imagined while I was writing the novel that the road to Collier actually exists.

And doing research, I found it.  

Old Blewitt Road twists its way up into the Cascade Mountains. It’s basically a single lane. With epic drop-offs into picturesque valleys full of ponderosa pines and no sounds save the singing of birds and the sighing of wind.

This is why I love to go onsite for research into location. Sometimes the real thing and the fiction I’ve created are a lot closer than I could have hoped. Both adding to the detail I can include in my books and inspirations for the next one.

Homicide Investigation/Police Procedures

I’m fascinated by homicide investigations. The science behind fingerprinting and autopsies and DNA testing are far more complicated than Hollywood would have us believe. 

I watch Forensic Files and read books on crime scene investigation for fun.

But even more important to me, are the human beings behind the science and protocol of police investigations.

While I run a lot of technical stuff past my experts, I’m also curious about the human side of things. Like, what makes police detectives tick?

One of my favorite aspects about meetings with my police expert is after we’ve talked through the details I’ve written about police procedures, I usually ask him questions like “do you ever get used to seeing an autopsy?”

These little personal details can help round out my characters, making them feel like genuine people, not just cardboard cutouts.

My expert’s personal reactions often surprise me, as he thinks about things that I would never consider, with details I could never imagine. 

My notebook comes home full of scribbles about crime scene investigation and interviewing techniques when talking to a suspect, but my double underlines are often on the information about his emotional reactions to things.

The perfect blending of accuracy in procedures balanced out with human responses is part of what I think makes my stories feel “real”, even if I sometimes get the details wrong.

The hardest part about research can be knowing what questions to ask. We don’t know what we don’t know until someone points out what we didn’t know.

But that usually just makes me strive harder in the next book.

It’s what got me to a basics of pistol shooting class and reading the textbook for individuals on the police force who want to become detectives.

Who knows what I’ll get into for the next manuscript?

I just promise I’ll keep my research on the right side of the law. 

Want to know the answer from my police expert about getting used to autopsies? You’ll just have to read my next novel and see if you can determine fact from fiction. Or maybe it’s a little bit of both.






All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery

by Elena Taylor

About All We Buried


All We Buried: A Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (April 7, 2020)
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1643852914
ISBN-13: 978-1643852911
Digital ASIN: B07RQH353V


For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.


Purchase Links:

Amazon:   Barnes & Noble  Books-A-Million  IndieBound


About the Author

CREDIT MARK PERLSTEIN

Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit www.allegoryediting.com.When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, an M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.


Author Links

Website:  https://www.elenataylorauthor.com/ 
Blog: https://www.elenataylorauthor.com/blog 
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ElenaTaylorAuthor/ 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Elena_TaylorAut
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19494739.Elena_Taylor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/elenataylorauthor


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TOUR PARTICIPANTS

April 7 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 7 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 8 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

April 9 – Gimme The Scoop Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 10 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

April 10 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 11 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT

April 12 – TBR Book Blog – REVIEW

April 13 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

April 13 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 14 – eBook addicts – REVIEW

April 14 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 15 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

April 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW

April 16 – The Book Diva’s Reads – GUEST POST

April 16 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 17 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 18 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

April 18 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST 

April 19 – That’s What She’s Reading – REVIEW

April 19 – Brooke Blogs – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 20 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT



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