Ella Barrick’s third ballroom dance mystery, The Homicide Hustle (Obisidian), comes out on April 2d, the same day Laura DiSilverio’s third mall cop mystery, Malled to Death (Berkley Prime Crime), debuts. (Laura and Ella inhabit the same body, in case you who didn’t know.)
The photo on the right is Laura. The photo below with the cute hat is Ella.
Laura thought it would be fun to interview Ella about her books for this blog. That makes my life as hostess pretty darned nice because I get two authors on the same day with hardly any effort on my part.
Laura: So, El, I understand you aren’t much of a ballroom dancer . . . how in the world do you write a ballroom dancing series?
Ella: I have to admit that my hubby and I have only had about five lessons on the waltz and the quickstep, and let’s just say that no one’s calling us Fred and Ginger. That doesn’t keep me from appreciating ballroom dance and the challenges dancers face, however. Just like you don’t need to be a mall cop to write about one, I don’t need to be a ballroom dancer. I’ve spent many hours interviewing professional ballroom dancers, studio owners, students (both competitive and non-), judges, gown designers, and others to understand the ballroom dancing world and be able to recreate it in my books.
Laura: Good answer! I did the same thing when I decided to have a mall security officer, Emma-Joy “EJ” Ferris, as my protagonist. What a co-inky-dink.
Ella: Great minds think alike.
Laura: Tell us about the new book.
Ella: In The Homicide Hustle, my heroine, Stacy Graysin, finds out that the producers of the reality dance show “Ballroom with the B-Listers”—(No resemblance to another popular reality dance show. None. No, really.)—want her on the show. “Blisters,” as the show is fondly called, travels to a city and pits one studio against another, supplying them with “stars” to compete with. Stacy ends up dancing with a former teen heart-throb she had a crush on in high school, and that causes problems between her and her business partner and budding romantic interest, Tav Acosta.
More problems arise when one of the show’s producers, Tessa King, turns up dead in the Potomac. Stacy (and her cohorts at Graysin Motion—Maurice, Vitaly, and Hoover, the Great Dane) must simultaneously try to find a killer and win the “Blisters” trophy (and the prize money that goes with it so they can pay back taxes on the studio and keep it from going out of business).
Laura: Wow, sounds like a fun, funny, fast-paced mystery. Wish I’d written it.
Ella: You’re too busy with the Swift Investigations series and the mall cop books! What’s new with EJ and crowd in the new one?
Laura: Thanks for asking. In Malled to Death, EJ’s action star father is filming his new movie at Fernglen Galleria, EJ’s mall, hoping to convince her that she’s rather work for him than be a mall cop. She’s trying to make sure no one finds out they’re related, and decide whether she’s more attracted to aloof Detective Anders Helland or friendlier-but-mysterious cookie store owner Jay Callahan, when one of the movie crew is found stabbed to death in a mall bathroom. The police suspect an Army war veteran with traumatic brain injury who’s been hanging around the mall, and EJ sets out to find the real killer.
Ella: So, does she give up being a mall cop to be a movie producer with her dad? Sounds like more fun to me . . .
Laura: You’ll have to read it to find out.
Ella: I knew you’d say that.
Laura: Did not.
Ella: Did too.
And on that note, we’ll say shut up . . . I mean, goodbye to Laura and Ella who have promised to hang around and chat with commenters.