Beth McElla is a cozy mystery writer and her books can be found on most retail outlets. She also writes under the name of Juliet Chase. Her books can be found as Ebooks, print and large print.
Where is your favorite vacation spot? Beach, Resort or Poolside?
Beach, definitely! Preferably a rocky one or with buried treasure. I’m a northern girl at heart having lived the majority of my life within a few hours of the Canadian border where you don’t get too many sunbathing beaches. So I much prefer to look around in tidepools or hunt sea glass.
Everyone takes a tote back with them when they head out for a day at the beach, what is in yours?
Lunch! Also my camera, and more bags for sea glass, shells, and possibly picking up plastic trash.
What makes your books perfect for a beach read? The setting, the story or the characters?
They’re set on an island so 360 degrees of beach, along with all the quirky characters that come with a small town where people don’t move around a lot. Just enough hints of romance to keep things interesting without really going there (yet), and a storyline that offers more than just ‘who did it?’
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting?
There is no one right way or single path to success. Explore different styles and techniques and pay attention to what comes most easily. We tend to think that hard is better and struggle means it’s real but the opposite is true. If you’re trying to write in first person and it’s not going so well, try third. Or vice versa. There’s a lot of advice out there that says successful authors outline their books. I can outline, really thoroughly too! And the resulting story is a bit wooden and not very fun to write. My best work is done by visualizing a scene then writing it down. That’s me. I got there through trial and error, trying different things, and paying attention. If you have fun writing it, I guarantee it will show.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
If I tell anyone about the plot before it’s written, I can’t ever seem to write it down. It’s like I’ve already told the story and my brain won’t let me have a do-over. So I’ve learned to not say anything until it’s done!
Where do you get your inspiration?
I’ve led an eclectic life and it offers up useful tidbits daily. When I started this series, I really wanted to set it in an English village, a la Midsommer Murders or Agatha Raisin. But I’ve been to England exactly once (20 years ago) and it just didn’t feel right. So I thought back to my early career in museums working with all the period rooms that wealthy Americans bought in the 1920s and 30s from English estates and expanded that idea into an entire island of transposed architecture. It’s absolutely something that could have happened, that I understand the hows and whys of, and it’s really fun. Maybe more fun than a pure English village because that’s unlikely to have a post office in a medieval French dovecote and a real-estate firm in a windmill.
Can you give us some insight into what makes you main character tick?
Amelia is intelligent, has never been conventionally pretty, and is a tiny bit (okay, a lot) bossy. She thinks she wants to relax but really, she wants some close friends that love her for who she is and to organize the world into some semblance of logical order. She’s making progress on the first but struggling with the latter!
Do you have a library membership?
I have two! I’m lucky enough to live in a county with a share agreement with a major US city library so I have the benefits of both. I mostly use them for ebooks so I don’t have to remember to return them…
Follow Beth on Facebook! And watch for her next book, Over Exposed.