Shannon here: Mary Ellis shares her inspiration for her latest Romantic Suspense, 100 Proof Murder. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy of Island of Last Resorts in trade paperback. Deadline: August 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Mary:
Authors are often asked, “Where did loop you get the idea for your new book series?” For me the answer is almost always: from travel. And the funny part is you never know when and where inspiration will hit.
Almost three years ago I was driving south on one of the major highways when hunger pangs grabbed my attention. Tired of fast food, my husband and I took the next exit in search of local cuisine. What we found was a bourbon distillery just outside of Lexington that served lunch on the patio.
After truly delicious sandwiches, I talked the manager into giving me a peek behind-the-scenes. Although their normal bourbon tours had been suspended for the season, my enthusiasm for the product won over the bartender/tour guide’s heart and she gave me a thorough step-by-step explanation of how they make their bourbon.
I even got to meet the Master Distiller and ask him a few questions, which is no small feat. And I was allowed to photograph areas normally off-limits to tourists. During the process, corn and rye are mixed with limestone well water, then malted (fermented) barley is added to begin new fermentation. The mash is distilled twice to create a smoother bourbon and aged in new oak barrels with annual taste-testing after the first two years. Once the master distiller decides it’s ready, the bourbon is filtered and bottled.
What’s my secret for getting insider info?
No secret—I was simply in the right place at the right time among distillers who love their craft.
That evening, while sipping my purchase in a hotel room, ideas for murder mysteries popped into my head. Who should be my central character to solve these heinous crimes? Where to find the body? Who wants to kill whom? And so the Bourbon Tour Murder series was born wherein a syndicated travel writer, who drinks nothing but wine from a box, becomes my reluctant sleuth.
I had fun taking these tours and writing these books. (Although absolutely no murders took place during my tours.)
In the first of the series, One for the Road, my travel writer, Jill Curtis, becomes a suspect after she lands in the middle of a century-old family feud between bourbon makers.
And in my current book, One Hundred Proof Murder, Jill hopes to land a job promotion, get better acquainted with her new detective boyfriend, and keep her relatives out of trouble. She’s not looking for a best friend, unless that friend’s father is a Louisville distiller. And she certainly doesn’t wish to involve herself in another murder, but you know how good intentions go.
So grab your beverage of choice and then pour yourself a shot of rivalry, romance and murder with One Hundred Proof Murder.
About Mary: Mary Ellis is a former schoolteacher turned USA Today bestselling author who’s written twenty-six novels including Amish fiction, historical romance, and suspense. Her first mystery, Midnight on the Mississippi, was a finalist for the RT Magazine’s Reviewer’s Choice Award and a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award. Her latest book is One for the Road from the Bourbon Tour Mysteries from Severn House. One Hundred Proof Murder released August 3, 2021. Her latest Amish novella is Missing at Amazon Kindle. She enjoys gardening and bicycling and lives in Ohio with her husband and dog. Learn more & connect:
About the book – Island of Last Resorts: Travel writer Jill Curtis is in Louisville, Kentucky, on the next stop of her bourbon tour assignment, and is keen to explore the major distilleries with her videographer, Michael Erickson – especially since her new beau, Lieutenant Nick Harris, lives in the city. But the night before Jill’s first tour at Parker’s Distillery, she is shocked to learn that the master distiller, William Scott, has died suddenly. The local coroner says he suffered a heart attack, but William’s daughter, Alexis suspects foul play. Is there more to William’s death than meets the eye? Jill is soon drawn into. a deadly blend of rivalry, jealously, and cold-blooded murder as she attempts to uncover the truth behind William’s unexpected demise.
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: What and where was the best tour you ever took on vacation?
Come back for Sara Davison on Aug 10th!