Readers are always looking for new books and genres to read and check out. People love books because they allow them to enter a world of imagination and take a break from the hustle and bustle of their day-to-day life. Cozy mysteries is a popular genre that does just that.
What appeals to readers of the cozy mystery genre are the variety of themes and interesting plots that include little to no violence. These stories also create a sense of connection with the characters.
One of the authors of this cozy mystery genre is Ellie Alexander. She writes several series including Bakeshop Mysteries, The Sloan Krause Series, Pacific Northwest Mysteries, and Rose City Mysteries.
Her book series have colorful and creative artwork as well as catchy and humorous titles such as: “Chilled to the Cone,” “The Pint of No Return,” “Scene of The Crime,” and “Violet Tendencies.”
What do you think are the elements for writing a good cozy food mystery?
EA: The key elements for a cozy are setting and community. The murder takes place off the page, meaning there isn’t a lot of blood and guts. The focus is on piecing together the clues to find the killer versus a CSI style crime scene investigation. Cozies tend to take place in a small town or village, or a neighborhood within a big city and feature unlikely sleuths—like a baker versus a professional detective. I always strive to make the food feel like another character in my books. Food is such a love language and point of connection. Plus, it’s a great plot device to have potential suspects wander in for a coffee and pastry and start spilling their secrets.
Any tips and advice for people interested in writing or wanting to publish their own book?
EA: I think everyone should write! I hope you’re thinking of writing yourself. The most important thing any aspiring writer should do is read. Read everything you can get your hands on. Read a wide variety of genres, and then once you’ve done that read within the genre you want to write and start paying attention to similar themes, pacing, plot, etc. I also always recommend to start small. The idea of writing an entire book can be daunting. Start by journaling, writing a poem, a short story, or a blog. Starting smaller does two things; It helps build our writing muscle memory and develop our voice, and it gives us wins. What I mean by “wins” is that if you set out to write a book and fall short it can be a huge setback, but if you commit to writing a short story and you finish it, you show yourself that you can accomplish your goal. Then build on that until you’re ready to write a full length novel.
What inspired you to write your book series?
EA: I grew up reading my mom and grandmother’s cozy mysteries and fell in love with the genre when I was in high school. My dad was an English teacher and taught Shakespeare. Baking and food was always a centerpiece of our family life, gathering around the kitchen table to share meals and cooking together. So when I decided I wanted to write my own cozy mystery, I pulled on my experiences to create a fictional world around a family bakeshop. I live in Ashland and love getting to weave in real world details about the theater and artist community here as well as to share family recipes in the series.
Who comes up with the titles for your books along with the artwork covers?
EA: In terms of titles, I come up with three or four potential titles. Usually I have a working title when I’m starting a manuscript, but it doesn’t always end up being the final title. Sometimes my editor or other members of the publishing team and I will brainstorm titles together. For the covers, there is a design team that creates the artwork. I send in a brief synopsis about the book including the season, what’s baking in the kitchen, etc. along with some photos of Ashland for inspiration and the cover artists take it from there. It’s always so much fun to see what they come up with.
My thanks to Ellie Alexander for taking the time for this interview. You can contact and keep updated about her and her works through her website here:
You can also visit her social media accounts such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Ellie Alexander's book series are available at Barnes & noble, Amazon, ibooks/itunes, audible, Books-A-Million, indie bookstores, and others.
If you are looking for cozy mysteries or want a new series to read, check out the works by Ellie Alexander!
Thanks for this great interview and for introducing me to Ellie Alexander. I’m both interested in reading her and a bit hungry after the article. So cool CCBC got to interview a national author.