Thursday, June 4, 2020

Superstition Victim by Ellen Behrens


I’m delighted to today to welcome “new-to-me” author Ellen Behrens to Thoughts in Progress. She has a fascinating new book out and a series that is incredibly unique.

Before I tell you about her book, Superstition Victim, first lets welcome Ellen to the blog today, Welcome, Ellen. Oh, it seems she is busy at the moment talking with Betty. Maybe they won’t mind if we listen in for a few minutes.

“Betty and Me”

“What are you doing?”
At first I don’t hear her, my head in the shower, scrubbing soap scum off the lower rim.
“What are you doing?” She repeats her question.
It’s Betty Rollin, the main character from my Rollin RV Mystery series. I don’t have to look around to know I can’t see her, that her voice is coming from the deep recesses of my potent imagination. “I’m working,” I answer, but only in my head. Why talk out loud and convince my husband—once and for all—I’ve gone off the deep end?
“You’re cleaning the shower,” she says.
“That’s right,” I reply. “Just what I said. I’m working.”
My husband and I, RVers who live and travel 24/7 in a 30-foot Class C motorhome, don’t escape the mean pleasures of regular chores. Cleaning the shower is one of them. But I don’t have to tell Betty that. She and her fictional husband Walt, who’s a lot like my own hubby, live a similar lifestyle.
“You’re not working,” she says. “Writing is working. And you’re not writing.”
“I’m thinking.”
“That’s what all writers say when they’re not writing. ‘I’m thinking.’ As if it’s some sort of magical mantra. But we characters all know it’s just an excuse for admitting you’re not in the mood to write.” I imagined if Betty were truly standing next to me—if we were in an alternate universe making that possible—she’d have one hand on her hip, a frown on her face, but crinkles near her eyes, revealing that she was teasing.
But she was also right.
“I’ve been offered a guest post on a blog for a reviewer,” I told her—silently. My husband was working on his own laptop a few feet away, but with my head still in the shower, my hand still scrubbing away, I knew he wouldn’t hear me anyway.
“Well,” Betty allowed, “that sort of qualifies.”
“Mason Canyon suggested I write about our experiences RVing and tell her readers about my books.”
“You mean our books, don’t you?”
I chuckled. And nodded. She was right again. In her world, her husband Walt is usually right. In my world, Betty’s the one who’s usually right.
“So what are you going to tell everybody? Are you going to confess I’m a braver, more sociable version of you? That what happens to us never happens to you and your real-life hubby? That you prefer the quiet life while Walt and I do all the dirty work of catching the bad guys?”
“I might.” I stood up to wipe around the shower head. “She also asked about why I decided to use RVing in our books.”
“Even I know that one,” she said. “You’re writing—sort of—about what you know. It’s been... what... ten years since you traded your house keys for the RV keys?”
I counted backwards. “We’re actually in our twelfth year of full-timing.”
“And from the start you knew you wanted to write these books about me and Walt?”
“Not really.” I ignored how disappointed she was to hear this. “I started out thinking I’d write travel articles, but I got selfish. I didn’t want to advertise all our favorite places, didn’t want them to end up being popular and crowded, and not the quiet, out-of-the way spots we loved. So first I wrote a collection of short stories, Road Tales: Short Stories About Full-Time RVing.”
“Oh, that’s the one you revised and added a story about Walt and me for the second edition,” she said, grinning again.
I nodded. “But I couldn’t shake my novelist tendencies.”
“It had been awhile since your first novel.”
“Yep. Published back in 1996. Got great reviews from all kinds of places—”
“—Like The New York Times Book Review—”
“—and I had played with the idea of a cozy mystery series about full-time RVers since those early days on the road,” I said, ignoring her interruption. “So many ideas were coming at me that it took me awhile to figure out the first story for the Rollin RV Mystery series.”
Pea Body,” Betty said. “Walt and I are in the Outer Banks of North Carolina for that one.”
“We were there we went out to Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge to do some birdwatching on my birthday, just like you and Walt.”
“And you found a body, too?!?”
I shook my head. “Nope. But I found a plot.”
“If you ask me, the cover doesn’t fit a cozy mystery,” she said.
“That’s because it’s not a true cozy. I call it ‘quasi-cozy’ because it walks the line between realistic and whimsical. I don’t do whimsical very well.”
“Except for this interview.”
“It’s not an interview. I’m cleaning the shower.”
“What about Yuma Baby?” she asked.
“That one actually starts with the first idea I had for the Rollin mysteries. We were really driving someplace—”
“Hard to know precisely where, with all the driving you and Bob do,” she said.
“—and I saw a little girl in a backseat and someone in the front reached behind to smack her.”
“Did you chase them down like Walt and I did?”
“No. None of that passing each other, back and forth. No stop at a rest area. The real people in their car got lost in traffic and that was that.”
“Except your brain kept going, and that gave Walt and I something to do in Yuma. What about the newest book, Superstition Victim?”
“The plot of Yuma Baby had drifted a little from the RV lifestyle I want central to this series, so I gave some thought to integrating more of that into this one.”
“Boy, did it. But it was fun hiking the Superstition Mountains near Apache Junction, Arizona.”
“Probably the only fun part of it for you,” I said, pulling the shower head off its holder and aiming it at the back wall of the enclosure. “But you did get to meet some interesting other characters in that adventure,” I added, turning on the water to rinse the stall.
“That’s the truth. So, what’s next? Where are we headed from here?” Betty asked, the look in her eye telling me even RVing characters can get the “hitch itch,” feel that need to hit the road, see new sights, meet new people.
“Well, the one thing I can tell you for certain is you won’t be in Arizona again for awhile.”
“And we won’t be around anymore dead bodies?” She shivered. “After three books they still give me the willies.”
I pressed my lips together. As much as I wanted to promise her everything would be okay, that’s not what a good mystery is all about. Instead, I turned off the water, sat the shower head back in its holder, and closed the stall door, ready to fire up my laptop.
“If you don’t let me get to work,” I said, “neither of us will ever know.”

***
Author Ellen Behrens

This was a lot of fun to write. Many thanks to Mason Canyon for her kind offer to guest post. If you’d like to find out more about the Rollin RV Mysteries, please visit http://ellenbooks.com. You can follow my real on-the-road adventures at http://bobandellen.wordpress.com. And I love hearing from readers and other writers, so feel free to send a note via ellenbehr@aol.com.
My books can be found in print from Lulu.com or from any of these e-book distributors:

Here’s a bit more background on Ellen.

The daughter of artists, Ellen Behrens was raised in Clyde, Ohio, the setting for Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio," which might explain why stories captured her at such a young age. After several years of doing other things -- from selling souvenirs to cleaning apartments -- and completing a bachelor's degree at Denison University in Ohio, she returned to campus at Bowling Green State University where she earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing.

She’s the author of three novels ("Yuma Baby," "Pea Body" and "None But the Dead and Dying"), a short story collection ("Road Tales: Short Stories About Full-Time RVing"), and a nonfiction book. Her short works have appeared in numerous periodicals and a few anthologies, and her nonfiction articles have also been widely published.

A former fiction editor for Mid-American Review, an internationally recognized literary magazine, she’s led numerous workshops, presented at conferences and readings of her fiction across the country.

Ellen is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in American Women, and Who's Who in Education. In 1993 she was awarded an Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Grant.

Now I’ll tell you more about Ellen latest release, Superstition Victim.

* File Size: 456 KB
* Print Length: 230 pages
* Publisher: Lulu.com
* Publication Date: December 26, 2019
* Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
* Language: English
* ASIN: B083YQXFL1

          A rustic campground in the shadows of Arizona's Superstition Mountains is anything but peaceful for Walt and Betty Rollin, full-time RVers hoping for tranquil hiking and a good deal on a new RV. What they find instead are secrets buried deeper than the Lost Dutchman's legendary treasure... secrets so valuable someone is willing to kill to keep them. Local law enforcement seems unable to help, leaving Walt and Betty to do all they can--no matter what it takes.
          This is the third installment in the Rollin RV Mystery series which RVers and non-RVers alike have called "page-turning," "engrossing," and their favorite way to stay up past bedtime.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you ever or are you living the dream of traveling the countryside in an RV?

4 comments:

  1. That was a heap of fun to read too Ellen. Thank you.
    We all need smiles, and at the moment that is truer than ever.

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  2. This is a really clever way to introduce an author, a protagonist, and a story. Thanks for sharing, Mason.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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