Thursday, December 13, 2018

Ellie Alexander

Ellie Alexander (also known as Kate Dyer-Seeley) is a Pacific Northwest native. Her love for the Pacific Northwest runs deep. Hence why all of her books (whether she’s writing as Ellie or Kate) are set there. From the Shakespearean hamlet of Ashland, Oregon to the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, Washington to the hipster mecca of Portland, Oregon and a variety of other stunning outdoor locales, the Pacific Northwest is a backdrop for every book and almost becomes another character in each series.

Alexander's new novel, The Pint of No Return, is her second Sloan Krause mystery.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
It’s officially “reading season” in my house. Wait, who am I kidding? It’s always reading season in my house. I’ll rephrase that. It’s perhaps my favorite reading season. There’s nothing better than lighting a fire and curling up on the couch with a warm drink and a new read. Winter’s blowing winds, torrential rains, and dumping snow call for lazy days lingering over a great book.

Because I write multiple mystery series, I try to avoid reading the genre when I’m working on a manuscript. I read anything and everything I can get my hands on, but here are a few of my favorite recent reads.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I read this book in a day and then I quickly regretted devouring it. Now, I’m going to have to go back and read it again. Maybe with a glass of wine to remind myself to sip it slowly. The book follows Eleanor Oliphant on her daily routine working at dead-end job where her co-workers ridicule her awkward social interactions and inability to recognize that most of the time the joke’s on her. This is a book that must be read until the end. At the beginning of the book I found myself wondering if Eleanor had a social anxiety disorder or was on the autism spectrum, but as her story evolves we learn that her emotional struggles stem from something much deeper. Eleanor’s journey is heartbreakingly sad, and equally uplifting.

The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck. I read a lot of historical fiction. As in a lot. I’m drawn to historicals because I think they teach us so much about today. The mistakes we keep making and repeating. The progress forward, and the long, slow slides backward. The Women in the Castle is the perfect example of why I think every reading list should include historical fiction. The book is set in Germany at the end of World War II. We follow the struggles of three women trying to survive, to rebuild their lives, and to make sense of what has happened to their homeland. I found myself stopping often while I was reading this book, because I was struck at the many parallels with our current political culture. A thought-provoking and timely read.

How To Stop Time by Matt Haig. Part sci-fi, part historical, part romance. I loved everything about this book. Admittedly I’m a sucker for anything involving time travel, so the fact that the main character, Tom Hazard, has been alive for centuries had me hooked from the first line. If you read The Time Traveler’s Wife, this is the book for you. Tom may have seen Shakespeare on stage and watched the witch trails in person, but he teaches us that the stretch of time can be long and lonely. The gift of this read is the message that in our quest for the extraordinary we can often lose touch with the fact that the magic is most often in the ordinary.
Visit Ellie Alexander's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Pint of No Return.

--Marshal Zeringue