Elena Taylor is a former playwright and director, and the author of the Eddie Shoes mysteries under the name Elena Hartwell. All We Buried is the first book in the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery series.
“The things that matter most to me are primarily about the natural world,” Elena said. “I love animals and the beauty of our environment. Nature doesn’t have a moral compass. It has what survives and what doesn’t survive. I’m also fascinated by human behavior. The things that make us tick and why we do the things we do. My writing, especially in this book, is a lot about characters faced with challenges and how they overcome them, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. I like to think that people have more in common with each other than not.”
Elena also said that All We Buried is about exploring the human condition. “My protagonist, Elizabeth ‘Bet’ Rivers, has a vision for her future, that’s interrupted by life events. The book, in part, explores how she faces this disruption in her plans. I think we all have experienced major setbacks and unexpected pitfalls in our lives, so watching how another person faces, struggles with, and ultimately comes out on the other side of a big challenge with more self-knowledge, is something we can all relate to.”
While Elena was editing All We Buried, her life suddenly changed. “I had written this book about a daughter dealing with her father’s death, when my own father died. There have been numerous times in my writing life, when the real world has collided with a project I’m working on, but this was the most personal of those experiences. I like to think that while not every character will resonate with every reader, there are enough stories here that are universal for everyone to be represented. It’s a reminder that writers merely tap into the collective unconscious.”
Lakes, rumors, and sunken trains
“I used to live in a neighborhood called Newcastle, just south of Bellevue, Washington. There’s a lake there that I heard rumors had a train engine sitting on the bottom. I started to think about all the things that could be hidden in the depths of dark lakes. The Pacific Northwest is riddled with holes dug in the ground by miners digging for coal. Those two images, the train engine rusting on the bottom of a deep lake and the holes in the earth got me thinking about how we bury things, such as secrets . . . and dead bodies!”
Elena couldn’t exactly start checking all of the Washington lakes for sunken trains, but she has done her fair share of research. She loves interviewing people and said she likes to learn from experts about the minutiae of their vocations and avocations. Interviews, however, don’t measure up to some other experiences.
“I would probably say riding in a fire truck with a group of really good-looking fire fighters on the way to a call was my favorite bit of research. I even got to wear my own headset and was able to observe the complete event. The other event that comes to mind was a recent visit to the shooting range with Adventure Protection, a group in Western Washington, that teaches women gun safety and shooting skills. I learned more about guns, gun safety, and my own ability to hit a bulls-eye than I have gained in years of reading about weapons. Plus, they are now my go-to for random questions about guns.”
Learn more about Elena Taylor at elenataylorauthor.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway