Ellen Byron is an award-winning author and playwright. A former TV writer, she’s written for comedies including Wings, Just Shoot Me, and Fairly Odd Parents. Murder in the Bayou Boneyard is her sixth Cajun Country Mystery.
It all started with Halloween
Ellen said she believes readers will enjoy reading about some of the 19th century superstitions about death. “Some appear to have been universal at the time, others more specific to Louisiana. It occurred to me that I had yet to write a Cajun Country Mystery that revolves around Halloween. Since Louisiana proudly bills itself as the most haunted state in America, I thought it would be fun to write a book that incorporated some of their legends and customs.
“There’s no ghost, but there is a rougarou that may or may not be real. A rougarou is the Cajun version of a werewolf. It’s not a paranormal book but reading about rougarous and looking at the photos when I was doing research gave me nightmares! But don’t worry, readers. I kept it tame in the book. The same thing won’t happen to you!”
“I’ve been guilty of staying in AirBnBs myself, but they can do serious damage not just to the hotel industry in a city but the housing stock as well. In Murder In The Bayou Boneyard, an app called Rent My Digs is buying up properties in the small town of Pelican, Louisiana and turning them into short-term rentals. This threatens the livelihood of the local hostelries, like the one my protagonist and her family run, Crozat Plantation B&B. But it also makes it difficult for local families to find affordable housing.”
Looking back to holidays past
“In A Cajun Christmas Killing, my third Cajun Country Mystery, I wanted a story to revolve around the unique Louisiana tradition of lighting bonfires on the Mississippi levee on Christmas Eve, so I dragged my husband and daughter to Louisiana for Christmas in 2015. The weather was so bad on the Christmas Eve that I was afraid the event would be postponed until New Year’s Eve when we’d no longer be in town, rendering the whole trip pointless. In a holiday miracle, the celebration went on despite a light rain. At 7 p.m. on the dot, bonfires up and down the river burst into flames. Fireworks exploded in the sky above them. I ran from one bonfire to another like a kid, getting drenched from the rain. The smoke haze became so thick I couldn’t see the person next to me. I became covered with a thick coating of ash.”
Ellen said she shared every aspect of this adventure with her protagonist Maggie Crozat. “It was one of the most exciting events of both our lives – although mine didn’t involve being chased by a murder suspect! I’m so glad my family humored me and gave up Christmas at home that year.”
Learn more about Ellen Byron at ellenbyron.com.a Rafflecopter giveaway