More about the author & her latest books
I am excited today to be talking to author Julie Eberhart Painter.
Welcome Julie, it is great to have you here. Let’s get started.
Julie: Thank you for having me.
As you know, I recently read your book Mortal Coil for BookWenches and really enjoyed it. Could you share with us how you came up with the idea for the book?
Julie: I’ve been involved with nursing homes and hospice since 1972. My 105-year old grandmother was a resident in a nursing home in Philadelphia. A year after she died, the cook, who actually traveled up the open elevator with her from the dining room now and then, was indicted and convicted of murdering some of the unconscious residents and stealing their money and jewelry. It was a long investigation. I could visualize how a romance between a young, widowed administrator and the cop who solves the crime could develop.
Julie: Some are from my imagination; most are combinations of people I have known. The circumstances are altered. One plays god with characters in fiction.
Julie: I agree with you that it’s the hardest. The mystery in this case comes under the heading of a cozy mystery. It’s contained in one area and the blood and gore are not seen. Cozies are not as convoluted as Tom Clancy or John Grisham novels.
In Mortal Coil you have written a book where part of it takes place in a nursing home, and I know from reading your bio on your website that you have extensive background in working in this environment. Is there anything in particular that made you want to put this in the book?
Julie: The familiar setting, the physical property, a map if you like, and the diverse characters including the evil owners, the dysfunctional “cruise director on the ship of life”, the activity director, and the compassionate and motherly social worker all make a balance. They just begged to be written up. The writer in me set to work to use the Philadelphia murders as a premise for my mystery romance. But I set the story in Atlanta where I had lived and worked as a Community Ombudsman for Long-term Care Facilities overseeing suspected abuse and fraud. Even building code infractions came under my watch. I interviewed the residents and took their complaints first to the administrator and if not acted upon I reported them to our main office. It was very rewarding work.
Julie: The immortality. No seriously it is the immortality. Someone will know who you are and share your values. Also, it’s entertainment. There are many amusing scenes in this book that only a writer with my specific experience would think of.
If you could give an aspiring author any advice about getting published, what would it be?
Julie: Most important, Don’t stop writing, and of course don’t stop reading. Read not just for knowledge and pleasure, but read for research as to how authors take their readers and insert them into the story. You know as a reader that you love books that absorb you. When you look up from the page you have to remember where you really are. John Jakes said, “Make them laugh; make them cry; make them wait, but most of all make them wait.” Therein lies the suspense.
To date, what is the highlight of your writing career?
Julie: I have two highlights. I love having Mortal Coil with Champagne. They do right by their authors. And to satisfy that old hunger to volunteer, I write a travel column for a senior tabloid. These are not the usual how-to articles. There are no commercial references to airlines, hotels or restaurants. Each column is written to make the locale entertaining and drop a little special knowledge for the reader. The travel stories are filled with anecdotes, humor and ironies that only come from having been there. My fictional background and my experience with older people have melded into these columns.
Do you have any books in the works that you would like to tell us about?
Julie: Always. Champagne is considering one now, Tangled Web, that is a mainstream romance, set in the 30s and based on the life of my Welsh-born birth mother as I would have hoped she lived it. The beginning came from the non-identifying information I was able to unearth through the Orphans Court in Pennsylvania. It begins with a coal mine explosion in Wilkes-Barre. Probably the most revealing sentences near the beginning describe her Welsh community there during the depression.
The cohesive Welsh community was a haven of Protestant values and mutual support. It was also a hornet’s nest of gossip. Neither a canary’s death nor a girl’s fall from grace escaped the community chatter.
Good girls avoided the attention of the grandmothers’ grapevine by behaving—in public—as ladies were expected to behave with good manners and self-control. In private, emotions roiled, passions were explored, appetites satiated, and the end results “talked about.”
Please let your fans know how they can find you on the internet.
Julie: For once thing, I seem to have a Google presence, but my website, www.books-jepainter.com will guide readers to my email address and take them directly to Champagne Books. My website is updated monthly.
Thank you very much for a such an insightful interview. After doing this interview, you definitely validated what I have always heard about writing; write what you know. Good luck on your future endeavors, I will be excited to see your next book.
Title: Mortal Coil
Widowed single mother Ellen Lange is caught in the middle of a police investigation after two of her elderly residents are murdered. She never figured being the administrator of the Kingsley nursing home would include fending off questions about a serial killer from one very attractive detective. Between parenting her 10-year-old daughter and still reeling from the death of her beloved husband, Ellen finds herself shying away from the attraction she feels for the detective.
In this story, the interaction among the characters is wonderfully written, giving the reader a dose of witty humor and edge-of-your-seat suspense. I even teared up at one point and had to grab the tissues. This books intrigues the reader on so many levels. It will appeal to many people, as it weaves so many different genres into one story. I enjoyed Ellen’s strength of character and her commitment to her daughter. It spoke to me as a parent, and added to the realistic feel of this story. The author has wrapped a sweet romance, fraught with the typical problems of relationships, inside a suspense that seems straight out of true crime. It meshes together for an exceptional story. I found myself unable to put it down and at no point did I suspect what the mystery might be, Ms. Painter does a fabulous job of keeping the reader guessing right up to the end. If you are in the mood for a story that will play on your emotions, and keep you in suspense at the same time, this is a book for you.
Reviews for Mortal Coil:
When two residents in Ellen Lange’s nursing home are murdered, Special Investigator Bill Watts is called to the scene. With the murders linked to others, known as the Ponytail crimes, it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again.
From the Desk of
Julie Eberhart Painter is a talented writer whose voice needs to be heard. She is an accomplished storyteller, but her novels are always more than mere stories. Mortal Coil is no exception; here Julie weaves an intricate tale of vengeful murder, corporate greed, and family troubles. I highly recommend Mortal Coil---and all of Julie's books.
---Marcia Ford, author of 22 books, including We the Purple: Faith, Politics and the Independent Voter.
Julie Painter is a fine writer who always delivers a whopping good tale, and Mortal Coil is no exception, rife with intrigue, get-down-and-happy relationship stuff,and important issues at the bottom. You can't go wrong spending a weekend with Mortal Coil.
Shelley Fraser Mickle, author of The Assigned Visit and Barbaro, America's Horse. "
“Julie Eberhart Painter uses a nursing home setting as the backdrop for Mortal Coil, a suspense novel involving murder, romance, and child custody issues. The every day concerns of patients and staff, especially the nursing home administrator, are explored. The author weaves practical, philosophical, and spiritual ideas into the book, a must-read for anyone interested in relationships, family life challenges, or aging.”
Lois Gerber, RN, MPH, community health nurse and recent contributor to Advance for Nurses, Nursing2008 and Nursing2009.
“A compelling murder mystery set in what should be the most secure of environments, but author Julie Eberhart Painter lets the reader know that while there may be no absolutely safe haven, there’s always a place, hope and chance for romance. But just when you think the adventure is all over, Julie introduces a new twist to rock her characters and their town even more. You’ve got to read this one!”
Author of Gunshot Echoes and The Lion Killer
KILL FEE to be released October 1, 2011 from champagnebooks.com
If you’ve ever heard the expression, “simple murder,” don’t believe it; especially if the murder occurs at the keyboard of Julie Eberhart Painter. She deliciously complicates murder, make that murders in duplicate, with the interaction of numerous characters to sort through. There’s the seniors social group; the scientific organization; various writers and publishers; personal families including the heroine’s own shirttail relatives and her lover and his mother; neighbors; the lawyers and of course, the cops of questionable integrity. Julie cleverly works all these diverse characters against and in concert with one another, and tosses in just enough carnal spice to cook up a recipe of intrigue that will have you asking for a second helping of Julie’s concoction that’s tasty enough to kill for.
Reviewed by Jim Woods, author of
Cabbages and Kings,
She Serpent and
The Diamond Exchange
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