In her new book Diamonds & Deception bestselling author, Ellen Butler not only weaves another absolutely delicious must-read mystery, she also takes readers into a dark world where they come face to face with issues that could be ripped from today’s headlines, including human trafficking, and gang violence. Diamonds & Deception is the third novel in her wildly popular Karina Cardinal mystery series, and no doubt readers will be looking for a sequel when they finish the last page. Ellen was gracious enough to sit down with us to answer a few questions about her book, her life and what comes next.

Diamonds & Deception has a lot of facets, and don’t worry I won’t be giving out any spoilers, but I have to ask what made you decide to write this book?

As I writer, I can’t exactly say writing any of my books is a conscious decision, inasmuch as a way to get the story out of my head. Stories will continue to bang around in my noggin until I put them on paper. Once they go to print, I’m done with them and am onto the next story rattling around in there. When I conceived the Karina Cardinal series, I had a definitive idea for the first book, Isabella’s Painting. However, I knew Karina would be having many adventures in and around the Washington, D.C. area and getting wrapped up in a diamond theft was just one of many mysteries I decided Karina needed to solve.

While writing this book did you learn anything new about yourself?

Actually, writing this series has taught me that I can, and must, be a plotter as opposed to a panster, (a.k.a. someone who writes by the seat of their pants). My first novels were romances and written much more organically. However, after writing Isabella’s Painting, in the same manner I usually wrote my romances, I found there were too many plot holes and inconsistencies during the rough draft phase. The book took longer to write than it should have. Starting with Fatal Legislation, I began outlining Karina’s adventures which has made for a much easier rough draft phase with fewer discrepancies.

When readers finish the last page, what are you hoping that they will take away from your book?

First, I write to entertain. I hope that the reader will have enjoyed Karina’s exploits and taken them out of their own lives and daily struggles for a few hours. Second, I hope the reader realizes the amount of research that’s been put into the book, and perhaps a plotline or the afterword might spur them into doing some of their own research into a particular aspect of the novel. 

How old were you when you decided that you wanted to be a writer, and why?

According to my parents, I’ve always been a writer. However, the conscious decision to write a book happened in 2012. My first novel, a suspenseful women’s fiction, Poplar Place, was published in 2014. Diamonds & Deception will be my ninth published novel. I enjoy creating characters, taking my readers on exciting adventures through the eyes of my heroines, and I even enjoy the process of working with an editor to improve what I’ve written. However, my favorite part of novel writing would have to be the research. I’m a bit of a junky and can find myself down a three-hour rabbit hole of Google searches before I know it. I’ve learned to set alarms for myself, so I don’t forget to pick my son up from school!

I’m going to mix things up a bit – superheroes are big in the movies these days. If you could have any superpower what would it be and why?

I would like to fly. If you’ve read any of my Karina Cardinal mysteries, you may have realized one underlying theme throughout all the novels. Traffic. Traffic in the Washington, D.C. metro area has been ranked among the worst in the nation. A particular corridor, which I have to travel, has been ranked #1 for years now. I could save myself hours of time and get so much more accomplished if I could just fly to my destination. Perhaps I could outfit my back yard with a nice landing pad. 

To find out more about Ellen Butler and her books check out her website.