The Washington Independent Review of Books deemed Diamonds & Deception by bestselling author Ellen Butler to be one of eight novels to watch out for this fall – and they were right. It recently hit store shelves with a roar and is destined to be another bestseller for Butler. Not surprisingly since its release, it has been wowing readers with a mystery that keeps them wondering what will happen next, while also shedding light on some very dark real-world issues. She takes readers and her compelling protagonist Karina Cardinal deep into organized crime, gang violence, and human trafficking. We were thrilled when Butler agreed to sit down with us to give us the inside scoop on her newest book.
For all authors, inspiration comes in many forms. What was the inspiration for Diamonds & Deception?
When I started brainstorming the third Karina Cardinal mystery, I knew I wanted the plotline to have something to do with theft. After all my research about Gardner museum heist from Karina’s first adventure in Isabella’s Painting, I wanted to dig further into types of black-market items. Diamonds and other loose jewels can be easily pocketed. They can be fenced or used as currency on the black market. I also knew I wanted to bring Karina’s sister, Jillian, into the adventure and decided to use her as the catalyst for drawing Karina into the escapade. The diamond theft developed from those seeds.
When you did the final read-through for your book what was your favorite part and why?
Since Diamonds & Deception has a fairly action-heavy plotline, I occasionally like to throw in some humor to lighten things up. My favorite part is the acid trip scene in Karina’s hallway. It’s only a few pages long but still makes me laugh. The scene was inspired by my friend who is a Washington, D.C. paramedic, and has seen all kinds of on-the-job crazy. Honestly, the scene in this book is rather tame compared to some of his stories. Incorporating Karina’s loveable, but eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Thundermuffin, only sought to enhance its humor.
Diamonds & Deception took me about six months to write. That timeline includes inception, outline, research, and completed into my editor’s hot little hands. The biggest challenge I faced, was dealing with the darker side of the novel. Diamonds & Deception delves into organized crime, gangs, and human trafficking. Researching that part of the book was unsettling, and some of the true stories I found were much more disturbing than what I wrote in the book. In the afterword, I go further by sharing some of my research.
Chilling out and having some downtime is important to many writers so they can refuel. When you aren’t writing what are you doing?
When I’m not writing, I’m spending time with my family and friends. I have a special needs son and being a writer allows me the flexibility to write when I can, and still be the mom that can give him the attention he requires. As most writers, I am also an avid reader myself, so curling up with a good book on a rainy day is certainly a favorite way to spend an afternoon. I’m also addicted to a few television/streaming shows but my favorites are; The Man in the High Castle, Madame Secretary, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
I know you are just releasing Diamonds & Deception now, but I have to ask – are you working on another book?
This question made me laugh. In my head, I’m always working on another book. I’m already working on the next Karina Cardinal adventure. To add some spice and get her out of the summer heat, Karina’s next adventure will take her out of the country. Some of my reader’s favorite characters will return. Rodrigo, Karina’s intrepid coworker from Fatal Legislation, and her eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Thundermuffin will take on a larger role in the adventure. Both Mike and Silverthorne Security will also be pulled into the action.
For more information about Ellen Butler and her books check out her website.