Friday, 28 March 2014

Welcome romance author, Ellen Butler...

 Thrilled to welcome Ellen Butler to my blog today! Ellen is a fellow author of mine at the Blue Ridge Literary Agency and I am so looking forward to learning more about her latest release, POPLAR PLACE. Let's get started with the questions!

Thanks for having me on your blog today Rachel. I’m a fan of your books and it’s an honor to be able to connect with your readers and tell them about Poplar Place. On to the interview questions…

1.    What do you wish men understood about women?
I wish men understood that, yes, we do need every one of those pairs of shoes. Including the half dozen black pairs that all look the same, but really they’re not the same. After all, look at the heel heights! They’re different…well except for those two – but one pair is for rainy days. Am I right?

2.    Do you only work on one book at a time?
No. Right now I have two in the works. Generally, I’ll focus on one in a given day. Some days I’ll wake up inspired to work on a particular one so that’s the manuscript that gets my attention.

3.    Who is your favorite fictional couple?
I’ve always been fond of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen did a wonderful job displaying the societal norms that harnessed the angst ridden couple.

4.    Favorite TV show?
Hmm…that’s a bit of a toss-up. Favorite TV show ever had to be Friends. When I watch re-runs that show still has the ability to crack me up. Current favorite television show airing now, I would have to say is The Good Wife. I wish I could emulate the calm, unflappable, self-assurance that Alicia Florrick displays.

5.    Do you set daily writing goals? Word count? Number of chapters? Do you get a chance to write every day?
No, no, no, and no. I’m not that organized. I have school age children and when they are in school, I write like crazy. When they are out, they tend to distract me. Over the winter we had a dozen snow days in which school was cancelled. It drove me nuts because I wasn’t getting as much done as I would have liked. It’s the reason why, I generally write my books during the months the kids are in school. That’s my goal – get the book written from September through May. This included fitting in edits on works in the publication loop. 

6.    Who was the last person you hugged?
My oldest son.

7.    What are you working on now?
The second book in a trilogy titled, Planning for Love, and a WWII novel, tentatively titled, Nazis, Spies & American GIs.

Thanks for having me Rachel! I hope your followers “across the pond” enjoyed it.

One last thing…
Book Groups – Visit my website, to find book club questions on Poplar Place. I’m available to be a guest author for book clubs as well. Fill out the contact form on the website for more information.

Title – Poplar Place
Genre – Women’s Fiction, with romance & suspense
Publisher – Turquoise Morning Press
Release Date – March 27
ISBN # 978-1-62237-274-4

Newly minted librarian, Cara Baker, effectively cuts ties with her tumultuous life in Pittsburgh, and moves to South Carolina where she embraces the peaceful, laid-back style of small town living. Everything seems to be falling into place when Cara finds the perfect house to round out her new plans. Well… perfect except for the immovable hermit living on the top floor. She throws caution to the wind, and buys the fabulous house—hermit and all—without meeting him. By wooing her reclusive renter with notes and mouthwatering meals, he caves and invites her up to the apartment. Preconceived notions are blown out of the water, when she finds Danny isn’t the nerdy Mr. Mole she envisioned.
Unfortunately, FBI phone calls from her past bring Cara’s summer idle to an abrupt halt. Will demons from a former life destroy Cara’s tranquility?


“What do you know about the tenant?”
“His name is…”
At that, Jackie came out of her speechlessness with a vengeance. “His name! The tenant is male?”
“Well, yes, but he’s harmless. As a matter of fact, he’s a recluse. You probably wouldn’t even notice him. You see, he’s some sort of computer programmer and rarely leaves the house. His groceries are delivered once a week.” Anne gave a reassuring smile.
“Great. Some creepy computer nerd that plays games all day lives on the third floor,” Jackie said derisively.
I looked at Anne. “Is he agoraphobic?”
Jackie looked confused. “Agora-what?
“Agoraphobic. Does he have a phobia of going outside his home?”
Anne took a moment to respond. “I don’t really know. I do know that twice a week his psychiatrist comes to the house to see him.”
“Who’s his shrink?” Jackie asked.
“Dr. Nolan from downtown on Bradford Street.”
Silence descended as we chewed on this information. I looked at the small wrought iron balcony jutting out from the third floor.
“What’s his name?”
“Dr. Jeffrey Nolan,” responded Anne.
“No, the tenant’s.”
“Oh, let me see. It’s right here in my file.” Anne searched through her files. “Yes, this is it. Daniel Johnson.”
“I can’t see the apartment at all?”
“I have photos that were taken by Mr. Stein before the tenant moved in. You can at least see what the finished space looks like. It has a small kitchen, two bedrooms, a den, a bath and a half and a large living room. All the utilities for the attic are billed directly to the tenant, except for sewer and water.”
“How much does he pay in rent?”
Referring back to her notes, Anne named a price that temporarily stunned me. The rent he paid would completely cover my monthly mortgage.
“There’s also an automatic three percent increase in rent every three years.”
“Is he ever late?” Jackie jumped back into the conversation.
“No. Never. From what I understand from Max, he pays punctually on the first of the month.”
I mulled over this new piece of information. “When can I meet Mr. Johnson?”
“Well, that’s the rub. He doesn’t see anyone besides his psychiatrist. I understand Mr. Stein met him when he moved in, but Max seems to think he keeps to himself and he’s not sure his father ever saw much of him.”
“Can I speak to Mr. Johnson on the phone?”
Anne brightened for a moment. “I have his e-mail address. I’m sure I could give you that.”
Jackie snorted but I pressed on, “Can I talk to his psychiatrist?”
“Cara!” exclaimed Jackie. “You can’t actually be thinking about buyin’ this house with this ridiculous condition.”
“Yes, as a matter of fact, I am thinking very seriously about buying this house. Obviously, Mr. Stein, a well-known local lawyer, thought enough of Mr. Johnson to give him a ten-year lease. Clearly, the third floor is a full working apartment, quite separate from the rest of the house. Most importantly, the rent from the apartment would provide me a second income.”


Ellen is running a $25 Amazon gift Card giveaway - enter here!!


Ellen Butler lives in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC, and she considers herself an old-new writer. In other words, she’s old to writing, new to novel writing. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing and editing for dry but illuminating professional newsletters, and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen’s over active and romantic imagination to run wild.
You can find Ellen’s debut release, Second Chance Christmas, at Amazon. Professionally, she belongs to the Virginia Writer’s Club, the Northern Virginia Writer’s Club, and is a founding member of the Tempting Romance blog. When she’s not writing, Ellen is either, running around after her children, decorating a neighbor’s house, or holed up in her favorite lounge chair reading. Ellen is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Book club questions for Ellen’s novels can be found on her website.


  1. Mystery man in the attic? Sounds like a fun read. And speaking as an agoraphopic myself, I will say we aren't a bad lot at all. In my case I'll just say the outside world isn't nearly as nice as it was 25 years ago...
    Thanks for the intriguing excerpt, I look forward to finding out more.

    ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

  2. Thanks for stopping by Elise-Maria. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. I love the idea of Mr. Mole in the attic, looking forward to reading this.

  4. Great interview, ladies, and an intriguing excerpt, Ellen. Can't wait to read. I must say, I'm impressed. Anyone who can work on more than one WIP at a time is a superhero in my book!

  5. Ha! Dixie I've read your books, I know you've got to be multi-tasking too. :-) thanks for stopping by.