Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Interview With J.T. Ellison

I discovered J.T. Ellison when I was browsing for a new book in Kroger last year and saw JUDAS KISS on the stand. The cover instantly drew me, and when I learned it was set in Nashville, I was sold. I soon learned J.T. has mastered the art of edge-of-your-seat, spine-tingling suspense, intelligent, gritty writing, and characters you desperately hope don't get killed.

I later had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with J.T., and she is lovely, gracious, and FUN. So much fun, I decided I had to have her on the blog. I was thrilled when she agreed to make an appearance to mark the release of her latest book, SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH. Which I will be reading. Most likely all night. Because I will NEED to know what happens! Want proof? Here's a look at SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH:

It's a hideous echo of a violent past. Across America, murders are being committed with all the twisted hallmarks of the Boston Strangler, the Zodiac Killer and Son of Sam. The media frenzy explodes and Nashville homicide lieutenant Taylor Jackson knows instantly that The Pretender is back...and he's got helpers.

As The Pretender's disciples perpetrate their sick homages – stretching police and FBI dangerously thin – Taylor tries desperately to prepare for their inevitable showdown. And she must do it alone. To be close to her is to be in mortal danger, and she won't risk losing anyone she loves. But the isolation, the self-doubt and the rising body count are taking their toll: she's tripwire-tense and ready to snap.

The brilliant psychopath who both adores and despises her is drawing close. Close enough to touch....
I know, right? It's going to be a heart-stopping thrill ride from page one. And you could win your very own copy! More details on that in a little bit. But first, let me introduce today's guests.

Captain Jack Sparrow

J.T. Ellison

Now that you know who's who, let's reveal the amazing cupcake my hubby made for J.T. and get to the interview. When I asked J.T. about cupcake ideas, she told me "the big stuff goes down in Belle Meade Mansion," a location us Nashvillians are familiar with. I tossed my hubby the challenge of creating a mansion with a cupcake, and he more than rose to the occasion. Without further ado, I give you the Belle Meade Mansion cupcake, and J.T.'s interview with Captain Jack.

1. Would you classify yourself as a pirate or a member of Her Majesty’s Royal navy? Why?

Pirate at heart, definitely, though many would assume otherwise. It’s the showering, don’t’cha know. Dreadlocks just don’t look good on me. And when no one’s looking, I like to admire myself in my cutlass. But on the outside, prim and proper, full to the brim with proper etiquette and gentle smiles.

2. *admires self in cutlass* My apologies. Were you saying something? I got distracted by the shiny. What’s your favorite thing to do in Tortuga?

See, there was this one time, in Tortuga, where we drank all the rum punch we could hold and might have made off with some guy’s yacht. Wait, that wasn’t Tortuga. That was freshman year of college. Crap. No wonder I did so poorly.

3. As much as I admire the drinking of the rum punch and the absconding with someone's yacht, I find myself wanting to tie you to the yard arm so as to guard the fate of my own lovely vessel. I’m offering you free passage aboard my ship to anywhere in the world. Where shall we go, love?

The Greek Iles, the Dalmatian Coast, Monaco, Venice, the Riviera, the Amalfi Coast, around Cape Horn, the Panama Canal, the Hebrides… think you’ve got enough ship for me, sir?

4. Darling, I have more than enough ship for you and every other willing wench this side of the Caribbean. Who is the hero of your story most like: me (savvy, debonair, and unquestionably smooth with the ladies), the insufferably honorable Will Turner, or that deceptive little minx Elizabeth?

John Baldwin ... Jack Sparrow. Let’s see. Absolutely like you, but taller, with better teeth, fresher breath, cleaner hair and a bigger... whoops, what was that? A parrot? He doesn’t have a parrot… now I’m yours!

5. If you were trying to distract me from the fact that you nearly cast aspersions upon the size of my telescope, you'll have to do better than ... a yacht? With rum punch? Ooh. Shiny. Rum? Or more rum?

What? No grog? I prefer shards of glass in my rum, thank you very much.

6. Who doesn't? Which leads me to the age old question: Why is the rum always gone?

It’s the rum mice. They sneak in and sip at it whilst you’re busy looking after your parrot. Naughty mice. Naughty parrot! Naughty, naughty pirate.

7. Stop. I'm blushing. What’s the most piratish thing you’ve ever done?

Outside of vomiting rum overboard? Let’s see… once, in a fight for truth, justice and the American way, I… wait, that wasn’t piratish, that was Royal Navyish. I’ve got it. Rescued a kitten from the pound right before it was about to be put down. (What, you don’t think pirates love kittens? We do, we really, really do!)

8. If they can vanquish undead monkeys, I adore them. Are they rules? Or more like guidelines?

The only rules are those you create and impose upon yourself. The rest are merely suggestions, like stoplights in Italy.

9. My dear, you had me at kitten. Oh, wait. That was a different question. I understand you’re a story-teller. Any undead monkeys in your stories?

Come to think of it, no. I must remedy that immediately.

10. Oh, bugger it. Only if you find a way to kill him off. Permanently. Any curses in your story? Heartless monsters? Irritating women who insist on taking matters into their own hands?

Curses, absolutely! My previous book, THE IMMORTALS is predicated on a curse, a calling from the netherworld, a summons to the dark angel Azræl, death himself. Once Azræl is a participant, bad things happen to good little boys and girls. And of course, Taylor Jackson seeks to thwart their evil plan.

11. If I've learned anything in life, it's that a wise man ignores all calls from the netherworld. One of my favorite words is “egregious.” Care to share one of yours, love?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, love. Really, did you have to ask?

12. I'm stunned into near silence by your use of such a bombastic travesty of the English language. I don't believe that even IS a word. Maybe it looks like a word through the wrong end of a mug of grog? I've seen plenty of THOSE words myself. Parlay? Or draw your sword?

It’s depends. How badly have you insulted me? A stain upon my honor, or a presumption against my honor. You pick.

13. *stares at your cutlass* Darling, I fear you've  misunderstood me. I adore your choice of supercalifragi listi--whatever it was. Adore it. No need to avenge your honor on my account. You’ve got a crowd of cursed sailors and a nasty sea monster on your trail. How do you escape?

Close the book, silly.

14. That only works in my world if said beasties have their heads between the covers of said book. Romantic night in? Or adventure on the high seas?

Adventure, without a doubt. The best nights are ones where romance is found, not created.

15. Here's hoping you find stealing a vessel from Her Majesty's Royal Navy romantic, then. It's at the top of my To Do list tonight. My personal motto is: Take what you want, give nothing back. What’s yours?

“When you are content not to compare or compete, everyone will respect you.” Lao Tzu, who was something of a pirate himself, if you stop to think about it.

Thank you, J.T., for such a fun, entertaining interview!  To learn more about J.T.'s books and how to find her on the web, head to her site. To order your own copy of SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH, go here. Of course, the fun isn't over yet! J.T. is giving away a signed, personalized copy of SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH to one lucky commenter! (Giveaway is for U.S. only.) Here's how to enter:

1. Earn entries:

*Comment on this post = 1 entry

*Be a follower of this blog = 2 entries

*Tweet the link to this interview = 3 entries (Use @cjredwine or leave url to tweet in your comment so I can see it.)

*Post the contest on your blog or facebook= 3 entries (Include link in your comment.)

2. Tally it up:

Please tally up your entries and leave the total in your comment.

3. Check back:

The contest is open until 8 p.m. (central time) Sunday, February 27th. Please check back to see if you've won and to claim your prize!

Good luck to all, and happy reading!


  1. Zombie goats aside best of luck with this fab-sounding book
    rr smythe

  2. This was so funny. Congratulations on the new book.
    6 entries
    Marley Delarose

  3. Aaargh.Aaaargh aaaargh aaaargh.
    That's thank you in Piratese.

  4. I love reading thrillers! Espcially about serial killers!

    What does that say about me? lol

  5. Forgot to say that's an amazing cupcake!

  6. OMG! I've been waiting for this one to come out. I love all your books, J.T. I heard a couple of panels you were on last year & immediately went out & bought all your books. I can't wait to read So Close!

  7. I'm really intrigued with the Son of Sam aspect. Sounds creepy..
    +1 comment
    +2 follower

    total 3

    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  8. Well I think this may be the most unique interview I have ever read! Cool cupcake!
    +1 comment
    +2 follower

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  9. Fantastic interview! I'm behind on the Taylor Jackson series at the moment (so many wonderful books on my TBR pile, so very little time!), but this looks as thrilling as the rest. Congrats, JT, on the release!

  10. If your books are anything like you showed yourself in this interview, I'm snatching them all up. Starting with SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH.

    Commented, following, tweeted=6

  11. That was funny! I'm always up for some good suspense books, so I'll have to check this out.

    Comment - 1
    FB - 3

    4 entries!

  12. Looks like a fun book. Sign me up!


People who comment are made of awesomesauce with a side of WIN!

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