Monday, December 05, 2005

Profile of Mystery Author Eleanor Taylor Bland

Eleanor Taylor Bland, a native of the Chicago suburb of Waukegan and author of the Marti MacAlister mystery series, was profiled recently by the Chicago Sun-Times.

The article describes Bland's 13th MacAlister mystery, A Dark and Deadly Deception, which is scheduled for publication by St. Martin's Minotaur in early December. In this book, a woman's body is found in the swollen Des Plaines River. She is identified as a bit actress in town shooting scenes for a film. Marti and her partner, Vic, must smoke out what tied the Californian to the Waukegan area and how that led to her murder. Meanwhile, the detectives also are trying to clear a case that dates back to the 1940s after finding the bones of a murdered man in a historic building. The story addresses the past and those struggling to reconcile themselves to it, including characters like Delilah, an octogenarian African-American who regrets having pressured her daughter, Tamar, to settle for a man and a life she didn't want.

Bland, who is in her 60s, published her first mystery in 1992. "I tried to write the all-American, or all-African-American, story for a while before I got hooked on mysteries," says the author.
She initially sent two manuscripts to St. Martin's Press that landed on the desk of an editor who liked the characters and the prose style, but not the story. The editor "went to her [boss] and said 'I like this author but not what she's doing. What do I do?' And the [boss] said, 'Encourage her. When I got those books back, basically what she said -- and I've still got the letter, a page and a half, single spaced -- was, 'Whatever you write, I'll read it.' So I never went to any other publishing company."

Read the rest of this interesting profile of Eleanor Taylor Bland here.

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