We're thrilled to welcome USA TODAY bestselling author Ellen Byron to the Stiletto Gang! Ellen shares her passion for purple and a thought or two about her fabulous Cajun Country Mystery Series.
My relationship with the color purple – the actual color, not the book - has a history. When I was a kid growing up in New York, my mother told me it was considered a low-class color. Where this judgment came from, I don’t know. It’s not like my mother was some high-falutin’ society matron who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing anything but basic beige. She was an Italian immigrant who grew up on the mean streets of Depression-era NYC. But I took what she said to heart and hid the truth - purple was my favorite color.
Cut to adulthood and the impending debut of my Cajun Country Mystery series. These days, it’s not enough to write a book or a series, you have to market it, too. I wrestled with how best to do this, and realized the obvious answer was to brand my Louisiana-based series with the Mardi Gras color scheme of purple, green, and gold. I’ve always liked the color green, and gold is my go-to metallic. And purple… oh, you glorious combo of red and blue! Given permission to go wild with the shade, I did exactly that.
The thing is, once I started buying purple I couldn’t stop. My wardrobe now looks like a Concord grape harvest. I hit Target, thrift stores, local shops, online sites, tag sales. I bought clothes, belts, shoes, accessories, and makeup. I actually gave away two pairs of purple shoes I’d bought because my daughter told me they were so ugly she’d disown me if I ever wore them.
Shopping for purple has become a habit I have trouble breaking. When I walk into a store, I force myself to remember there are other colors in the world. But my purple passion has had an unexpected benefit. My mother’s no longer prejudiced against the color. In fact, she’s embraced it. When I visit her and we go out to dinner, there’s a good chance we’ll be purple twinsies.
A CAJUN CHRISTMAS KILLING, the third book in my series,
launches tomorrow and the fourth book in my series comes
out in 2018, so I’ve got at least two more purple-wearing years
ahead of me. I’m mulling over a new series set in New York City,
but I’m terrified to introduce another color into my world.
I just don’t have the closet space for it.
Body on the Bayou, the second book in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery Series, won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha Award in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Ellen's debut novel in the series, Plantation Shudders, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards, and made the USA Today Bestseller list. Book three, A Cajun Christmas Killing, launches October 10th. TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, Fairly OddParents, and many pilots. She’s also an award-winning playwright and journalist. Ellen lives in Studio City with her husband, daughter, and two spoiled rescue dogs. Visit her at http://www.ellenbyron.com/