Iâ€™ve had a twenty year career as a writer-producer on a number of popular
television series. When I wrote my debut novel, PLANTATION
SHUDDERS. A Cajun Country Mystery, and segued from writing
writing fiction, I reveled in creating finely crafted prose and poetic
But there was one problem.
My dialogue stank.
This came as a shock to me. Not because Iâ€™m so brilliant, but because most
career has been spent writing almost nothing but dialogue â€“ first as a
playwright, then for the characters on Wings, Just Shoot Me,
Still Standing, and a bunch of shows that disappeared after a season.
written pilots for major networks where I had to create original characters,
each had to have his or her own unique voice. So why wasnâ€™t I bringing that
manuscript? After pondering this dilemma, I finally landed on the answer. I
hadnâ€™t written prose since a creative writing class in high school, and I
having so much fun doing it that writing dialogue felt, wellâ€¦ boring.
I began to think about all the television shows Iâ€™d written for, both the
and misses. Each showâ€™s creators laid the groundwork for enjoyable viewing
populating their shows with well-drawn characters. Once we went into
talented actors fleshed out the characters with unique choices and dashes of
their own personalities. On Wings, there was the deadpan humor of
Weber and the dry wit of Tim Daly.
Just Shoot Meâ€™s David Spade somehow tapped into a snarky delivery
all his own, yet nothing like his very nice real self.
I harkened back to the number one rule of playwriting â€“ each characterâ€™s
should be so distinctive that you know whoâ€™s talking without ever having to
for their name in the script.
I started to apply what Iâ€™d learned writing for other mediums to my book.
protagonist, Magnolia â€śMaggieâ€ť Crozat, is feisty and passionate, but also
insecure and self-effacing. Her beloved Grandmere seems like a â€śGlossyâ€ť â€“ a
Gracious Lady of the South â€“ on the surface, but beneath that, sheâ€™s sharp,
sophisticated, and has a great sense of humor about herself. Maggieâ€™s arch-
Police Chief Rufus Durand, is arrogant and often seems totally clueless. He
barely made it through high school, but heâ€™ll have a sudden attack of
smarts that throws anyone who underestimated him off balance.
As I developed the rest of my characters, I began having fun writing
Perhaps my life will come full circle, and someday Iâ€™ll create a television
series inspired by my Cajun Country mysteries. But for now, having
charactersâ€™ voices, the quirky residents of Pelican, Louisiana, are as alive
me on paper as they would ever be on the big or small screen.
Ellen Byron is a television writer, playwright, and freelance
Sheâ€™s also an author; Her debut novel, PLANTATION SHUDDERS: A CAJUN COUNTRY
MYSTERY, was chosen as the Debut Mystery of the Month by the Library
is also a recipient of a William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant from the
TV credits include Wings, Still Standing, and Just Shoot Me, as well as
and cable pilots. As a journalist, she's written over 200 magazine articles
national publications. She recently served on the Editorial Board for the
Writers Program's books, CUT TO THE CHASE and INSIDE THE ROOM. Her plays,
published by Dramatists Play Service, include the popular Graceland and
A graduate of Tulane University, Ellen lives in the Los Angeles area with
husband, daughter, and the familyâ€™s spoiled rescue dogs, which they describe
â€ścorgi-jack-huahuaâ€ť and a â€ścherrier.â€ť A native New Yorker, Ellen still
hometownâ€¦ and still drives like a New York cabbie.
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Check in for some Southern hospitality in PLANTATION SHUDDERS, the
Country series debut from Ellen Byron.
It's the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned
to her family's plantation- turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The
have an inn full of guests for the local food festivalâ€” elderly
Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster
and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead
within minutes of each other - one from very unnatural causes - Maggie and
family suddenly become suspects in a murder.
With the help of Bo Durand, the town's handsome new detective, Maggie must
investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at
same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the
really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old
and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byronâ€™s charming cozy debut,
1 comment posted.
I'm sure that going from one writing medium to another was quite a change for you, but I'm thrilled to learn about your book!! It sounds like the perfect read to shake up my TBR list, and I'm looking forward to reading it. Your book has all of the elements that I adore, from the setting on down, and it sounds like quite a read!! Congratulations on your book, and I'm sure it's going to do quite well!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:42am August 17, 2015)