INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
(The Ellie Foreman Mysteries Book 5)
(The Ellie Foreman Mysteries Book 5)
by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Jump Cut is the fifth book in The Ellie Foreman Mysteries series by Libby Fischer Hellmann. It is ON SALE for $0.99 for a limited time. Also available: An Eye for Murder, A Picture of Guilt, An Image of Death, A Shot to Die For, and The Ellie Forman Mysteries Boxed Set (Books 1-4).
Jump Cut is currently on tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Chicago video producer, Ellie Foreman, has been absent from thriller author Libby Fischer Hellmann’s repertoire for almost a decade. Now she’s back ... and soon entangled in a web of espionage, murder and suspicion that threatens to destroy what she holds most dear. Hired to produce a candyfloss profile of Chicago-based aviation giant, Delcroft, Ellie is dismayed when company VP Charlotte Hollander, the architect of a new anti-drone system for Delcroft, trashes the production and cancels the project. Ellie believes Hollander was spooked by shots of a specific man in the video footage. But when Ellie arranges to meet the man to find out why, he’s killed by a subway train before they can talk. In the confusion, she finds a seemingly abandoned pack of cigarettes with a flash drive inside that belonged to the now dead man.
Ellie has the drive’s contents decrypted, but before long she discovers she’s under surveillance. Suspecting Delcroft and the ambitious Hollander are behind it, she’s unconvinced when Hollander tells her the dead man was a Chinese spy. Ellie and her boyfriend Luke try to find answers, but they don’t realize how far into the dangerous echelons of hidden power they have ventured. When Ellie’s daughter is kidnapped and Charlotte Hollander disappears, it becomes terrifyingly clear that Ellie is in way over her head, and more lives are on the line, including her own.
Go on a mini-tour of some of the locations featured in Jump Cut.
The sun winked off the frozen surface of Lake Michigan the next morning as I drove south to McCormick Place. During one of the most brutal Chicago winters in decades, the smudge of purple clouds tinged with pink and gold hinted that the fury of winter might—just might—have peaked. I parked in the overpriced lot, bought half a dozen cups of overpriced coffee, and carried them into the massive exhibit hall.
The crew was setting up lights and shades, and Mac was behind the camera framing shots. MacArthur J. Kendall III owns a production studio in Northbrook. He started out shooting sweet sixteens, bar mitzvahs, and weddings, but parlayed that into corporate videos. We’ve worked together for nearly twenty years, from the days of two-inch video, to one-inch, three-quarter, and now digital.
Mac’s name, salt-and-pepper hair, button-down shirts, and penny loafers scream WASP, but the nasty scar running down his left cheek saves him from total Episcopalian infamy. He tells people he was attacked by a Mexican drug lord and made me swear never to reveal it was from a car accident.
I went up to him. “What do you need me to do?”
“You have the shot list?”
I nodded and pulled it out of the canvas bag that doubles as my purse. We went over it. He gestured to the main area of the Delcroft booth, which featured a large projection screen with the company logo on both sides, and about twenty chairs arranged theater-style.
“What time’s the first presentation?”
Teresa Basso Gold, our client contact, had told us to be prepared for a series of short remarks by Delcroft executives touting the company’s latest innovations.
I checked my watch. Barely six thirty. “The doors don’t open until nine, and Teresa said not to expect anyone until ten. But you can get some establishing shots, if you want.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Mac said and strolled over to confer with the crew.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"Exceptional ... As Hellman’s convincing, conflicted characters face impossible choices, the tension is real and memorable." ~ Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Hellmann's writing sparkles ... plenty of suspense in this richly detailed thriller, but Hellmann’s characteristic wit and warmth are evident, too." ~ Booklist
"From spies to drones and hackers, Jump Cut is a heart-stopping tale of corporate espionage that will have you snapping on your seatbelt. The tangled web of international intrigue is riveting. Hellmann is a renowned master of suspense, and her great talent shows in the story’s many rich characters, the beautifully honed paragraphs, and the sweep of her provocative story. A keeper!" ~ Gayle Lynds, New York Times best-selling author of The Assassins
"With spooks, spies, sudden death and double-crosses, Jump Cut hits all the right notes for a top-notch action thriller. Once again Ellie Foreman is a thoroughly likeable real-world heroine, fiercely protective of those she loves, thrown in at the deep end and swimming for her life. Don’t miss it!" ~ Zoë Sharp, author of the Charlie Fox series and The Blood Whisperer
"Welcome back Ellie Foreman! Jump Cut rockets to a stunning but thrilling climax… Another winner from the standout Chicago novelist Libby Hellmann." ~ Paul Levine, author of Bum Rap
"After a long hiatus, Hellmann returns to her Chicago-based sleuth with a chilling tale that may be all too close to the truth." ~ Kirkus Reviews
Interview With the Author
Hi Libby. Thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Jump Cut.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
It’s for readers 18 and up.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I used to say I was "writing my way around the genre". I’ve written 13 novels, and they include an amateur sleuth series, a PI series, thrillers, hard-boiled, historical thrillers, romantic suspense, even a cozy. I like the challenge of trying new things. But when I first started reading crime fiction, I read espionage thrillers. Particularly what I call the four "L's": Le Carré, Ludlum, Len Deighton, and Ken FoLLett … (okay, Follett is a stretch). Btw, most of the authors writing espionage then were men, but that’s another story.
Add to that years of watching 24, MI5, and Homeland, and it’s not surprising that I eventually wanted to write espionage thrillers. Actually, I believe spies start out with the best intentions, to protect their homeland or stop an enemy. But it’s easy for a spy to become untethered. And when you layer on the effect of today’s technology, espionage is now possible on a mass level. So I decided to write an espionage thriller set in the post-Snowden era.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
Great question. Characters for me. If readers don’t like or relate to my characters, all is lost. Nine of my novels are in two different series so I’ve known those characters for a while. But in my stand-alone thrillers, I had the chance to create new ones. I love that.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
Figuring out each character’s motivation. Why they orchestrated or planned or behaved in a specific way.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
Most of all I hope they are entertained, and by that I mean that they have to stay up way too late just to see how it all turns out. However, if readers also take away a sense that the issues we’re grappling with are complicated and don’t have easy answers, that’s good, too.
How long did it take you to write this book?
About a year.
What is your writing routine?
Ha. That assumes I have one. I used to, but years of writing and now promotion have destroyed my routine. I write when I can. Usually in 45 minute spurts. The rest of the time I’m editing and revising. And promoting.
How did you get your book published?
I went with the publisher who published the earlier four Ellie Foreman novels. Ellie, btw, is a Chicago video producer who seems to find danger whenever she’s producing a show. Jump Cut is the fifth book in the series, but the series went on hiatus for 10 years while I wrote other crime novels.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Sit in chair. Write, don’t edit, for 45 minutes. Then stop. Go back. Edit. Rinse and repeat.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
That assumes I have a life. I’m not so sure these days. Let’s see, I work out, love to watch good TV and films, listen to Blues music, dance. Love to travel too, especially when I’m doing research for an upcoming book.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in Washington DC, which, when you’re gossiping about the neighbors at the dinner table, means you’re really talking politics. So it’s probably not surprising that I had an interest in those things. I went on to major in history at college, then worked in broadcast news for eight years, mostly in DC.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I was a voracious reader as a child. The type that, when your mother says go out and get some fresh air, I’d take the book with me. I used to bike to the library almost every week to get books. They knew me well back then.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Funny about that. I never had any interest in becoming a writer. It wasn’t even Plan B. I was going to be a film-maker – the Lina Wertmüller of the United States. Unfortunately, life had other plans. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-40’s that I started writing.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Not really. Except that mother was, and still is, a huge mystery reader. I’m sure that had something to do with the fact that I write crime thrillers.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do … I have a couple of Facebook groups that include avid fans, and then I communicate regularly with my email subscribers via a newsletter. I love my readers … particularly on a down day. They really support me.
Fantastic. What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I’m working on another historical novella about WW2. I already have one about a German refugee who is forced to spy on the Manhattan Project in Chicago (The Incidental Spy). The second one is about German POWs who were in prison camps in the US. I’ll probably publish them together this fall with something like "Homefront" in the title.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Libby. Best of luck with your future projects.
About the Author
Libby Fischer Hellmann left a career in broadcast news in Washington, DC and moved to Chicago 35 years ago, where she, naturally, began to write gritty crime fiction. Twelve novels and twenty short stories later, she claims they’ll take her out of the Windy City feet first. She has been nominated for many awards in the mystery and crime writing community and has even won a few. She has been a finalist twice for the Anthony, twice for Foreword Magazines Book of the Year, the Agatha, the Shamus, the Daphne and has won the Lovey multiple times.
With the addition of Jump Cut in 2016, her novels include the now five-volume Ellie Foreman series, which she describes as a cross between Desperate Housewives and 24; the hard-boiled 4-volume Georgia Davis PI series, and three stand-alone historical thrillers that Libby calls her Revolution Trilogy. Her latest release, The Incidental Spy, is a historical novella set during the early years of the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago. Her short stories have been published in a dozen anthologies, the Saturday Evening Post, and Ed Gorman’s 25 Criminally Good Short Stories collection.
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