An Interview with Devon Ellington

Please help me welcome Devon Ellington to my blog today. She will be giving away a copy of the book, and also a copy of her short romantic comedy/fantasy “Just Jump in and Fly” (under the Ava Dunne name). So be sure and leave her a comment.

Tell us about your current series.
Old-FashionedDetectiveWork_HiRes_2The book releasing today is OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second Jain Lazarus Adventure. HEX-BREAKER, the first book in the series, introduced Jain Lazarus, a hex breaker, who arrives on the set of an indie film to help out some friends having a problem with odd things happening. As the events escalate, Wyatt East, a local detective, steps in. When Jain decapitates a marauding zombie — who used to be a crew member — things get tense between them, but their attraction to each other and affinity for each other just keep growing.

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK is told from Wyatt’s POV. It takes place a few months after HEX BREAKER, and the events of the short stories “The Possession of Nattie Filmore” and “First Feet” happen in between the two books. Jain disappears after a romantic weekend away with Wyatt, and he becomes the prime suspect in her disappearance — especially since he was the prime suspect in his family’s deaths years before. In spite of that, one of Jain’s employers hires Wyatt to bypass the paranormal investigative techniques that haven’t found her, and locate her via good, old-fashioned detective work. Along the way there are shape-shifting wolf and coyote packs, a pair of paranormally talented runaways teens, a cantankerous mermaid, and we find out a lot more about both their pasts.

Billy Root, who was a minor character in HEX BREAKER and turned out to be fan favorite with his own fan base (and now, his own blog), is not in this book, but the third book in the series, CRAVE THE HUNT, is mostly from his POV, so his fans have something to look forward to!

How likely are people you meet to end up in your next book?
I often joke that people who annoy me wind up meeting interesting ends in my books! 😉 Seriously, though, as a writer, everything we experience on any level is inspiration, so anyone who crosses our path fits the bill. However, when I do my job properly as a writer, the character evolves away from the inspiration and becomes a unique individual. By the time the book is done, there’s very little of the original person left, and the character is viable on his/her own.

Do you prefer to read in the same genres you write in or do you avoid reading that genre? Why?
I write in several genres. When I’m working on, say, urban fantasy, I read in mystery or non-fiction. If I’m writing a mystery, I’ll read fantasy. I prefer not to read in the genre I’m writing in at the moment. I like to be able to step away from the work and take a breath by reading. Since I’m a paid reviewer, that doesn’t always work — I have to read what I’m assigned. But I like to read as kind of a palette cleanser, so the reading and the writing genres are separate.

I like to read outstanding authors across genre lines and break down how they use structure, revealing character detail, etc., because one never stops learning, and one always strives to make the next book better than the previous one.

Do you have any words of inspiration for aspiring authors?
Sit your butt in that chair every day and write. Don’t make excuses. There’s no such thing as “no time to write”. If you have “no time” to write, it means you don’t WANT to write. Writing is a choice. Not writing is a choice. Both have consequences, and you are responsible for either choice.

Do you or have you belonged to a writing organization? Which one? Have the helped you with your writing? How?
I’ve belonged to several organizations over the years, some useful, some not. For me, the most life-changing is PEN — the international work they do to make the world a better place is amazing, and their World Voices Festival has changed my life for the better every time I’ve attended. As writers, it is our responsibility to entertain and to sow the seeds of positive change. In other countries, the power of the word is either revered or feared, and there are huge consequences to using words. We need to remember and honor that. Genre fiction is a wonderful place to explore social issues and imbalances, when it’s done well.

I was recently named to the Board of Directors of one of my other favorite organizations, the Cape Cod Writers Center. That’s a truly amazing place, and the way it supports and encourages writers at all stages of their careers is really beautiful. I’m excited to be a part of their growth. Their August conference is the best I’ve ever attended.

A good writing organization will offer a supportive environment that gives tough love when necessary, but doesn’t leave any participant as though they’re not “enough” of anything. A good organization has networking and promotional opportunities, but more than that, the best organizations show you new ways to view the world and communicate it effectively to your readership. They encourage growth in community.

What is your writing routine like?
Every day is different, thank goodness, or I’d be in a different line of work!

Mornings are fairly regulated. Up early, yoga, meditation, feed the cats, make the coffee, write my first 1000 words of the day. After that, I blog, check email, and switch back and forth on the contracted, deadlined projects, and work with my students. Since I make my living writing — it IS my day job — I can’t afford, on any level, not to show up and do the work every day, just like anyone else with a job. I’m lucky that I love my job.

I usually run errands and/or have client meetings in the late morning, early afternoon, then go back and do another writing or editing session in the afternoon. I’m getting better about logging off at a reasonable hour and keeping evenings for families and friends.

Of course, if there’s a tight deadline, you do whatever it takes to get it done. If it means getting up earlier or pulling an all-nighter, that’s what you do. I try to stay on top of everything so those are rare, but sometimes several good opportunities land in your lap at once, and you can’t drop any of the balls. So, I’m tired for a few days. But it’s all worth it in the end.

What’s next for you?
Working on the third book in the Jain Lazarus series, CRAVE THE HUNT. HEX BREAKER, the first book, was entirely from Jain’s POV. OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK, the second book in the series that released today, is in Wyatt’s POV. CRAVE THE HUNT alternates between Billy’s POV and Jain’s. The fourth book in the series, LOVE AND FURY, will either be entirely in Jain’s POV, or alternate Jain and Wyatt. I’m also working on an aviation mystery set in the 1940s, and a mystery set in a marine life hospital. I work with the National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay, and they’re so inspiring I wanted to set something in that environment. I’ve got several short pieces out under various names, and a couple of novels out in the pipeline — I’ll be sure to let you know what hits and where it lands!

Devon_Ellington_icon_2Devon Ellington is a full-time writer, who publishes under a half a dozen names in both fiction and non-fiction, and teaches writing all over the world. Her Jain Lazarus Adventures are handled by Solstice Publishing ( and her romantic suspense novel, ASSUMPTION OF RIGHT (as Annabel Aidan) is out with Champagne Books. “Sea Diamond”, featuring Fiona Steele, is included in the DEATH SPARKLES anthology, released in Fall 2012. She’s published hundreds of stories, articles, speeches, and scripts throughout her career. Visit her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee ( and her website,

A Jain Lazarus Adventure
By Devon Ellington

Detective Wyatt East finds himself the primary suspect when hex breaker Jain Lazarus disappears after their romantic weekend in Vermont. In spite of the suspicions, Jain’s boss, Maitland Stiles, hires Wyatt to track her down, forcing him to face aspects of his own painful past and revealing more about hers.
Saddled with two rebellious runaway paranormal teens, he’s embroiled in a shapeshifter pack disagreement, and must learn to work with both a caustic dragon and a cantankerous mermaid to not only find Jain, but help her help an old friend who’s in over his head. Wyatt learns he is not without psychic abilities of his own, although he prefers old-fashioned detective work.


“Again, Mr. Collins,” said Wyatt. “What can I do for you?”

“When did you last see Jain Lazarus?”

“We spent a four day weekend together about six weeks ago in Vermont.”

“Have you spoken to her since?”

“I left a few messages on her voice mail, but I haven’t heard back.”

“Yes, we know that. We have her phone.”

Wyatt felt a chill run down his spine. “Why would you have her phone?”

“Was she in good health when you parted?”

“We went skiing in the morning. We went back to change. She got a phone call – on the landline, not her cell, and said she had to go. She left before I did.”



“No one’s seen or heard from her since that weekend in Vermont.”

“Are you looking for her?”

“Yes. She was due in our office the very next morning to get briefed on a new assignment. The proprietor of the inn tells a different story.”

“What do you mean?”

“He says the two of you left in the morning, but you came back alone.”

“That’s not true.”

“And there’s no record of a call going through to your room.”

“That doesn’t make sense.”

“Did you argue with Jain that weekend?’

“No. We had a great time.”

“Don’t lie to me, Detective. I’m every bit as capable of discerning a liar as you are.”

“Then you know I’m telling the truth.”

“Either that or you’re even more talented than Jain believed. You are the last person we know who saw Jain before her disappearance.”

OLD-FASHIONED DETECTIVE WORK available from Solstice Publishing on March 4, 2012:

Excerpts, buy links, and information for the series on the Jain Lazarus Site:

13 thoughts on “An Interview with Devon Ellington

  1. hi devon- your book sounds great…crazy and nutty in all the right places, like a bowl of rocky road ice cream, lol! and i love the fantasy karma that gets exacted on all the people who annoy you in real life…wouldn’t that be great if it were real???? *winks*

    good luck to you! -alisa

  2. Linda, Alisa, and Angela — thanks so much. As soon as I get the buy link today, I’ll post it here.

    Cynthia, thanks so much for hosting me on release day!

    This series is a lot of fun to write — I love the ensemble.

  3. Great interview and that excerpt is awesome. Very snappy dialogue.

    Love your advice to new authors: sit in the damn chair and write the book. Words we all must live–and die–by.

    Best of luck to you!

  4. Woohoo!!! Congratulations on the release.

    As soon as that link goes live–I’m there!

    I had to laugh and wonder who was the ‘real life’ inspiration for the decapitated zombie.

  5. Devon – I’m so glad that you are here today. I hope your release goes wonderfully and you’re already well on your way to having lots of commentors. Congratulations on the new book.

  6. Another great interview. Love your advice and I’m trying to follow it. I read your blog Ink in My Coffee and it amazes me what you accomplish in a day, weekend, week, etc.

    Your book sounds intriguing. I don’t usually read in this genre, but I think I’ll give it a try. I’ve read some of your short stories and really liked them.

  7. Great interview, Devon. You’re very organized. I find I like to read in the same genre I’m writing, but that’s not always possible.
    Looking forward to the new release!

  8. I hopped over to check out more and found Hex-Breaker on Amazon for an awesome price for ebook and want to thank you. Will Old Fashioned Detective Work be there soon? I think I am really going to enjoy this series and I thank you for sharing your talents with us greedy readers 🙂

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