A Conversation with Author Ellen Butler

There are no softball cases in the FBI…especially when an agent gets dirty. –Swindler’s Revenge: A Karina Cardinal Mystery @EButlerBooks

What inspired the idea for your book?  

A case my FBI contact told me about. 

What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?

 Money laundering – how it’s done, how to hide it, and some of the dumb things criminals do that get them caught.

If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together? 

If I was friends with Karina Cardinal, I would want to be a part of one of her ad1ventures. Her life is far more exciting than mine! 

What does it mean to you to be called an author? 

It’s a job. One that I enjoy doing, but I think other people get far more excited about it than I do. 

How do you define success as an author? 

I think that success is different to everyone. For some it’s getting that first publishing contract. For other’s it’s getting on a bestseller list. For me, it’s setting goals and achieving them. Last year, I had a goal to write and get a short story published in a magazine— which I did. Success! Now, I’m setting new goals and working toward achieving them. I’m not sure I’m ever going to say, “okay, I achieved XYZ, now I’m a success.” I believe there will always be other mountains to climb, other accomplishments to attain. 

What difference do you see between a writer and an author? 

Generally, when people ask me what I do, I say, I’m an author or novelist. Both of those labels connotate someone who writes books. Whereas, if you say, “I’m a writer” I believe it conjures up a wide variety of writing options—journalist, blogger, article writer, etc. While I do write articles for online magazines, it’s not my major focus and the reason I stick with identifying as an author

If you had a secret room that opened by pulling a book on a shelf, what book would you choose?  

The Chronicles of Narnia

Do you have any quirky writing rituals? 

 Not really, but, I’ll admit, some of my best writing has been done at a particular table at my local Panera. It must have good juju. I’m always bummed if I get there and someone else is sitting at it.

What advice would you give to a writer working on their first book? 

Join a writer’s club and attend a conference in your genre. You will meet like-minded people and identify your intended readers. 

What are you reading now? 

Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, by Elyssa Friedland.

What would the title of your autobiography be? 

Sit Back, You’re in for a Bumpy Ride. 

What would your dream library look like? 

Like this blue library overlooking an ocean or lake. 


What comes first for you — the plot or the characters? 

Depends. When I was writing romance, the characters came first. For my historical fiction and mystery novels, the plot comes first. 

What do you look for in a story as a reader?  

Interesting characters, good plot development, and I tend to prefer books with some levity. Even if it’s a serious novel, I like having some sort of comic relief. 

What has been your favorite reader feedback?  

I love when a reader tells me they stayed up late reading my book. That means I’ve done my job drawing them into the story. 


Aside from writing or reading, what are your hobbies or interests? 

I enjoy travel, hiking, reading, and spending time with my family. 

Karina Cardinal knows how to get into trouble. Maybe it isn’t always her fault, but she sure doesn’t make things easy. When her FBI ex-boyfriend is accused of stealing $1.2 million she finds herself in the thick of it. Luckily she has friends in both high and low places to help her navigate her way clear.

Someday I am going to have to read all of this series, but this is my second book, and like book four before it, I found this book to be “ a quick enjoyable read, full of unusual twists and turns with plenty of humor and the occasional well-placed pop culture reference.” In other words, lots of fun to read. Ellen Butler has a firm grasp on the concept of an adventure story. She metes out the twists and turns with great skill. This book covers a multitude of thriller tropes and carries them well. From identity theft to forged sports memorabilia and the money laundering in between, a lot of ground is covered from multiple directions at once. Just when the story is deadly serious humor is used to learn it a bit and all is good

The Silverthorne group is as awesome as ever. I have a thing for closed-mouth company-type guys with an overprotective attitude and major stealth skills. Rick is all that and a bag of chips. Seriously, he exudes safety and stability, and honestly, that is exactly what KC needs, with her leap first, ask questions later lifestyle.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Read an excerpt of, and catch up with, book four in this series, –Review: Pharaoh’s Forgery by Ellen Butler

I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

There are no softball cases in the FBI…especially when an agent gets dirty.

Karina Cardinal’s Saturday starts out with a bang, and it’s not the home renovation marathon she’s watching on HGTV. It’s the FBI banging on her door, hunting for a fugitive. As if she could easily hide one in her modest condo. Especially one named Mike Finnegan.

The two of them called it splitsville a couple months ago, but Mike? Take a $1.2 million bribe? No and no and no. No matter how much damning evidence the feds claim to have. When a mysterious burner phone shows up in her pocket, Karina has no doubt who dropped it there. Mike is deep undercover and so far off-grid, he needs help to figure out who’s framing him—and why.

Classic Karina, she jumps in with both feet, ignoring the dangers. The trouble with leaping before you look? You can land in a world of dirt. And when an old enemy starts playing hardball, you can end up six feet under it.

International bestselling and award-winning author Ellen Butler presents book five in the Karina Cardinal mystery series! Fans of Elizabeth Peters and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will adore this gripping mystery adventure.

Purchase Links – Amazon     iBooks    Barnes & Noble      Kobo

Ellen Butler is the international bestselling author of the Karina Cardinal mystery series and award-winning historical suspense, The Brass Compass. Fans who enjoy the suspense of Melinda Leigh and the humor of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will fall in love with Butler’s Karina Cardinal.  Her experiences working on Capitol Hill and at a medical association in Washington, D.C. inspired the mystery-action series. The Brass Compass has won multiple awards for historical fiction and is compared to such bestselling novels as Kristen Hannah’s The Nightingale. Ellen lives with her family in the suburbs of Washington, DC.

You can find Ellen at:

Website ~ www.EllenButler.net

Facebook ~ www.facebook.com/EllenButlerBooks

Twitter ~ @EButlerBooks


Goodreads ~ www.goodreads.com/EllenButlerBooks


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September 11 – Novels Alive – GUEST POST

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September 18 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

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