Today Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about All We Buried, the novel she features in.
Welcome. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
All We Buried is the first novel I appear in. I’m very hopeful there will be a second. My author is working on one now, so I’m rooting for her.
My story starts out when I return to Washington State to fill in for my father as interim sheriff in my tiny hometown. After my father dies, I have a big decision to make: stay and fight for his seat or return to Los Angeles and the plans I had in place for my future.
If that wasn’t enough, a visiting scientist finds a Jane Doe—floating dead in a nearby lake. So now I’m also facing my first homicide investigation.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I wanted to become a detective down in LA—but that would be a very different process. I would work with an experienced partner and have all the resources of the biggest police department in the country.
Instead, I have a couple deputies, one of whom wants my job, and a septuagenarian office manager who thinks she’s better at law enforcement than I am.
It’s going to be a challenge to discover an identity for Jane Doe, let alone figure out who killed her, but I am deeply committed to returning her to her family and holding someone accountable for her death.
You’ll have to read the book and see how you think I did . . . and if I made the right decision for my life in the end.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
I am proud to say we finally work as a team. It took us a long time to get to this place. She fought against us working together for YEARS, which got a little frustrating. But I’m a very patient character and knew that once she started to trust me, she’d realize we’re better off as a duo.
How did you evolve as the main character?
There was never any question I’d have my own story. I’m patient, but I’m also strong. I just kept pushing at my writer’s mind, reminding her that the draft she was working on wasn’t finished. That no matter how many rejections we got, if she kept rewriting (and listening to me) we would find a home. And we did!
I’m so happy to be a character with Crooked Lane Books. The best thing about our long journey was that now my writer and I have amazing support from our agent Madelyn Burt and the developmental editor at our publisher. Our editor, Jenny Chen, forced my writer to pay more attention to me, so it worked out for everyone.
But just to be clear, there was never any question I was going to be the protagonist of this story. One thing that did develop a LOT, however, in the final rewrites, was to dig deep into my motivations. I can’t tell you how good it felt to have those finally get unburied.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
My favorite fellow character is Schweitzer. He was my father’s Anatolian shepherd. Once my father died, Schweitz had to learn that I was going to be his person. It wasn’t easy to win him over, but our relationship is the best thing in my world.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
My hometown of Collier, Washington, is pretty amazing. It’s a lot like Roslyn, Washington, which you may remember was the location where they shot Northern Exposure. My writer lives about an hour west of Roslyn, so she knows the area really well.
There’s a road that runs north and slightly east of Roslyn, called Highway 97. If you go up 97, you’ll find an old road leading up into the mountains called Old Blewitt Pass Highway. If you drive up that road, and pictured Roslyn there, high in a hanging valley, that would be Collier.
It’s isolated and filled with Doug firs and ponderosa pines. There are a lot of good fly fishing rivers and elk abound, there’s no hunting permitted on our valley floor and they seem to know they’re protected. But I have to warn you to stay out of the lake. It’s not safe to get too near the water.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
We’re like a train traveling up a mountain. We chug along, gaining speed, until we reach the crest, then we fly down the other side. If that’s your kind of mystery, I think you’ll enjoy all our time together. Come spend time in Collier, it’s a wonderful place to be, even with the occasional murder.
Thanks for answering my questions, Bet, and good luck to you and your author, Elena Taylor, with All We Buried, the first book in the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Elena Taylor: Elena Taylor spent several years working in theater as a playwright, director, designer, and educator before turning her storytelling skills to fiction. Her first series, the Eddie Shoes Mysteries, written under the name Elena Hartwell, introduced a quirky mother/daughter crime-fighting duo. With All We Buried, Elena returns to her dramatic roots and brings readers a much more serious and atmospheric novel. Located in her beloved Washington State, Elena uses her connection to the environment to produce a forbidding story of small-town secrets and things that won’t stay buried. Elena is also a senior editor with Allegory Editing, a developmental editing house, where she works one-on-one with writers to shape and polish manuscripts, short stories, and plays. If you’d like to work with Elena, visit www.allegoryediting.com.When she’s not writing or coaching writing, her favorite place to be is at the farm with her horses, Jasper and Radar, or at her home, on the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in North Bend, Washington, with her husband, their dog, Polar, and their cats, Coal Train and Cocoa. Elena holds a B.A. from the University of San Diego, a M.Ed. from the University of Washington, Tacoma, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia.