Q&A with Elle Marr

Thrillers are one of my favourite genres to read. I love getting caught up in a twisty, turny mystery that keeps me guessing from the first page to the last. I’ve tried to write one myself a few times but it turns out I’m not that good at plotting out a mystery. Elle Marr, on the other hand, is.

Elle is a fellow member of the 2020 Debuts group and her debut thriller THE MISSING SISTER was the definition of a twisty, turny mystery that kept me guessing. And she is back to give us more “holy sh*t did that just happen?!” moments in her sophomore novel, LIES WE BURY.

I am thrilled to feature Elle’s interview here and hope that after reading it, you will be inspired to read her fabulous books. Trust me when I say you will be glad you did.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was probably nine years old and sneaking into an online writing forum for adults. As I published several chapters posing as a twenty-year old, I knew then that I wanted to write stories.

How did publishing your first book change your writing process?

Immensely. I went from writing as a pantser to plotting out every chapter and many scenes. I still allow myself to deviate from the plan as I discover new plot twists, but I’ve cut down my drafting timeline significantly. 

What does your writing schedule look like?

I wake up and write as much as my 1-year old will allow then sneak in pockets of time wherever I can after that. Typically, I’ll return to writing by 9pm and go until I feel too tired to write coherent sentences. 

What do you do when the words just won’t come?

I go on a walk! I firmly believe that the worst plot holes can be solved while simply placing one foot in front of the other–that, or while having a glass of wine.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers? What do you wish someone had told you before you got into this industry?

I would tell aspiring writers that literally the only thing you can control is the writing; ensure your manuscript is ready when you begin querying, even if you’re dying for feedback from your dream-agent.

As far as advice I wish I had been given, I wish someone had shared how often people will assume your work is autobiographical! (A very silly notion for this thriller author.) Regardless of what people assume or believe about your work, keep writing the story you need; there are other readers out there who need it too.

What is your biggest writing-related dream?

To create indefinitely for readers! To continue writing about a diverse set of characters, who look like me. I didn’t grow up with a lot of people on TV or in movies or books that resembled my ethnic makeup, so it’s a privilege and thrill to write about them now. 

What is the premise for your latest book?

My upcoming thriller LIES WE BURY is set in Portland, Oregon and is inspired by some of the most harrowing true crime headlines. Here is the book description: 

Two decades ago Marissa Mo escaped a basement prison—the only home she’d ever known. At twenty-seven, Marissa’s moved beyond the trauma and is working under a new name as a freelance photographer. But when she accepts a job covering a string of macabre murders in Portland, it’s impossible for Marissa not to remember.

Everything is eerily familiar. The same underground lairs. Sad trinkets and toys left behind, identical to those Marissa had as a child. And then there is the note meant just for her that freezes Marissa’s blood: See you soon, Missy.

To determine the killer’s next move, Marissa must retrieve her long-forgotten memories and return to a past she’s hidden away. But she won’t be facing her fears alone. Someone is waiting for her in the dark.



Originally from Sacramento, Elle Marr graduated from UC San Diego before moving to France, where she earned a master’s degree from the Sorbonne University in Paris. She now lives and writes in Oregon with her husband, son, and one very demanding feline.

Her debut thriller THE MISSING SISTER was a #1 Amazon Best Seller, #1 in the Kindle Store, an Amazon Charts Best Seller, featured in Woman’s World, and named one of PopSugar’s 31 Thrillers of 2020. Words she’s written can also be found on CrimeReads and Criminal Element. Her second thriller LIES WE BURY was given a starred review by Kirkus, and will be published April 1, 2021 by Thomas & Mercer.

Author Website: www.ellemarr.com

Facebook: Elle Marr Author

Instagram: ellemarrauthor

Twitter: @ellemarr_

Publisher’s website: Thomas & Mercer


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