J.T. Ellison is a big time crime and mystery novelist, and her series about detective Taylor Jackson is about to have its next installment — the title of which is "14" — published in a few months. Since her fiction is littered with corpses, we talked about writing about the dead. What is the obligation that a writer has to his or her victims? These people weren't real to begin with, and now they're not only fictional but deceased, twice removed from the real world. Are they important? If you're writing a murder mystery, you bet they are. J.T. has given them quite a lot of thought, and the care she takes with all her characters, even the ones that don't make it onto the page, make her bad guys particularly twisted and creepy, and her heroes and heroines an even more important moral center and force. Reading her work, you care about the victims because her detectives care about them, and we believe it because J.T. creates people, not just White Female Victim number 5. She goes all the way back so we want to keep reading forward.
Hear my interviews with JT Ellison and N.M. Kelby on Fiction Nation, on Take Five, XM 155 on Wednesday, August 6th at 7:00am, on Thursday, August 7th at midnight, on Friday August 8th at 11:00pm, on Saturday August 9th at 6pm, on Sunday August 10th at 10:00am and 8:00pm, and on Monday August 11th at 12:00 midnight. You can also hear Fiction Nation on Sonic Theater, XM 163 on Thursday August 7th at 3:00 pm in its half-hour format. All times EDT.