Who says thrillers need to be set in Washington, DC, Moscow, Hong Kong or Istanbul? Don’t exciting and mysterious things happen in small cities around the world? JT Ellison, a New York Times best-selling thriller novelist and our RJ Julia Author Spotlight for December, certainly thinks so. Her 12 critically-acclaimed novels mostly take place in Nashville, Tenn., a far cry from the gritty world capitals that tend to dominate the genre.
A former presidential appointee in the White House and U.S. Department of Commerce and government contractor, JT has brought big-city insight to the small town. She has studied forensics and crime and participated in ridealongs with the Metro Nashville Police Department and the FBI to give more realism to her stories. She’s even observed autopsies and has studied survivalists, ensuring that she gets every detail right.
JT will be mapping her Lieutenant Taylor Jackson series and Dr. Samantha Owens series over the course of the month, sharing interesting insight about each place with her readers—including this tidbit about the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville: “This is one of my favorite places in Nashville. I love the Oak Bar, and learned how to drink scotch here. I like Talisker, by the way.”
Cheers, JT! We’re all looking forward to exploring the dark corners of your hometown of Nashville. Check out JT’s map here.
We don’t toss around the term “map nerd” very often around here at Placing Literature headquarters. We reserve it for those who truly love geography and the innovative ways that maps allow you to deliver content. Whether it’s a map of languages spoken across India or a map of Hardee’s in the state of Texas, maps can convey data and information in a way that text, pie graphs and line charts never can. For us, loving maps is cool, and “map nerd” has become a kind of term of endearment around our office.
CJ Lyons, our IndieReader Author Spotlight for July, is a map nerd in every sense of the term. She grew up with maps lining her bedroom walls, marking places she’d been (mostly near her hometown in central Pennsylvania) and places where she wanted to one day visit. So when CJ left a career as a pediatric ER doctor to pursue writing full time she did what she knows best. She opened a map and started telling stories about the places she’d lived.
Now author of 21 novels and a New York Times and USA Today bestseller, CJ is considered the queen of the rust-belt thriller. For our international users, the rust belt runs along the edge of the Appalachian Mountains through New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee. It’s where much of the U.S. coal deposits are mined and home to a tough as nails type of American. Fittingly, it’s the perfect place to set her popular Lucy Guardino thriller series.
CJ is mapping the places from her novels over the next 30 days, and you can hear the excitement in her voice as she talks to Tim Knox in her Placing Literature podcast. She’s almost giddy talking about maps and the process of mapping her novels, and you get the sense that she would have eventually created Placing Literature if we hadn’t already had the idea.
Check out CJ’s map on PlacingLiterature.com and check back throughout the month to see more places that she has mapped.