ALL WE BURIED by Elena Taylor | #Showcase #Interview #Giveaway

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All We Buried

by Elena Taylor

on Tour September 1-30, 2020


All We Buried by Elena Taylor

For fans of Julia Keller and Sheena Kamal, All We Buried disturbs the long-sleeping secrets of a small Washington State mountain town.

Interim sheriff Elizabeth “Bet” Rivers has always had one repeat nightmare: a shadowy figure throwing a suspicious object into her hometown lake in Collier, Washington. For the longest time, she chalked it up to an overactive imagination as a kid. Then the report arrives. In the woods of the Cascade mountain range, right in her jurisdiction, a body floats to the surface of Lake Collier. When the body is extricated and revealed, no one can identify Jane Doe. But someone must know the woman, so why aren’t they coming forward?

Bet has been sitting as the interim sheriff of this tiny town in the ill-fitting shoes of her late father and predecessor. With the nightmare on her heels, Bet decided to build a life for herself in Los Angeles, but now it’s time to confront the tragic history of Collier. The more she learns, the more Bet realizes she doesn’t know the townspeople of Collier as well as she thought, and nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Crooked Lane
Publication Date: April 7, 2020
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 1643852914 (ISBN13: 9781643852911)
Series: Sheriff Bet Rivers #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Goodreads


Author Bio:

Elena Taylor

Elena Taylor lives on the banks of the middle fork of the Snoqualmie River in a town made famous by Twin Peaks. When she’s not writing or working one-on-one with writers as a developmental editor, she can be found hanging out with her husband, dog, and two cats. Her favorite place to be (besides home) is the stables down the road, with her two horses Radar and Jasper.

Q&A with Elena Taylor

What was the inspiration for this book?

I used to live in a community with a dark, mysterious lake. Every day I drove by and thought about what might be hidden under the water. I heard a story once, that a train engine rested at the bottom. I found the idea fascinating.
The community was also built on coal mining. Several coal mining towns around Washington State went boom, then bust. The one I lived in was much closer to Bellevue than the high ridges of the Cascade Mountain Range. It not only survived, but it turned into a bedroom community a short hop from Bellevue and Seattle.

That got me thinking about what it meant for the towns that didn’t survive and became ghost towns. How the people just vanished.

There are also some small mining towns in the state that did make it, despite their original booms and busts. I liked the idea of creating a town that had that mining background and wasn’t attached to Seattle or Bellevue but managed to survive on its own. That brought me to the creation of Collier, Washington.

Then Bet Rivers arrived fairly fully formed. I just had to figure out what made her tick.

What has been the biggest challenge in your writing career?

Letting other things get in the way. I had an entire career in theater rather than a 100% focus on my writing. But I choose to see those years as helping me develop my writing style and voice. I wouldn’t necessarily change anything, but sometimes I wonder what might have been if I’d fully committed to writing much earlier in life.

What do you absolutely need while writing?

Coffee and my laptop. Almonds are a close second.

Do you adhere to a strict routine when writing or write when the ideas are flowing?

I try to write daily. Typically, I get up and write first thing in the morning. I vary depending on where I am in the process. First draft? Word count goal, usually one to two thousand words a day depending on how well the writing is going. Subsequent drafts? Either a number of pages or specific issues to address. I spend a lot of time in my head with my characters and the plot. This helps me never get “stuck” in the sense of staring at a blank page. I like to mull over what my characters are after and how their wants intersect and crash into each other. I believe that writer’s block is actually just a writer who hasn’t spent enough time thinking about their project. A friend of mine and I came up with the saying “honor the mull” and I try to do that every single day.

Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Schweitzer! I always love the dog best.

Who is your least favorite character from your book and why?

I love all my children equally—ha ha ha. I don’t have any characters I don’t like. The ones who behave badly are what makes it a mystery, so they serve an important purpose. Now, if you asked me if there are any characters that I’d rather not meet in the real world . . . Definitely! But I can’t tell you who or it will give too much away.

Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book?

This book went through a LOT of possible titles and names for the town. When it first landed with my editor at Crooked Lane it was called Resurrection Lake. There’s nothing wrong with the title, but it didn’t capture the tone of the novel quite right. We tossed around a lot of different ideas, list after list of possibilities. I thought about calling the town and its lake Iron Horse (which is a name used in my area, but not a real town or a lake), and a few others.

Then I came up with Collier. A Collier is a term for a coal miner, which has a lot of meaning in the novel. It fit perfectly, so Robert Hatley became Robert Collier and the town changed its name from Resurrection to Collier. I realized it made a lot more sense that the town carried the name of the founder anyway, so that was a happy insight.

Then Peter Malone, my geomorphologist, was originally an ichthyologist. But my conversation with a scientist at the University of Washington showed me I’d picked the wrong type of expert. It’s always interesting to me how often we get close in a draft, but not quite on the money. Changing him to a geomorphologist fit much better with the story.

Then my editor came up with the title All We Buried. My agent and I loved it! We were all amazed it had never been used for a novel before.

I love how things change through rewrites. My editor brought out the best of this book and came up with the title, so I’m very grateful to Jenny Chen. When I go back and look at the first draft that I sent her, I realize how much we improved the overall story. Writers work alone most of the time, but when we do get the opportunity to work with great beta readers and agents and editors, our work can really rise to the next level.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

Thank you for taking chances with new books and new-to-you authors! Whether it’s my book or another writer’s, it’s great that you are interested in the behind-the-scenes of a writer’s life. We work hard on our novels and it’s lovely to have readers interested in the full process. Thank you for being readers, without you our work would languish in various desk drawers around the world. And stay safe! Protect yourself and your loved ones. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in person soon.

Tell us a little about yourself and your background?

I started out in the theater as a playwright, director, and designer/technician. I’ve worn almost every hat in theatre production. I’ve also done a lot of teaching, mostly on the college/university level. My favorite thing to do is hang out with my horses, whether riding or groundwork or just spending time listening to them graze (one of the greatest sounds in the world). I love to travel, which has been the hardest part about lockdown, as I had to cancel a lot of in-person events. But I’m a realist and am confident about a return to travel and hanging out in coffee shops with the perfect cappuccino in 2021.

What’s next that we can look forward to?

Fingers crossed it will be book two of the Sheriff Bet Rivers Mysteries! I’d love to have you follow me on social media for updates. I also do a newsletter that goes out once a month. If you would like to sign up, visit me at and scroll down to the bottom. Or shoot me an email at and I’ll be happy to add you. I write about what I’m reading, writing tips, book giveaways, and often post photos of my various animals. That will be the first place to learn about my next publication and get an early glimpse of the opening chapter.

Catch Up With Elena Taylor On:, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!


Read an excerpt:


Sheriff Bet Rivers leaned back in her chair and gazed out the office window at the shifting light on Lake Collier. Bright sun- light cast up sparkling diamonds as a late-summer breeze chopped the surface—turquoise-blue and silver. The fragment of a song from her childhood teased her mind—silver, blue, and gold. She hummed the tune under her breath.

Red and yellow leaves turned the maple trees in the park across the street into Jackson Pollock paintings. Hard to believe Labor Day weekend ended tonight. Somehow summer had slipped by and fall had snuck up on her as she tended to her new position.

If she had still been in Los Angeles, she’d have been a detective by now. Instead, she was back in her tiny hometown with a job her father had tricked her into taking.

“I need you to cover for me while I get chemo,” he said. “It’s just for a few months. I’m going to be fine.”

With the detective exam available only once every two years, it meant putting her career on hold. But her father had never asked her for anything; how could she say no?

He never said he would die, turning her “interim sheriff” position into something more permanent.

Her father always knew what cards to play. Competition. Family. Responsibility. Loyalty. Collier. A perfect straight. He’d used them all this time, as if he’d known it would be his last hand. No easy way to extricate herself now, short of gnawing off her own foot.

The sound of instruments tuning up pulled her attention to a trio set up at a bench outside the market across the street. The raised sidewalk and false front of the old building made the perfect backdrop for their performance. Collier relied on tourism for much of its income, and the local musicians encouraged visitors to stay longer and spend more.

A beat of silence followed by a quick intake of breath, the unspoken communication of musicians well attuned to one another, and the trio launched into song.

Church of a different sort. Bet could hear her father’s words. I don’t know if there’s a God, Bet, but I do believe in bluegrass.

The music produced a soundtrack to her grief. The banjo player favored the fingerpicking style of the great Earl Scruggs. Loss etched in the sound of three-part harmony, Earle Rivers’s death still a wound that wouldn’t close.

She recognized the fiddle player. She’d babysat him years ago. It made her feel old. Not yet thirty, she wasn’t, but as the last generation of Lake Collier Riverses, the weight of history fell heavy on her shoulders. In a line of sheriffs stretching back to the town’s founding, she was the bitter end.

Looking down at her desk, Bet eyed the new fly she’d tied. The small, barbless hook would work well for the catch-and-release fishing she did, and the bright yellow and green feathers pleased her. The only thing she’d missed while living in California. Surf fishing wasn’t the same.

I should name it in your memory, Dad. The Earle fly. Her grand- father had named him after Scruggs, but her grandmother added the e because she liked how it looked.

Bet imagined her father’s critical response to her work, the size of the hook too dainty for his memorial.

Bet “spoke” with her father more now, four months after his death, than she’d ever done when he lived. Another burden she carried. The conversations they’d never had. Things she should have asked but didn’t.

She took a deep breath of the dry, pine scent that drifted in through the open windows, filling the room with a heady summer perfume. She should get up and walk around, let the com- munity see she was on the job, but her body felt leaden. And it wasn’t like anyone would notice. She could vanish for hours and it wouldn’t matter to Collier; no one required her attention. Not like they had depended on her father. His death still hung over town like a malaise, her presence an insufficient cure no matter what Earle might have believed when he called her home.

Before her father’s illness, she’d had a plan. First the police academy, then patrol officer, proving she could make it in Los Angeles as a cop. She’d envisioned at least twenty years in LA, moving up the ranks—something with Chief in the title— returning home with a long, impressive career before stepping into Earle’s shoes.

Too late, she’d realized he wouldn’t get better. He’d brought her home for good.

Stretching her arms above her head, she walked her fingers up the wall behind her, tapping to the beat of the music. Anything to shake off the drowsiness brought on by the hot, quiet day and long nights of uneasy sleep.

The coffee stand beckoned from across the street, but the sound of the front door opening and the low, throaty voice of the department’s secretary, Alma, stopped her from voyaging out. A two-pack-a-day smoker for almost forty years, Alma sounded a lot like Lauren Bacall after a night of heavy drinking. She’d given up smoking more than twenty years ago, but even now, as she edged into her seventies, Alma’s voice clung to the roughness like a dying man to a life preserver. Bet hoped the visitor only wanted information about the community and Alma could answer.

No such luck. The efficient clop of Alma’s square-heeled shoes clumped down the scarred floors of the hallway, a counterpoint to another set of feet. Bet brought her hands down off the wall and automatically tucked a wayward curl of her auburn hair back up under her hat before Alma arrived, poking her birdlike head around the wooden frame of the door. Gray hair teased tall, as if that would give her five-foot frame a couple extra inches.

“Bet?” Alma always said her name as though it might not be Bet Rivers sitting behind the enormous sheriff’s desk. Bet assumed Alma wished to find Earle Rivers there. She wondered how long that would last. If Bet threw the upcoming election and fled back to Southern California, leaving her deputy to pick up the reins, maybe everyone would be better off, no matter what her father wanted.

“Yes, Alma?” “I think you’d better listen to what this young man has to say.” The “young man” in question could be anywhere under the age of sixty in Alma’s book, and as he stood out of sight down the hallway, Bet had little to go on.

“Okay,” Bet said.

“I think it’s important.” Alma waited for Bet to show appropriate attention. “Okay.”

“Seems he found a dead body floating in the lake.”


Excerpt from All We Buried by Elena Taylor. Copyright 2020 by Elena Taylor. Reproduced with permission from Elena Taylor. All rights reserved.



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