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Julie McElwain is an American author that writes historical mysteries. Before writing fiction, the former reporter worked as a freelancer for various publications.
Order of Kendra Donovan Series
McElwain started writing in fourth grade when she discovered Nancy Drew. The avid reader spent her childhood consuming fiction. However, she chose to study fashion design in college. A journalism course changed everything.
McElwain had a passion for writing. But she did not realize that she could make money from the activity until she joined the student newspaper. After graduating from North Dakota State University (Double Major in Textiles, Clothing, and Print Journalism), she joined the fashion industry.
But even after jumping to the entertainment industry, McElwain’s desire to write fiction never waned. Her first novel was ‘A Murder in Time.’ She was inspired to write the story after giving the 14-year-old son of a friend an old TV set, the kind that had a dial.
The boy was brilliant. And yet, when the channel on the old TV changed, he failed to switch it back. The event amused the author because it showed her that most people couldn’t get by without the technological advancements to which they were accustomed.
People in the 21st Century thought they were smarter than their ancient ancestors, but the author doubted that they could survive alone in a historical setting. Eventually, she created Kendra Donovan, an FBI agent whose quest for justice led her to the past.
McElwain chose to send Kendra to 1815 because the year mirrors the 21st Century in many ways. War was on the horizon. The industrial revolution introduced machines that threatened to steal the jobs of the working class. The wealth gap was growing with each passing day.
The author couldn’t ask for a better setting for her historical mysteries. She researched the period extensively, buying every reference book on the Regency era she could find.
Additionally, McElwain delved into the physics of time travel. She wanted to inject as much accuracy into her story as possible. She enjoyed writing the book because it gave her an opportunity to show how a person with modern sensibilities would survive in the past.
‘A Murder in Time’ did well enough that the author wrote more novels in the series.
McElwain doesn’t plan her novels. She doesn’t want to outline the chapters ahead of time because the practice makes the writing process dull. McElwain wants her characters to surprise her, and for the story to take turns she did not expect.
She knows that this approach makes her vulnerable to writer’s block. But it has worked for her thus far. The author is happiest when she has large chunks of uninterrupted time to write. But she is rarely in a position to write for hours on end without interruption.
Julie McElwain Awards
She has received Goodreads Readers’ Choice Award nominations.
Best Julie McElwain Books
A Murder In Time: Kendra Donovan’s career took a turn for the worst when a raid went wrong. She lost several colleagues. Infuriated, she went rogue, chasing her target to England. Kendra wanted justice. But things went wrong once more.
Somehow, Kendra was stranded in 1815. The people who found her thought she was a lady’s maid. Kendra played along because she had to blend in, at least until she found a way to return home.
But 1815 was far from safe. A girl was dead. Her body was found on the grounds of the estate. Despite her desire to escape 1815, Kendra could not ignore her duty. Someone had committed murder, and she wouldn’t stop until she found them.
A Twist in Time: Kendra was stuck in 1815. She had tried and failed to return home. But the FBI agent couldn’t afford to wallow in self-pity. Lady Dover was dead, and Alec, Kendra’s lover and confidante was the prime suspect.
Lady Dover was Alec’s former lover. People were convinced that he had stabbed the woman with a stiletto. But Kendra had no intention of sitting back and watching as Alec was punished for a crime he did not commit.
Lady Dover’s closet was full of secrets. She had plenty of enemies. Kendra had to locate the correct suspect before it was too late.
When Does The Next Julie McElwain book come out?
Julie McElwain doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Ripples in Time and was released on February, 28th 2023. It is the newest book in the Kendra Donovan Series.