This book is out today! Happy book birthday to ONE LITTLE WORD. 📖
Allegra Hudson was murdered.An anonymous “source” drops the note into recently widowed Madeleine Barton’s lap exactly when she needs it most. As a new single mother, she is struggling to make ends meet as a freelance reporter, and covering the mysterious death of local bestselling author Allegra Hudson could be the career-launching story of her dreams.
Working with Allegra’s grieving husband, Connor, Madeleine plunges down the rabbit hole of the writer’s privileged life. The deeper she digs, the more dirt she finds: a conniving best friend, a stalker ex-boyfriend, and a marriage in shambles. The closer Madeleine gets to the truth, the murkier the waters become.
Her source’s looming presence and constant meddling in her investigation paired with her growing bond with Connor over their shared grief have blinded her to the facts, but nothing explains why Allegra Hudson’s life feels so familiar. Only one thing is certain: Madeleine can trust no one.
One Little Word is a deliciously clever game of cat-and-mouse with a completely unexpected twist.
"It's not easy to hit me with a twist I don't see coming, but Audra McElyea did it in One Little Word, a clever and compelling tale from an author to watch." - Kimberly Belle, USA Today bestselling author of The Marriage Lie
"One Little Word is a riveting suspense novel packed with sharp turns and unexpected twists. Single mother and widow Madeleine Barton is the perfect protagonist, capturing your heart and bringing you along for this crazy, thrilling ride. Audra McElyea is one to watch!" - Samantha Downing, #1 internationally bestselling author of My Lovely Wife
Q & A with Audra ~
Tell us a little about yourself and how you started writing.
Well, I’m a wife, mom to two energetic little boys, and my background is as a corporate buyer for clothing and jewelry, so I haven’t always been a writer. I could probably write another novel about the road to my debut. Haha. But I won’t, don’t worry.
I felt like God was calling me to be a writer about eleven years ago, and I kept saying no by doing everything *except* learning to be a writer. But after a year or so of everything else blowing up in my face (I can laugh about it now) I finally said OKAY, and he blessed me with many mentors who helped me learn what to do/what not to do during my years spent working on my first novel, When Lilies Bloom. That novel eventually got shelved, but I learned so much through that experience, and I can honestly say I absolutely love writing more than any other job I’ve ever done. I didn’t get my agent or publisher until I started shopping One Little Word around many years later. All it takes is years of constant perseverance…no big deal, right?
What are some things you enjoy when not writing?
I enjoy working out (as strange as that sounds, I know), reading, watching movies and TV, listening to music, canoeing, playing badminton, and hiking (if it’s not too cold). My husband is a huge outdoorsman, and my little boys have endless energy, so anything active we can do with them is always a plus.
How do you start your day (a routine of sorts?)
First thing’s first, I get the boys up and ready for school. This is often the most difficult part of the day as none of us are morning people. Then, when I get back home, I do a Bible study, workout, and then dive into whatever work I have going on. Sometimes I’m in marketing and public relations-mode for a book that’s upcoming, and other times I’m in editing and writing-mode. No matter which mode I’m in, the work keeps me busy until it’s time to grab the boys from school.
Finish this: “I can’t write without…”
Tazo Zen Green Tea. I like coffee but coffee doesn’t like me. So, my favorite drink ever is always Tazo Zen Green Tea.
Where do you get your ideas?
One Little Word actually came to me in a dream played out like a movie in its entirety and is the only book I’ve written out of four to do so. It was a gift. Thanks for that, God! I woke up and jotted the main plot down and thanked the Lord because I knew I didn’t come up with that crazy plot myself. I was so excited I wrote the first draft in one month. I’ve never written any book as quickly as I did One Little Word.
For all my other books, I’ve just been inspired by compilations of movies and books I’ve seen and loved throughout my life. As a kid I was obsessed with Nancy Drew, Scooby-Doo, and later everything Alfred Hitchcock. So, I’ve always loved to solve a good mystery, and I also like to come up with my own.
Do you have a manuscript(s) in your drawer? If so, will it ever see the light of day?
I like to work a few books ahead, so right now I’m editing two more books I’ve completed while outlining another one. Counterplay is next, and will hopefully release in 2023, but I don’t have a release date from my publisher quite yet. I describe it as Gone Girl meets You meets Dear Wife. It’s a darker book than One Little Word for sure, but just as twisty and thrilling.
I do have one book in a drawer to speak. The one I mentioned earlier, When Lilies Bloom. Never say never, but I have no immediate plans to resurrect that one.
Do you have a go-to first reader after you feel your manuscript is ready?
I have an author friend who always provides brilliant feedback. Her name is Jennifer Klepper and she is an amazing writer and advice-giver. If that’s a word, haha. I don’t know what I’d do without her, she’s so great.
Is there a particular author or book that inspired your writing or decision to write?
Emily Giffin really inspired me to write because whenever I read her books, I felt like her voice was similar to what mine would be. I had no idea where to start, but I knew I wanted to try to write a book one day down the road. Safe Haven, by Nicholas Sparks, really got my wheels turning years with the twist at the end, because at that point as a reader I hadn’t really gotten into the suspense/thriller genre yet and when I read it, I knew if/when I wrote a book, I wanted to write something suspenseful.
Is anything in your book based on real-life experiences?
For sure the anxiety disorder that Madeleine experiences at times is something I’ve dealt with my whole life. Although our experiences are quite different, it was important for me to include that struggle in the book. Hopefully others can relate.
Do you have a favorite character?
I wouldn’t say he’s my favorite character, but Lane Stone in One Little Word is by far one of the most complicated characters I’ve written. You never know what to expect from him.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Honestly, to survive in this industry you must love writing and telling stories. If you check that box off, then you must have undying levels of persistence to be traditionally published. Then, if you’re still kicking after all that and still love writing, then writing may be for you. It’s not easy, but your best allies are other authors. The best part of this industry is your fellow authors. Never in my life have I seen and experienced such kindness from other people in the “workplace”. Don’t be afraid to reach out to other authors for help, the worst they can say is no. Find a writing group like WFWA, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, etc. to begin with, and start sharing your work with others in those groups. Honest, brutal feedback is your best-friend going forward if you truly want to grow as a writer.
Favorite band or music?
I’m pretty well-rounded. I love Taylor Swift, The Lumineers, One Republic, Imagine Dragons, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Mumford & Sons, Linkin Park, Ed Sheeran, Pink, Aerosmith, and Selena Gomez.
Favorite book and/or movie?
Well, the Bible is first. But my all-time favorite fiction novel so far is The Seven and 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. It’s absolutely brilliant and one-of-a-kind.
As far as movies go, there are so many, but Vertigo and About Time are my current favorites.
Place you’d like to travel?
So many places! I’d love to go to Edinburgh, Mykonos, Amsterdam, London, New York (again), Switzerland…basically all of Europe!
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers and fans?
Just thank-you to anyone who took the time to read One Little Word. And please, leave a review on Goodreads and Amazon, it helps authors much more than you realize.
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