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Fanbase Press Interviews Elka Ray on the Upcoming Release of the Psychological Thriller, ‘A Friend Indeed,’ Through Blackstone Publishing

The following is an interview with Elka Ray regarding the upcoming release of the psychological thriller novel, A Friend Indeed, through Blackstone Publishing. In this interview, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief Barbra Dillon chats with Ray about her creative process in crafting the murder mystery, what readers may take away from the story, and more!

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the upcoming release of A Friend Indeed! For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about the story’s premise?

Elka Ray: If your best friend called in the middle of the night, sobbing, would you race over to support her? What if she’d killed someone—with a valid reason? Would you help her dispose of the body?

When Jo rushes to Dana’s house, she finds Dana’s domineering husband dead—murdered. Dana convinces Jo not to call the cops. Jo loves—and owes—Dana. She has to help her. What ensues is a tale of tough choices, snowballing secrets, and loyalty stretched to its limits.

BD: How would you describe your creative process in crafting this murder mystery? It’s always thrilling to follow mystery stories as the reader, but I would imagine that crafting the narrative and staying 3 steps ahead of your reader is quite the challenge!

ER: Some time ago I saw a meme about being a good-enough friend to help someone hide a dead body. It got me thinking: Who would I help? My oldest childhood friend came to mind. If she’d killed someone, there would have to be a justifiable reason. Such as? The answer to that question led to a story. Two characters took shape—Jo, a struggling single mom, and Dana, her longtime friend, now fabulously wealthy.

Once I had the premise, I turned Jo and Dana loose and stalked them.

Elka Ray

As much as I’d love to be a plotter, I’m a pantser at heart. I start with a premise and characters, plus a vague sense of where the story’s headed. While I thought I knew whodunnit in this story, I was wrong. Discovering the tale as I write it keeps things fresh and exciting. At the end of the first draft, I went back and realized I’d inserted clues right from the start that hinted at the real culprit. It’s almost as if my subconscious knew the truth before my conscious writing mind caught up.

BD: At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Jo and Dana’s story may connect with and impact readers?

ER: As well as being an entertaining mystery, the book examines the widening gap between the haves and have nots. It brings home how precariously many people are living—from paycheck to paycheck, with no safety net if they’re struck by illness or job loss. When you’re living in survival mode, it’s easier to make bad choices. As they’re swept along in the story, I hope readers will consider what kind of society they want to live in.

BD: What makes Blackstone Publishing the perfect home for this story?

ER: Blackstone has been brilliant in everything from editing to cover design to audiobook creation. I got really lucky. They are totally professional and detail-oriented. It’s also a huge personal thrill to see my book come out with the same house that published some of my favorite authors, like Dervla McTiernan and Catherine Ryan Howard. Finally, I’ve loved connecting with some of Blackstone’s newer Suspense authors like Lisa Kusel and Lori Brandt. P.S.: Their books are original and brilliant!

BD: Are there any other upcoming projects on which you are working that you are able to share with our readers?

ER: I have a couple of work-in-progress pots on the boil, one a locked-room mystery, set on a mountaintop during a blizzard, and the other an even more twisted A Friend Indeed-style tale of a suburban mom, daughter, and auntie involved in a corpse-hiding coverup. I love taking a familiar Suspense trope and crafting a story that’s as unexpected as possible.

BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell fans who want to learn more about A Friend Indeed and your other work?

ER: First of all, thank you for reading! I have a website at and am occasionally on FB, X and Threads. The best place to find me online is on Instagram, where I love to chat about books, writing, and the ups and downs of living a creative life.

Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief




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