FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Natalie Ellis started writing when she was in the fourth grade.
“I used to write what I called my ‘little stories’ and I just kept writing more and more,” Ellis, whose married name is Natalie Eggeman, said.
Over the years, she’s written seven books. Her eighth, “Fear for Hire,” is putting her on the official published author map.
“This is what I’ve dreamed of for 20 years,” she said.
The Fort Wayne writer stuck to what she knew and set the book in the Summit City. There are several references to actual places and streets.
“I didn’t want to have to struggle with specifics. This book was perfect for the Fort Wayne market because I had worked here in this market in television. The main character, [Molly], is a reporter and wanted to move on to Chicago. It’s crazy; you never move from Fort Wayne to Chicago. It’s the number three market. But, I wanted her to have a lofty dream,” Ellis said.
“Fear for Hire” is a suspenseful romantic-mystery that starts when Molly, the reporter, gets kidnapped by mistake. The plot takes several twists and turns as the characters try to find out who’s behind the kidnapping. CLICK HERE TO READ A LONGER PLOT SYNOPSIS. The premise actually came from a bizarre real news story where people were kidnapping others as a practical joke. (Watch the video above for an extended interview with Ellis where she talks more about the plot and writing the book.)
“I thought that’s crazy. Who would think that was funny and then the wheels started turning and I thought, ‘What if I wrote about that,'” Ellis said.
It only took about six months for her to write the first draft. Her goal is to always make each book better than her last.
“I try to make the characters three-dimensional and I have some quotes from HarperCollins on my website saying they did enjoy the characters and they were deep characters. To me, that’s the biggest compliment of them all because that was the hardest thing for me to do to not write the stereotypical characters,” Ellis said.
HarperCollins Publishers allows authors without agents to submit samples of their work online on Wednesdays only. Ellis submitted the first three chapters of “Fear for Hire” and the rest, as they say, was history.