'You sit in your cabin and think of murder': Writer Ellen Hart on a lifetime of mysteries and murder

The Minnesota-based author adds another award to an already storied career

In the summer of 1987, inspiration struck for Ellen Hart and she began writing her first mystery novel. Over thirty years and three dozen novels later, she's become one of the most prolific and respected mystery writers in the business.

For Hart, mystery novels have continued to capture our imagination because they provide a comfort unique to the genre.

An author holds up a maginfying glass as if inspecting something.
Minnesota-based writer Ellen Hart has captivated readers for over thirty years with iconic characters such as Jane Lawless and Sophie Greenway.
Courtesy of Ellen Hart

“You know that when you come to a mystery novel, you come upon a world in chaos. By the end of that novel, you know that you’re going to achieve some kind of resolution.”

Many readers have also found comfort in Hart’s iconic lesbian character Jane Lawless. But at the time, she was worried that having a lesbian lead character would mean she “would probably never get published.”

She’s gone on to receive six Lambda Literary awards for her Jane Lawless novels. And she will add a Lifetime Achievement Award at this year’s Bouchercon mystery writers' convention.

Ahead of this weekend’s celebrations, she reflected on her craft and career with MPR News host Tom Crann.

Hear the full conversation with Ellen Hart by using the audio player above.

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