Interview: Author ‘Ellison Cooper Talks Her Debut Novel Caged

A dual Irish/American citizen, Ellison Cooper was born just outside of Washington DC where she grew up among senators and supreme court justices. She has a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA, with a background in archaeology, cultural neuroscience, ancient religion, colonialism, and human rights. She conducted her fieldwork primarily in Central America where she lived in a tent in the jungles of Belize for nine years while searching for lost Maya ruins. She has also done research in Micronesia, West Africa, and at the University of London, Institute of Historical Research. Ellison’s academic work has been published in a variety of journals including the prestigious Cambridge Archaeological Journal. She has been invited to present her research around the world.

Before graduate school, Ellison briefly attended Georgetown Law School and worked as a murder investigator for the Washington DC Public Defenders Service where she gained an insiders view of the criminal justice system. In addition, she is a Wilderness K9 Search and Rescue volunteer certified as a Federal Disaster Worker for the Incident Command System.

Ellison began writing fiction while conducting research on the island of Yap, Micronesia but it wasn’t until she left her job as Assistant Professor to care for her ill son that she actually finished a novel. After multiple rewrites, that novel eventually became Caged. Ellison’s short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies including Crime & Mystery from Flame Tree Press, as well as in various magazines such as Interzone and Daily Science Fiction. She now lives in the beautiful Bay Area with her husband and son.

Check out her website here, Facebook, and Twitter. The book is in stores on Tuesday, July 10. You can listen to the interview below.

FBI neuroscientist Sayer Altair hunts for evil in the deepest recesses of the human mind. Still reeling from the death of her fiancé, she wants nothing more than to focus on her research into the brains of serial killers. But when the Washington D.C. police stumble upon a gruesome murder scene involving a girl who was slowly starved to death while held captive in a cage, Sayer is called in to lead the investigation. When the victim is identified as the daughter of a high profile senator, Sayer is thrust into the spotlight.

As public pressure mounts, she discovers that another girl has been taken and is teetering on the brink of death. With evidence unraveling around her, Sayer races to save the second victim but soon realizes that they are hunting a killer with a dangerous obsession…a killer who is closer than she thought.

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