Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NBtM: What You Don't Know by Elka Ray

What You Don't Know
by Elka Ray


GENRE:  Suspense/crime/short stories



An American lawyer dreams of killing his trophy wife in Thailand. A Vietnamese soldier goes mad in a haunted forest. A bereaved mother's trip to Cambodia ends in tragedy - or does it? 

Take a spine-tingling journey from the jungles of Sumatra through Bangkok's seedy bars to the seemingly sedate streets of Singapore. Your traveling companions are a slew of dark emotions - fear, grief, jealousy, greed, lust and revenge. And your destination? 

With flashes of black humor and hard-to-forget characters, these ten stories shine light into the dark corners of Southeast Asia.


Excerpt Two:

It’s the quality of light that I notice first, for I have broken free of the foliage and reached the river. Although it's dark, it is slightly less dark than it was under the tree canopy. I turn and see the darker shadow of our boat. The baby’s cries seem to have ceased. Relief floods over me.

I wade through the shallows, stumbling with fatigue. The rocks are loose and slippery.

The boat is as it was when I left, still listing to one side, a rope tying it to a thick branch. I stagger towards it. I am about ten feet from the boat when I trip, my foot striking something hard yet yielding. In my panic, I fall forward, my hand touching something smooth and slippery.

It takes a moment to register, and even when I realize what it is, my mind rejects it. That cannot be Chau’s head bobbing with the current. It cannot be his hair brushing against my arms, or his bulging eyes staring up at me.

My voice seems to have left me.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

At the age of eleven, Elka Ray co-founded the Double Trouble Detective Agency. She’s been on the lookout for mysteries ever since. Elka’s latest book, “What You Don’t Know: Tales of Obsession, Mystery & Murder in Southeast Asia”, takes readers on a darkly suspenseful tour of the Far East. Her first novel, a fast-paced romantic adventure titled “Hanoi Jane”, was published by Marshall Cavendish in English and DT Books in Vietnamese. Elka’s next novel, the thriller “Saigon Dark”, will come out with Crimewave Press in November 2016. Elka is also the author and illustrator of a popular series of bilingual kids’ picture books about Vietnam.
Elka divides her time between Hoi An in Central Vietnam and Canada’s scenic Vancouver Island. When she’s not writing, drawing or reading she’s in - or near -the ocean.

Contact: Email Elka at

Agent: Elka is represented by Amy Tipton at Signature Literary Agency

Elka Ray’s website:

Elka Ray Facebook Author Page:

Elka Ray on Twitter:

Elka Ray on Goodreads:

Amazon buy link:
Interview with Elka Ray

Where do you get inspiration for your stories?

The stories in my latest book, What You Don’t Know: Ten Tales of Obsession, Mystery and Murder in Southeast Asia, were inspired by the 20-plus years I’ve spent living and working in Asia. I write fiction, so these aren’t “true” stories, but the plots and characters grow out of conversations I overhear, short news articles I read, or any incident that makes me think “what if…” For instance, many years ago I worked for a man in his seventies who encouraged young female employees to sit on his knee during meetings. Seriously! That was creepy enough but I imagined him taking it further, then wrote the story “Jungle” about a young reporter’s revenge on her pervert boss.

How did you do research for your book?

The 10 stories in this collection are set in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and Indonesia - all places where I’ve lived or traveled. When it comes to killing characters off, I don’t know how crime writers survived before Google. Let’s hope I’m never suspected of a real crime because my search history is highly suspicious: lethal drug combinations, mortal knife wounds, how deep to bury a body, etc.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

As well as writing fiction, I work part time as a magazine editor and travel writer. Fiction-wise, while adult mysteries are my main focus, I’ve published three kids’ picture books about Vietnam that I also illustrated. My illustrations also appear on souvenirs and greeting cards.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

I wouldn’t. Like many people, I doubt I’d have survived infancy without antibiotics, which weren’t discovered until 1928. My daughter was in the neonatal ICU and my son had pneumonia twice by age three. I think many people focus on the romance of the past while forgetting that life was typically short, painful and tragic.
My paternal family, the Rays, hail from a small village in the south of England. The local graveyard has Ray tombstones from the 1500s. I found one horrifying headstone for Hannah Ray from the 1700s that read: “Preceded by her 12 children”. Hannah’s only child to survive toddlerhood died at twenty-one.
I feel lucky to have been born and raised in an era of relative peace - touch wood - in a prosperous and progressive part of the world.

What is your next project?

I always have multiple projects brewing. I’m working on a romantic mystery set on Canada’s Vancouver Island, where I grew up; a Middle Grade mystery that takes place in a creepy summer camp; and a couple of picture books. New ideas for dark short stories keep popping up too.



Elka Ray will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I really enjoyed reading your interview, thank you!

  2. Your story about Hannah Ray is so sad. We really should count our blessings every day.

  3. Great post, I enjoyed both the excerpt and interview :)

  4. If you could choose one of your books to be made into a movie which would it be and why?

  5. What made you want to become a writer?

  6. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose?

  7. What do you love most about the writing process?

  8. What is your favorite part of the book?

  9. Have you written any other books that are not published?

  10. Back from vacation and back to posting and sharing

  11. Congrats on the new book and good luck on the book tour!

  12. Excellent interview! Looking forward to checking this book out!

  13. Where is your favorite spot to read?

  14. Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! Looking forward to checking out this book!

  15. I stopped in to share the post.

  16. The tour is coming to an end I hope my blog has helped in some way.