Eleanor Taylor Bland was nearly fifty before she published her first novel. Born Eleanor Taylor in Boston on New Year’s Eve, 1944, into lower-middle-class circumstances, Bland learned from her cab-driver father and her stay-at-home mother the virtue of stoic patience, the importance of love, a lifelong respect for family, and the importance of a Christian-centered morality. Bland married a sailor when she was only fourteen. When his tour of duty ended, they were stationed in Illinois along Lake Michigan, and they decided to stay. During the mid-1970’s, Bland was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors initially gave her little chance of survival, and she endured a rigorous regimen to combat the disease, an experience that encouraged her to return to school. Although she loved reading and considered English, Bland completed a bachelor’s degree in accounting at Southern Illinois University in 1981 and, after relocating to Waukegan, enjoyed a successful career (1981-1999) as a cost accountant for Abbott Laboratories, the pharmaceutical and health care giant.
In the early 1990’s, Bland, divorced and helping to raise an infant grandson while working full-time, began to read mysteries in her spare time. She was intrigued by police procedurals, finding in their meticulous investigative protocols a parallel to the accounting field. It occurred to her to try writing a procedural centered on the kind of character she knew best: a single African American working mom...
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