Guest Post and Interview with Ross Eliot, Author of Babette

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Today, Ross Eliot, author of Babette is guest posting and he has agreed to a mini-interview. His book: Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth is a fascinating read. I’m halfway through it and it’s one of those stories that’s hard to put down and it’s also hard to decide what is real and what isn’t. It’s almost like watching a car accident. You don’t want to look, but you can’t stop.


Babette: The Many Lives, Two Deaths and Double Kidnapping of Dr. Ellsworth

By Ross Eliot

Genre: Memoir, LGBTQ/ Trans Nonfiction, NW History


This narrative begins in 1998 when, in his early twenties, Ross Eliot relocates to Portland, Oregon and eventually the basement pantry of a grand house owned by Dr. Babette Ellsworth, an arcane history professor.

Her past unfolds in stories, from the 1928 kidnapping in central Washington carried out by a mysterious wealthy French woman, to life in occupied Europe during World War II with the Czarist assassin of Rasputin a frequent houseguest. The professor’s later life experiences in America only create more intrigue, from teenage prostitution to her late-life sex reassignment, involvement with the Catholic Church and connections to Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, whose cult perpetrated a notorious 1984 bio-terror attack in Oregon.

Eliot cares for Dr. Ellsworth until her death in 2002 before an entire class of students, however, the shroud covering her story has only partially raised and murkier secrets than ever suspected emerge. Part memoir, part mystery, part history lesson– this true tale binds drama from classic Greek tragedy together with revelations worthy of the most bizarre fiction. From gender and sexuality to religious theory and existential philosophy, it’s an unorthodox love saga between pupil and mentor, yet also for the city of Portland where they live.

The Guest Post:

Here’s a link to Ross’s guest post. My apologies that I am providing a link instead of including it in the body of the post. It was sent over as a PDF and WordPress is only allowing me to upload it as a link. Here is it: guest article

Mini Interview:

How did you decide to write this memoir?

I had to write this book because I compulsively document exciting or strange parts of my life, and the years I spent living in my history professor’s pantry were without a doubt the weirdest times I ever had. No journal or diary entry could do the adventures justice, it had to become a book.

What was the most difficult part about writing this book? The most gratifying?

It was often difficult reconstructing dialogue to make the story flow. I was helped because Babette had such a strong personality that her words stuck in my brain verbatim, even years later. The hard part was that I’m primarily an academic writer and dialogue just isn’t something I’d ever done previously. The most gratifying part was actually picking out quotes. It’s been said by some reviewers that Portland is the 3rd main character in the book, but I actually feel Babette’s library fills that role. Books were her true love, especially old French novels, and I decided to begin each chapter with brief selections from her favorite writers that would fit the theme. It just felt so right adding those elements.

If you can remember the first time you met Dr. Ellsworth, what three words would you use to describe her? What about now? 

Then: What the hell? Now: Still a mystery…

How has your life changed since writing this memoir? 

In practical ways I feel much more at peace. This was such a longtime project that it’s been awesome to finally work on other things, like remodeling my bathroom or seeing friends more. At the same time, I’m overflowing with absolute joy now that I can share Babette with the world. Publication has really enabled her story to become a difficult, troublesome, yet essential part of queer literature and I think she would have loved that.

Author Info

RossRoss Eliot is a writer, roofer, auto mechanic, DJ and commercial fisherman based in Portland, Oregon and Sitka, Alaska.  He is best known as publisher and editor of the critically acclaimed counterculture gun politics magazine American Gun Culture Report from 2006-2011 and the current internet journal Occupy the 2nd Amendment.


His links:





About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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26 Responses to Guest Post and Interview with Ross Eliot, Author of Babette

  1. Colline says:

    Sounds like an i teresting story TB.

  2. This does sound very interesting, and with all his varied occupations I would imagine he has many more interesting stories to tell as well.

  3. What an unusual story. Congratulations Ross for being willing to tackle it.

  4. cleemckenzie says:

    This sounds like a fascinating story. I’m adding it to my 2015 list.

  5. Fascinating. I like people with character. This sounds riveting. 🙂

  6. Wow this sounds like a fascinating memoir. Great to meet Ross and learn about the book.

  7. This sounds like an interesting memoir. Thanks for the introduction, TB!

  8. Sherry Ellis says:

    I agree with everyone else’s comments – it sounds like a fascinating read.

  9. cheriereich says:

    Congrats, Ross! Sounds like a page-turning read!

  10. This sure sounds mysterious. I’ll add it on Goodreads.

  11. What an interesting read. Thanks for sharing and good luck to Ross.

  12. This sounds unique and fascinating. When I first started to read about the book I didn’t realize that it was a memoir. Then I went back and reread the synopsis once I knew that. Wow! Ross has written an interesting book for sure. I am very curious about it. Thanks for sharing!

  13. Brian Fitzgerald says:

    I read this book last year and I have to say it’s a wonderfully entertaining read.

  14. I love meeting other authors, even if just through your blog. Nice!!

  15. I love this title. I don’t think I’ve ever been drawn to the title of a memoir like this before.

  16. emaginette says:

    Ģoes to show that the weirdest things are true. 🙂

  17. Sounds like one of those books that will enrich a reader’s mind!

  18. Ross Eliot says:

    Thanks, all. If you take the time to read it, I promise you won’t be bored…

  19. Absolutely fascinating. I bet readers are going to gobble this book up. Best of luck. I think this book is going to do very well.

  20. Chrys Fey says:

    Wow! This sounds different and interesting. Wishing you all the best of luck, Ross!

  21. Terrific interview! This book really sounds good. Too good, dammit. Yep, I just bought it. Mission accomplished, y’all. (I hope you are satisfied! HA!)

  22. lexacain says:

    This was fascinating. I loved the guest article, especially the old pics of Prof. Ellsworth. What a shocking life she had, and what an unusual person! Congrats to Ross! I wish him much success! 🙂

  23. Congratulations Ross, and wishing you much success in 2015!!!

  24. mpax1 says:

    Great to meet you Ross. Greetings from a fellow Oregonian. I have to read your book.

  25. Sherri says:

    Utterly fascinating this TB, thanks for introducing Ross to us, wishing him every success 🙂

  26. Kourtney Heintz says:

    Sounds like a fascinating memoir. Great interview too. I’ll have to add it to my Goodreads tbr books.

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