Hi All, Barb Ross here. We’re interrupting our week of pet-related posts in honor of Liz Mugavero’s release of Kneading to Die, a Pawsitively Organic Mystery, to bring you the last of our interviews with the bloggers at Wicked Cozy. Today, I interview Sherry Harris. If you’ve never had the pleasure of meeting Sherry–she’s a delight. As a military spouse, she’s mastered the art of making friends-though I suspect it’s a talent she was born with.
Herewith, the interview.
When did you start writing?
I always had a wild imagination and remember writing stories about The Man from Uncle (Google it). I starred in the stories — Illya Kuryakin and Napoleon Solo were my guardians but I helped them save the world. I always had long, chestnut-colored hair and cornflower blue eyes in my stories.
Who are your influences?
I loved the Bobbsey Twins and wanted to be Flossie, the blue-eyed, blonde younger and very mischievous twin. And of course I read Nancy Drew but she was a bit too serious for me. What made me want to write was the Maud Hart Lovelace Betsy/Tacy series. They start when Betsy is five and continue through her wedding. Betsy loves writing, and I wanted to be like Betsy. Lovelace’s characters are warm and I wanted to live in her world — small town Minnesota at the turn of the century. As an adult Sara Paretsky, Sue Grafton and Robert Parker.
What’s your day job or career and how does that influence your writing?
Once upon a time in a land far, far away — Cheyenne, Wyoming — I was the Director of Marketing for a financial planning company. I loved writing print, radio and TV ads and articles for the newspaper and our newsletter. I think it taught me to be brief and honed my editing skills. Marrying an Air Force officer and the constant moves made having a career difficult which is why I started writing a novel.
What’s your connection to New England?
I am the outsider looking in. Bob was assigned to Hanscom Air Force Base near Bedford, Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts. None of us were particularly eager to move there but we ended up loving it. We lived on base for three years (shout out to my Offia girls) and then moved into Bedford for two. It was a sad day at our house when we left!
What’s your favorite thing about New England?
I think you left an “s” off thing and meant to say favorite things. The people — don’t believe all those stories about New Englanders being cold and somber. I love the quirky accents, the funny way they pronounce things — Reading, Peabody, Quincy — nothing is as it appears. What they call things — carriages, pocket books and jug handles. The seafood, Italian food and Italian pastries — it might have been better if I hadn’t discovered them. The town commons with the white churches and soaring steeples. Okay, I’ll stop — I could write an essay on why I love New England.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I, Sherry Harris, who just almost fell on a man while entering an elevator, took ballroom dance classes with Bob. And I was the teacher’s pet. He always picked me when it was time to demonstrate a step.
What are you working on now?
A cozy set in the fictional town of Ellington, Massachusetts right outside of Hanscom Air Force Base.
Why cozies? Do you write anything additionally?
I don’t like to read graphic violence and skip those scenes so cozies work for me. I still haven’t given up on my gemology series set in Seattle. I consider that stack of rejection letters a challenge.
If you were stranded on a desert island what five literary figures dead or alive would you want with you and what meal would you feed them appetizer, dinner, dessert, drinks?
First of all, if I was stranded on a desert island I wouldn’t be thinking about what dinner to fix for literary figures. I can barely cook with a stove and electricity. But I would want Maud Hart Lovelace, Jane Austen, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton and oh, I’ll throw in a male for good measure — Robert Parker. For food, I can only hope Cafe Luigi’s in Bedford, Massachusetts will airdrop calamari, shrimp verdicchio and a nice chianti. Then Mike’s Pastry will drop a selection of Italian pastries. And right after that a cruise ship — preferably the Queen Mary II — will rescue all of us.
What are your top five books in your to be read pile?
I’m reading Kati Marton’s memoir Paris, A Love Story — not a typical read for me but a friend recommended it. Next up are Sour Apples by Sheila Connolly, The Hit by David Baldacci, There Was an Old Woman by Hallie Ephron and Death in Four Courses by Lucy Burdette and Don’t Get Mad Get Even by Barb Goffman.