How Did I End Up Here?

Suekey12 is the winner of I Know What You Bid Last Summer. I will send you an email!

With the release of every new book I reflect on the journey that led me here — the people who helped me along the way, the hands up, the people I’m grateful to. I was struggling with a topic to write about for this blog. So I turned to the Wickeds and Edith suggested writing about where the idea for this book came from. Interestingly the idea for I Know What You Bid Last Summer came from the Wickeds too.

A couple of years ago after I turned in the third book, All Murders Final, I was writing a proposal for three more books while we were having our annual Wicked retreat. I had two solid ideas for books which turned into book four – A Good Day to Buy and book seven – Let’s Fake a Deal. But for some reason I was struggling to come up with that third idea. Fortunately, I was sitting around with the Wickeds during a brainstorming session.

Jessie was the first one to suggest that Sarah do something with the school board and that they could be the suspects. She also mentioned doing something like a sports equipment swap. In the original proposal it said this: At the end of the summer Sarah is hired by the school board to run a charity event to raise money for extracurricular activities. While the pay is nominal Sarah feels like it will raise her profile in the area is she can pull I off without a hitch.

It was interesting to me that there’s no mention of sports equipment and that Sarah was getting paid. It also suggested an end of summer event which turned into an end of June event with no pay. I like to include a bit of humor to relieve the seriousness of the crime. And for some reason this time I wanted it to revolve around Sarah’s friendship with Angelo and Rose DiNapoli who own DiNapoli’s Roast Beef and Pizza. But what could she do for them? Angelo has a bit of an ego so what would be better than having him enter a lasagna bake off that he really wants to win?!

I felt like those two elements weren’t enough for a complete book. What could Sarah do that would involve a garage sale that she hasn’t done before? That’s when I dreamed up a difficult client who wants to do an over the top garage sale like the ones she’s seen in magazines and on TV. Since the customer is always right, Sarah goes along with it. Even Sarah has to admit the results are amazing. So that’s how I Know What You Bid Last Summer came to be.

I still have so many people to thank. I signed my first contract with Kensington on February 22, 2013 almost five years to the day from the release of this book. I’m so grateful to my editor, Gary Goldstein, and everyone else at Kensington who work behind the scenes from the art department to the marketing department and everything in between.

I can’t thank everyone but must thank the Wickeds, Sisters in Crime, my agent John Talbot, the very supportive crime fiction community, all the bloggers and reviewers that get the word out about books without compensation, readers – including all of you who stop by here. I’m so grateful to Barb Goffman for her wise guidance when she edits my books and to my beta readers Clare Boggs and Mary Titone. Mary also is my publicist and does so much for me.

And finally my family. My support system at home is amazing. Although my daughter is still a bit offended when a couple of years ago she asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day and I said for everyone to pretend I wasn’t home for a week – that was the looming deadline talking. My husband tells almost everyone he meets that I’m an author. My parents filled our house with books, took us to the library, and always let us buy a book at school book sales.

If not for all of this, I wouldn’t be publishing my fifth book today. There’s another fifth in my life this year — the WIckeds are celebrating our fifth anniversary of our blog this May!

Thank you for being with me on this lovely, wonderful, wild adventure of writing books.

Readers: Who do you brainstorm with? Or just say hi! I will give away a copy of I Know What You Bid Last Summer to a commenter.






91 Thoughts

  1. I loved seeing the support your group gives to each other and want to thank all of your for your contributions to each of the books that I have enjoyed which include all of Sherry’s! It was interesting to see evolution of small pieces of the book. I am not entering the contest. My copy landed on my kindle a few hours ago and I got to read a Netgalley copy. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment you have brought me.

  2. Happy book birthday, Sherry! Looking forward to diving into my copy and living in Sara’s world for a bit.

  3. Glad I could help, Sherry! I started the book last night and wish I was on vacation so I could just sit and read straight through. I’m delighted with the success of this series – and to be on this path with you.

  4. Love your books and I enjoy them so much. Thank you for the giveaway. I usually go to my oldest daughter as we share an apartment, then I go to my youngest daughter also.

  5. I always discuss things with my little sister & my best online friend to get different perspectives on what I am thinking about doing. Love your books & can’t wait to read this one.

    1. Family and friends — that is wonderful. I’m so glad you love the books, Doward. It made me so happy when you told me you actually used a couple of the tips when you went to some garage sales!

  6. Congratulations, Sherry! I am so excited to read this next addition to the series. Happily, I won the drawing at Dru’s book musings and your blog entry!! Eagerly awaiting our post office to deliver it! Happy book and blog/friendship anniversary!

  7. Congratulations….I can get this book, and your others from my library network, so please do not enter me in the drawing. I’d like to give someone else a chance.

  8. Happy bookday! You know, you hinted at a good point in your post: while we all spend time thinking up plots in our heads, something changes when you describe a story idea out loud and see how other people react. Just putting it into spoken words makes a difference.

  9. What an awesome way to celebrate your publishing contract that started it all but with another greatly anticipated book!

    As for brainstorming, it would have to be with my husband. We talk about, plan out or harsh out details on everything I think. Some are fun and insignificant while others have been life changing. We have found if we talk it out, using the other as a sounding board, that there is no idea or problem too small or too big that we can’t handle TOGETHER. Since to me brainstorming means talking out, discussing, and having the avenues of communication open, to me that means that it’s exactly what a good marriage needs. Without communication what do you have?

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of ” I Know What You Bid Last Summer”!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  10. I love your series and I am looking forward to reading the new one. I also love the Wicked Cozy blog. It’s great to see how you all support and encourage each other. I think that’s one reason I love cozies so much…the authors and readers truly do form a community!

  11. Congratulations, Sherry! I’m looking forward to reading your new release. I brainstorm with another writer friend. It’s always a good time.

  12. Congratulations, my friend! It’s another GREAT read. And I can’t believe you’re working on book seven. Wow! Have a wonderful book birthday.

  13. Congratulations, Sherry! I love the title. Your book also landed on my Kindle last night and I’m looking forward to traveling this weekend with something terrific to read.

  14. I completely love Sarah Winston and the series! I can’t wait to read this one as well. 🙂 The Wickeds really are a fabulous group – so generous with their time and support. Here’s to many more years of success!

  15. Happy Book Birthday! I love that your family is so supportive and especially the bit about your parents. My parents also always made sure I had lots of books and even when there was very little extra money, I got books! These days, I brainstorm with my husband quite a bit. Thank you for the giveaway!

  16. Congrats on the birth of your latest child! I love this series. My only complaint is they are so compelling that I get them read too fast! Nice problem. Thanks for all the enjoyment you have brought to so many over the years.

  17. Happy book birthday! Can’t wait to pick up a copy! I brainstorm with my hubs. He’s amazingly creative, even if he doesn’t think so.

  18. 2013 was such a great year! Your first contract, this blog….

    Congrats on the new book. It’s a fantastic addition to the series.

  19. I love going for a walk or a new place to refresh my mind if I can’t come up with a great idea. And tieing in characteristics or experiences of people you know are so fun. My book just arrived in the mail this morning, so don’t enter me. Happy pub day! I can’t wait to read book 5, 6, 7, and the many more to come!

  20. Happy anniversary! I love how ideas evolve, and I’m impressed you’re able to turn in decent book proposals before the book is actually written. Looking forward to reading your latest!

  21. How exciting! Five years with Kensington – they know how great your books are! I don’t have a brainstorm buddy – must be why I’m not an author! Thank you for the chance to win!

  22. So happy for you to see your dream come true! Here’s wishing you many more Book Birthdays!

  23. Just started reading it a few minutes ago. I’m glad my Advocacy meeting is tomorrow so I’ll have more time to read today.

  24. The postman just delivered my print copy from Amazon of I Know What You Bid Last Summer! I am excited to read it and like the cover…seems like there is a cat on every cover or maybe I am not remembering the previous books correctly. 😉 Best wishes for many more books in the series.

  25. I am so happy for you, Sherry! Congratulations! No need to enter me in the contest. I just came by to celebrate with you! 🙂

  26. So very happy for you, dear Sherry! Happy book birthday, and here’s to many, many more! (I must say the cliffhanger at the end of A GOOD DAY TO BUY is killing me!) Don’t enter me – I want to get my copy signed in person.

  27. I have a best friend I brainstorm with about everything.. Congratulations on your book birthday ! Its a fabulous series.

  28. Forgot to say, I belong to a super critique group, but mator brainstorming is done with husband Dan, usually during long nighttime rides along the Gulf beaches.

  29. Love your books. I used to brainstorm about books with my sis but she lost her battle with colon cancer 21 months ago.

  30. Happy Book Birthday!
    I spend a lot of time brainstorming with my co-workers. We often have a number of projects for clients that we’re working on.

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