K- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your career as a writer?! When did you know you wanted to be a writer? How old were you? Was there a particular moment that stands out as significant or was it just always natural to you?
SCS – To tell you the truth, I don’t remember when I first decided I wanted to write! I’d always loved to read—got my first library card at age 3, because I could already write my name—and I wrote my share of angst-ridden pre-teen poetry at 11 or 12. I always knew that “someday” I would write a book. It wasn’t until I was 28 years old and saw the big 3-0 looming on the horizon that I realized I could spend the rest of my life saying “someday,” or I could sit down and write! So I pounded away at a manual typewriter, literally cutting and pasting the manuscript pages until I had a finished draft that had to be completely retyped. My goal was to be published by the time I was 30, which shows how naïve I was about the publishing business! My first novel, a YA novel called Wrong-Way Romance, was published by Bantam as part of its Sweet Dreams series in February 1991, five months before my 32nd birthday. I still occasionally get emails from women in their 30s who read that book when they were teenagers and still remember it.
K- What is your favorite genre of book to read?
SCS – I’m a “book slut.” I’ll read almost any genre as long as it’s well-written, humorous, and has a hint (or more than a hint!) of romance. The Regency romances of Georgette Heyer are among my favorites; I love their clever dialogue and elegant prose. I also enjoy classic mysteries and the time-travel books of Connie Willis.
K- What is your favorite genre of book to write?
SCS – I love to write (and read!) romances where the attraction between the hero and heroine is shown through witty repartee rather than physical urges. I enjoy writing Regency romances for this reason, and when the market for traditional Regencies collapsed several years ago, I tried my hand at a Regency mystery series as a way of writing the things I love in a more marketable form—thus the John Pickett mystery series was born. My new release, Babes in Tinseltown, also features humor and a chaste romance in a historical setting, this time Hollywood in the 1930s.
SCS – I recently had a chance to meet science fiction superstar Connie Willis, who told me she does all her writing at Starbucks; when she tried to write at home, she was constantly distracted by other things she “ought” to be doing. I decided to give it a try, and found that it really works! Starbucks offers wi-fi, so I can spot-check details of research that arise, but the internet connection is too slow to effectively read and/or write email, post to Facebook, shop Amazon, play Candy Crush…you get the picture. Since I started working at Starbucks, I’ve written about 120 pages in just over a month, which is fast for me, as I tend to be a slow writer.
K- Do you have a favorite character or couple that really speaks to you?
SCS – My favorite romance hero is Hugo Darracott of Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax. He’s got such a wicked sense of humor! Everyone underestimates him, but in an emergency he’s quick-thinking and strong. I also love Dorothy Sayers’s Lord Peter Wimsey. As far as couples go, one of my favorites has to be Captain Harry Phillips and Princess Sonya Irena of Moldavia, whom he has to smuggle out of Austria in the final days of WWI in the underappreciated novel Flight From Bucharest, by R. T Stevens. Of my own characters, my favorite has to be Ethan Brundy (The Weaver Takes a Wife), followed by John Pickett (In Milady’s Chamber, A Dead Bore).
K- So, lets talk hobbies… what do you like to do in your time off, when you’re not writing?
SCS – I love old movies, which is why I decided to write a book set in 1930s Hollywood. I also enjoy needlework (knitting, crocheting, and counted cross-stitch). Music is a big part of my life, too. I sing in church choir and play the clarinet in community band.
K- With summer in full swing, can you tell us a little bit about what your summer plans are?
SCS – I’m looking forward to attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Anaheim later this month, as well as the Beau Monde conference for Regency writers held the day before RWA kicks off. On a personal/family level, our recent move from Alabama to Colorado has opened up a new part of the country for us to explore. Last month we spent a week at Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. Since we live only about 45 minutes from Rocky Mountain National Park, we’ll make several trips there this summer to do a little hiking.
K- Can you tell us a little bit about your next release?
SCS – My newest release is Babes in Tinseltown, a humorous historical mystery set in 1936 Hollywood. It tells the story of Frankie Foster, a sheltered Southern girl hoping to make it big in the movies. She’s working as an extra when the producer drops dead on the soundstage. With filming suspended, Frankie knows it’s up to her to find out the truth about the producer’s death if she is to save the picture and her own career. Library Journal called it “a light 1930s Hollywood confection…[with] fresh characters [who]bring the cozy to life.” Babes in Tinseltown is available in both trade paperback and electronic editions.
Also, the second John Pickett mystery, A Dead Bore, is now available in electronic format through Belgrave House/Regency Reads. Idealistic young Bow Street Runner John Pickett and the newly widowed Lady Fieldhurst, whose husband’s murder was the subject of In Milady’s Chamber, are back together again, and the romance quotient is kicked up quite a bit. A Dead Bore was originally published by Five Star, whose heavy-duty library bindings unfortunately make the hardcover edition very expensive, so I hope the electronic format will be a more affordable option for readers.
K- What can we expect from your books?
SCS – Not everyone is comfortable with the increasingly erotic levels of sexuality in romance. Those are the readers I write for. I hope they feel they can count on me to give them a funny yet romantic read in a vivid historical setting, whether that setting is Regency England or 1930s Hollywood.
K- Thank you so much Sheri for answering some questions for us! We look forward to learning more about you and your books!! We also had so much fun browsing Sherri’s website, and are bringing you a couple of fun items from it today. If you’d click on the pictures of the Regency Lady and Lord, you’ll be able to dress them up! You can also help the hero and heroine from the Pride and Prejudice get all ‘dolled up’! How fun is that!
To know more about Sherri, please click on her photo, and to purchase some of her books she’s talking about, please click on their cover. To one lucky commenter a copy of Babes in Tinsletown will come your way! Thanks Sherri!