If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sharon Love Cook

Sharon Love Cook possesses many skills. She’s a cartoonist, a sometimes stand-up comic and a writer. I knew of Sharon because of her cartoons in the SinC Guppy newsletter, First Draft, but I hadn’t realized that Mainly Murder Press had published her mystery novel, A Nose for Hanky Panky, in 2010, that is, until I paged into it at the Kindle store one night and read it. Sharon not only wrote the book, she illustrated the cover as well. Please welcome Sharon to WWK.      E. B. Davis

Your main character, Rose McNichols, is a reporter in the Massachusetts coastal town of Granite Cove. Were you a reporter before you started writing fiction?

Yes, and I still do a humor column for The Salem News, one in a chain of newspapers that cover Boston’s North Shore. I also draw a cartoon accompanying my column. Unfortunately, I haven’t done one in months. I’ve been busy polishing my non-mystery ms whose working title is Phantom Baby. I regret having neglected the column, because I really like humor. Matter of fact, in April I’m attending the Erma Bombeck Humor Writers Workshop in Dayton, OH, a very popular event that sold out in three days. Last year Dave Barry was the main speaker.

How long have you written fiction?

As a kid, I always made up and illustrated stories, which I forced my sisters to read. Fast forward to '92 when I heard about the proposed Harriet Austin Writer’s Conference at the Univ. of GA. The organizers created publicity by holding a national short story contest, which I entered. My first fiction story, “The Life of Fern D. Butterworth” won second prize, which included conference tuition. Honestly, I felt like the Rose Bowl Queen there. Not only that, I was the rare New Englander. (Athens, Georgia in July is not a summer playground.) As a prize winning guest, I was wined, dined and introduced to agents and editors. Yet when they inquired about my work, all I had was one story. I’m still kicking myself, 20 years later. (Readers: The Harriette Austin Conference is excellent, offering a variety of agents, editors, workshops and more. You’ll be bowled over by the friendliness, especially if you’re from New England(!)

I’d categorize A Nose for Hanky Panky as a cozy. Why did you choose this sub-genre?

I gravitated to it naturally. I’d read all of Christie’s Miss Marple books and stories, seen every movie version. If I had to analyze, I’d say it’s the setting, the characters, and the civility of the latter. The residents of St. Mary Mead treat each other respectfully, even those they plan to murder. I feel a nostalgia for that type of (idealized) village life, its pace and as I mentioned, its civility. On the other hand, I’d probably balk at actually living there, given its insularity and the nosiness of its neighbors.

Another reason I like cozies--when I began A Nose for Hanky Panky years ago there were no categories, thus I wasn’t aware I was writing in a sub-genre--is that I’m more interested in character than suspense. This was pointed out to me when I first sent NOSE out. “Not enough suspense,” was a frequent response. I could write suspense, but when you have characters named Edith and Florence, the housekeepers in my story “A Marriage Made in Heaven” (Over My Dead Body, 2011), decapitation is uncharacteristic.

And lastly, I don’t like in-your-face anything: splatter movies, thrillers, HD TV. I loved scary movies when I was a kid, watching from behind spread fingers. Psycho was my limit. That stuff stays with me. When I’m alone in the house, I’ll recall every scary detail. My kids call me a sissy in that regard, but I tell them I’m just more highly evolved.

A final reason I like reading cozies: no icky sex scenes. If you can’t write them like D. H. Lawrence, I say don’t bother.

With our burgeoning population, Granite Cove seems like many small towns, which have become satellite communities of cities. Granite Cove has its own history, but the city and its population encroach on it. Have you lived in such a town? If so, what issues face these communities?

Granite Cove is based on the towns where I grew up: Gloucester, Mass. and its neighbor, Rockport. Physically, Granite Cove resembles Gloucester, although the “sleepy fishing village” is Rockport. No way can Gloucester be called “ "sleepy." Today, I have a writing/art studio at Gloucester’s historic Blackburn Building. I drive there every day to escape my cats, who won’t let me work at home. I rent a monk’s cell, about 10’ x 10’ with a high ceiling, no phone, no Internet. I go in, lock the door and work.

Rose’s BFF, Betty Ann (B.A.) has an interesting family life that varies greatly from Rose’s personal life. I saw no indication that they had any problem relating to each other. Do you think that it’s hard for a married with children and single women to be friends?

It’s funny you asked that. I never gave it much thought. My childhood friend of 40 years, who I still see (when I leave my hermit studio) is gay. Another good friend is a guy I’ve known since high school. I’m married with two adult, grown children, yet even when my kids were small, I balked at the “suburban mom” role. When I went to Bennington in midlife, where I got an MFA in writing/literature, I made a lot of friends. Unfortunately, after graduation we strayed.

Because I have ADD (you’d probably never guess), I tend to avoid social occasions where I have to make dreaded “small talk.” I have a tendency to blurt things out--embarrassing things . . .

Rose looks after her father, who lives in a care facility. Many people have to work while attending to aging parents, multi-tasking through their day. How did you create your multifaceted protagonist?

I lived it. My father passed away at 100. He and my mother, both widowed, got married in midlife and had 5 kids. (Readers: do not do this!) He was in his 50s when I was born.

I was also an occupational therapist, working at a state mental hospital and when that closed, a nursing home. Thus I’ve spent a lot of time among old people-- older than me, por favor. In Phantom Baby, which I’m through polishing, there’s an old dad as well. I guess I’m writing what I know. Seriously, the only “real” character in NOSE FOR HANKY PANKY is Chester, the 11 year-old, 100 lb. black Lab. Chester, RIP, is buried in our back yard.

Are you writing a sequel to A Nose for Hanky Panky?

Yes, as soon as I send Phantom Baby to the agent who requested the entire ms: hard copy. I’m eager to return to Granite Cove and, not to be immodest, readers have asked as well.

What’s Rose’s next adventure?

I was thinking of having Rose moonlight by doing stand-up at nursing homes. It’s something I’ve done before and it’s not for the easily discouraged, like me. You’re telling jokes--loud--and you have to ignore people sleeping in the first row. On the other hand, I really liked writing about Florence and Edith, from the Hearth & Home Housekeeping agency (Over My Dead Body). Perhaps I can combine both.

Are you working on other projects?

As I mentioned above, I’m finished with the final polishing of Phantom Baby, which, if I can get a plug in, won the Judges’ Top Ten at the SinC Fla. chapter’s Write Now contest last summer. Entrants supplied the opening scene of their current ms.

Rose’s boyfriend is a musician. What is your favorite flavor? Classical, rock, country, oldies?

I grew up in the ‘60s, so I’m loyal to that era: the Stones, The Who, etc. Meat Loaf.

Regarding Kevin, he’s actually based on an Irish musician who toured the nursing home circuit (Amazing, the mileage I’ve gotten out of that nursing home!) The guy was great with that population, living up to his motto: He kept them awake.

Author of the mystery, A NOSE FOR HANKY PANKY, by Mainly Murder Press. Now available for the Kindle and Nook. Visit my website: www.sharonlovecook.com and check out the amazing Cape Ann seagulls!

5 comments:

Warren Bull said...

Welcome to WWK and thanks for sharing. Your book sounds like a hoot. With so many talents you could throw a party and be the only person present.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Welcome to WWK, Sharon! Great interview! You do have a lot of talents and interests, which makes for a fascinating life and books.

E. B. Davis said...

I've had Internet connectivity issues, sorry I'm late. I enjoyed Sharon's book, and I hope that she writes a sequel.

Gloria Alden said...

I loved your book, Sharon, and can't wait to read the sequel when it comes out. It was interesting reading a little more about your life. You are certainly a talented lady.

Sharon Love Cook said...

To those who took the time to comment: Thank you! I'm so pleased that Elaine asked me to be the guest interviewee. She asked some good questions. I responded with profundities.
Thank you Elaine! Sharon L. Cook