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


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


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 15, 2016

An Interview with Sherry Harris by E. B. Davis


Did someone really want me to die? Who?
Why? A thousand other questions tumbled around
in my head like laundry in a dryer…”
Sherry Harris
All Murders Final
 (Kindle Location 2753)

In Sherry Harris’s third Sarah Winston Garage Sale Series, All Murders Final, an old tablecloth leads Sarah to find a body. She thinks it’s all about the victim. But when her analytical mind adds up the clues, she realizes it isn’t about the victim, and it scares her silly or maybe more like wise—as in—wiseguy.

What I love about this series is how well Sherry uses pivotal plot points to home in on the culprit. I’m allowed to follow along with main character Sarah in solving the mystery. All too often, the reader is kept in the dark and the ending is a big surprise. Many times, big surprises make me feel stupid.

Although the motivation for the murder is a surprise, Sherry makes her readers feel like sleuthing partners. We know when Sarah deduces the truth, starting a new line of inquiry. She narrows the list of suspect by noticing details and timing. In the end she almost blows it, but then with a little help from her friends, she gets her bad guy.

Welcome back to WWK, Sherry.                                                  E. B. Davis   
                                                                
Sarah started a site for locals to buy and sell household items because winter garage sales in New England aren’t numerous, and she needs income. She runs into a lot of issues. Have you ever administered such a site, and what kinds of problems occur? I haven’t ever been an admin for a buy/sell/trade group. However, my neighbor has been and she added me to a group for people who are administrators of such groups. I got to sit back and read their stories. They went from mundane (people not following rules) to the truly scary (I’m going to burn down your house).

Wine, good food, coffee, and close friends help sustain Sarah when she is threatened, which happens often. All are elements of a cozy. But Sarah is beaten up and threatened in her home, which isn’t very cozy. Do you consider your series a cozy? Though Sarah is threatened in All Murders Final, the books fall squarely within the definition of a cozy because there is no graphic violence on the page. I like to think of the series as being cozy, with an edge.

Ironically, when an alleged mobster moves in, Sarah feels safe in her apartment. Why? And why is he a “big cheese?” Sarah feels pretty freaked out when she first runs into him, but he’s friendly and her landlady seems to think he’s okay. When she realizes someone is parked outside his door 24/7 and that they question everyone who comes up the stairs, she starts sleeping better. Mike “the Big Cheese” Titone works on two levels. Mike owns a cheese shop in the North End of Boston -- the Italian section. And I named the character after a friend of mine -- he’s cheesy in the best possible way.

Sarah’s friend and landlady Stella has a cat named Tux.

“[Tux] was black, with a white chest. I’d found him a collar that looked like a bow tie in the front. He was 
the George Clooney of the cat world.”

Why doesn’t Sarah have a pet? Is it due to moving in the military? Do military personnel have a hard time having pets? I didn’t want the complication of Sarah having to take care of something other than herself during the first book, Tagged for Death. She’s going through a difficult time in her life and I didn’t think she was ready to care for an animal. So I have her landlady and friend, Stella Wild, adopt a cat.

It can be very difficult to have pets when you are in the military. If you are sent overseas you might have to quarantine them or leave a pet behind with a friend or family member. Even being stationed in the states it can be difficult. Base housing has restrictions on the number of pets and kinds of breeds you can have. If base housing isn’t available you have to find a landlord that’s willing to take pets and lots of them aren’t.

“I hated it when I did something for someone and they said “I owe you.” This statement by Sarah shows a lot about her values. When people say that, what does it say about them? This is such a great question and I’m not sure I have an easy answer. If I walk your dog, pick up your kid, run an errand, babysit for you, it’s because I want to help you out. And I figure you will probably help me out if I need it. I think for the most part people say “I owe you” as part of a thank you and don’t think about the remark deeply. But it made me start thinking about what if someone really felt like if I do something for you, you owe me, and I’m going to keep score. It became a kind of twisted theme of All Murders Final.  There’s all different levels of owing people and it was fun to explore them.

Both the victim and perpetrator had issues with power and control. Are those concepts related in an emotional way to obsession with power and compulsion to control? I think they are absolutely related! After pondering this question I decided to look at if from the viewpoint of the victim and perpetrator. I don’t think either of them would recognize these issues in themselves -- especially the perpetrator. And I think the victim thought she was helping people so her actions were justified.

Is the app, PopIt, real? Is it hard to trace? The PopIt app is fictional. But I based it on SnapChat a popular photo sharing app. When SnapChat first came out they said the pictures disappeared forever but that wasn’t true. I also didn’t want people to be able to screen shot the photo and save it. So, with the help of my daughter, I came up with PopIt.

Sarah is from California. She notices New England idioms. What are some examples “native” New England lingo? I grew up in Iowa so when we moved to Massachusetts, I immediately noticed the different names people used for things, from the more common -- pocket book instead of purse, to the what the heck are they talking about -- carriage (I thought Cinderella) for shopping cart. A frappe is a milk shake and jimmies are chocolate sprinkles you put on ice cream. I love it all and Sarah does too.

Explain to our readers what “winner syndrome” is. I imagine auctions must have people with that syndrome. I first noticed what I call “winner syndrome” when eBay started up. It’s that competitive drive almost all of us have in some form or other. I’d often heard people say “I won” when they purchase something on line where multiple people are bidding on the same thing. It fascinated me that they viewed it as winning and losing instead of just, I bought something.

I loved the scene with the “bait car.” What is a bait car? Thank you! It was fun to write. I first heard about bait cars when I attended the Fairfax County Citizens Police Academy. It’s a car that’s left on a street with the keys in it. Once the car is stolen, it alerts the 911 call center and they alert the police. When the police are in position and it’s safe, the car is turned off, the locks go down, and the person is arrested. I asked if that wasn’t entrapment but the officer told me it wasn’t. His example was someone leaves something on their desk and someone takes it -- that’s stealing. 


What’s next for Sarah Winston? I just turned in book four, A Good Day to Buy. It will be out in April 2017. For the first time in the series a murder occurs at a garage sale Sarah is running. The same day Sarah’s estranged brother shows up at her door but he disappears almost as quickly as he shows up. Sarah realizes to find her brother she’s going to have to figure out who killed the person at her garage sale.

Thank you so much for the fabulous interview, E.B.! And thanks to all the contributors to Writers Who Kill for having me back! 

                                                   

20 comments:

Kait said...

A cozy with an edge. Wonderful, my favorite genre. Can't wait to dig in to this book, and glad the next is in the works!

Sherry Harris said...

Thanks, Kait!

Jim Jackson said...

I remember reading a real-life story one time where I grew up that some burglar had broken into a house on the same street as a mob boss. When he realized his error, he broke in again and returned all the stuff!

Now that's protection from the mob.

Best of luck on the continuation of your series, Sherry.

Sherry Harris said...

That is an amazing story! I wonder if he gave up a life of crime after that? And thank you and thanks for your support, Jim!

Margaret Turkevich said...

garage sales are full of stories. Chatting/interrogating the seller is as much fun as picking through the detritus of their lives. Congratulations, looking forward to a cozy with an edge. Maybe I'll figure out what that category really is.

Sherry Harris said...

They are full of stories, Margaret! I always wonder who owned something old I bought and why they didn't want it any longer.

Warren Bull said...

I wonder about old photos offered for sale. You'd think the descendants of the people in them would want to hang on to them.

Sherry Harris said...

Those always make me sad too, Warren! And some of them are in fabulous frames -- it seems like someone would at least want those.

Shari Randall said...

"The George Clooney of the cat world" - one of my favorite lines!
I love "cozy with an edge" because to me, it feels real.
I love yard sales because the craftsmanship of older pieces is inspiring and beautiful. Today's stuff just doesn't have that quality.
I can't wait to read the next in the series. Keep them coming!

KM Rockwood said...

I love your books! I'm a bit behind, and this reminds me I should put it on my Kindle, along with a few other things, for my upcoming week at the beach (with my husband's family. I like to have something to go read in peace.)

Sherry Harris said...

Thank you, Shari! You probably appreciate old things more because of your parents' antique store!

Sherry Harris said...

Oh, thank you, KM! I love your books too. Have a fabulous vacation!

E. B. Davis said...

Sherry--I love reading your books. They get more interesting with each new one. I wonder how the next story will twist. Thanks for the interview, and please come back!

Edith Maxwell said...

Another great interview! Kudos to both of you. I loved All Murders Final!

Ramona said...

Warren, whenever I see those old photos, I am tempted to buy them and give those poor ancestors a good home.

Sherry, the bait car thing bothers me. It seems like cheating, but if my car was stolen, I might not care so much how the police caught the guy. I am also fascinated by winner syndrome. I wonder if this applies to bargaining? Sometimes I see people haggling over some small price and I am embarrassed for everyone involved!

Sherry Harris said...

E.B. thank you so much for always asking such great questions! And I'd love to come back!

Sherry Harris said...

Thank you, Edith! I'm glad you liked All Murders Final!

Sherry Harris said...

Ramona, the bait car thing bothered me too. But if you have a birdbath in your front lawn it doesn't mean someone can take it. When I watched the TV show about bait cars, I got too stressed out, thinking don't get in, don't get in. I've heard some crazy bargaining too -- it is probably the same thing -- people want to be right but haggling over a quarter is crazy!

Barb Schlichting said...

Old photos, dishes, Grandma's jewelry, this all sounds like a beginning to a great mystery. Your books are my list. Good job?

Sherry Harris said...

Thanks, Barb! I hope you enjoy them!