Sunday, October 20, 2013
An Interview with Pamela Rose
Pamela Rose joins us today. Pamela pens the Finn Sherlock Mystery series.
Kathy: Our amateur sleuth is named Finn Sherlock and her store, Sherlock's Home Mystery Bookstore, adjoins the 221b Bakery. May I hazard a guess that you are a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle? How did you discover Sherlock Holmes?
PR: I have been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was a pre-teen. The little country school I attended didn’t have a lot of books but they did have several belonging to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Having already cut my teeth, so to speak, on Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and Trixie Belden, I was looking for the next ‘flavor.’ Sherlock Holmes was a dream come true for this amateur sleuth with his methods of deduction.
Kathy: Finn has a twin sister, Echo. Is their relationship more akin to Sherlock Holmes and his brother, Mycroft, or Sherlock and Dr. Watson?
PR: Since readers know more about Dr. Watson and Sherlock, I guess they’re more like each other than we are allowed to know about Mycroft and Holmes, although some of that’s probably conjecture on my part. Finn and Echo certainly squabble with each other, but just like Holmes and Watson, they’ve got each other’s back.
Kathy: There is a Civil War hiding place inside the bookstore. Are you a Civil War buff?
PR: I’d have to say ‘no,’ and I think that time period has been romanticized somewhat. I do have photos from that era, including one of a one-armed soldier with a hand-scrawled notation across the back, “Uncle Matthew.” Many Americans aren’t aware that the Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars every fought, not only in deaths but in dismemberment of arms and legs—even more chilling in light of the fact that this was frequently brother against brother, or other family members. (Maybe this is a good place to say that I have a friend who IS a Civil War buff!)
Kathy: It's almost Halloween. Are you a fan of the holiday? Have you ever participated in an event similar to the Fright Night Halloween Tour in the book?
PR: Are you kidding? I LOVE Halloween! If you’ll pardon the pun, a ‘monster’ was created when I was a tiny little girl and my mother handmade me an Indian princess costume complete with dyed pigtails (supposedly black, but strangely with a purple cast to them) and leather moccasins. She entered me in the local Halloween Parade Contest and I won first place! I remember being lifted center stage with everyone towering over me, my hands full of prize money and candy and loving every minute of it. Altogether it was pretty heady stuff for a six-year-old!
Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries?
PR: About the same time that I discovered Sherlock Holmes, I started reading Agatha Christie. I loved Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot. The carefully woven plots with clues scattered here and there caused me (as they were intended, I’m sure) to pit myself against their attempts to uncover the murderer. As time went by and other author’s works were added into my reading repertoire, this fondness for ‘amateur sleuthing’ only intensified. Of course, it’s a malady I still succumb to…thankfully I don’t think there’s a cure! Now, as a mystery writer myself I get a charge out of being on the other end of scattering the ‘red herrings,’ something which I equally enjoy.
Kathy: Do you write in any other genres?
PR: My first book, “The Eyes of the Jaguar” was a mystery adventure taking place over a span of about five centuries, so it also has historical overtones, although it’s far from being a historical novel. It’s still under the mystery genre, just a little different approach. In other words, same church different pew.
Kathy: Tell us about your series.
PR: The Sherlock’s Home series features my protagonist, Finn Sherlock. There are a total of 26 books roughed out in the series, one for each letter of the alphabet. ‘Contentious Crone’ was the first, the second, with a working title of ‘Indigo Idiot,’ is next. From there…my muse has to give me a little direction, which so far, she has been loath to do!
Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why?
PR: I probably don’t have to tell you that characters are a little like children, you try not to have a favorite! However…I will say that I love Uncle Oz. He’s such a fun character, lots of unexpected behavior and yet he can be counted upon in the clinch. I think perhaps I’m just enjoying exploring a male persona as opposed to the double X contingent!
Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series?
PR: Other than the Sherlock Holmes associations, the only inspiration is more like aspiration…I aspire to be as good a plotter as Agatha Christie! However…that’s a skill I’m still developing. Also, I’d love to be able to replicate Louise Penny’s facility in juxtaposing opposing human emotions into her mysteries. She does this so skillfully a reader can get whiplash from the reversal in emotional direction; ‘pinballing’ from tense drama to delightful humor in the blink of an eye! Now THAT’S skill.
Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work?
PR: You could say that I finally succumbed to the thought, “Gee…I’d like to publish a book someday.” Lots of people say that…fewer actually do it. You have to put those dreams in motion. Also, I think it’s fair to say that as a person who has earned a pretty good living writing in advertising and other related venues, writing a book seemed like a natural progression. Happily, that thought did not disappoint!
Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite?
PR: For me, that’s kind of an easy question, since I’ve had the opportunity to mull over the premise that there’s a reason my favorite authors are just that. Living authors: The aforementioned Louise Penny and another beloved fellow writer, William Kent Krueger. If I could shoehorn in one more living author: Reed Farrel Coleman. His Mo Praeger series is delightful. Two that are deceased are Lewis Carroll who was so skillful at creating strange, new worlds and Pearl S. Buck who was not only a facile weaver of tales, but she did go on to win that little nugget called the Pulitzer Prize for ‘The Good Earth.’
Kathy: What are you currently reading?
PR: Ah, I knew you’d ask that! I just finished Louise Penny’s “How the Light Gets In” and I just started reading “Uneasy Spirits” by M. Louisa Locke, billed as a ‘Victorian San Francisco Mystery.’
Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us?
PR: Other than writing, I also love to repurpose old furniture and architectural pieces. I’m now in the process of turning a vintage iron gate into a fireplace screen. This process for me is a ‘two-fer.’ I get to create something beautiful and functional…and re-use something that might otherwise get discarded. My home is French country which also has a lot of that whole ‘shabby chic’ thing going on. Repurposed items figure into that quite nicely. (It’s good for the planet too!)
Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry.
PR: Soy milk, Umami sauce, texturized vegetable protein…and dark chocolate. Can you tell that I’m a bit of a health nut? I bill myself as a vegetarian, but I suppose flexitarian might also work as I eat primarily a vegetarian diet but very occasionally will have a bison burger and try to eat fish a couple times a week for the omegas. Boring…I know! (LAUGHS)
Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series?
PR: I’m working on number two in the Finn Sherlock series: Sherlock’s Home and the Adventure of the Indigo Idiot. I’ve fleshed out the plot and now I get to do the actual writing. In this book, the Sherlocks are introduced to a person who’s ‘shtick’ (don’t you love that word?) is being an ‘indigo adult’…someone who is supposedly a link in the next step of human evolution. Stay tuned…
Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author?
PR: There are so many things…primarily, I suppose, I like the outlet for expressing all the creativity. It’s like a cartoon I posted on my Pamela Rose page on Facebook: it shows a man in his underwear sitting on an exam table with the doctor gesturing towards the x-ray on the light board that shows a book inside the man’s chest cavity. “Good news! You’ve got a book in you just waiting to come out.” In my case, I think it’s a flash drive since there are lots of books in there, elbowing around and waiting to get written. Thank heavens that the birthing process for books is at least marginally easier than through the traditional birth canal!