Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Sherry Thomas Interview - The Art of Theft

Photo Content from Sherry Thomas 

USA Today-bestselling author Sherry Thomas decided that her goal in life is to write every kind of book she enjoys reading. Thus far she has published romance, fantasy, mystery, and a wuxia-inspired duology. Her books regularly receive starred reviews and best-of-the-year honors from trade publications, including such outlets as the New York Times and National Public Radio. She is also a two-time winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA® Award.

Sherry immigrated from China at age 13 and English is her second language.


What was the defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?
I didn’t have that moment during my youth, but only after I was a fully-grown adult!

It happened over a single afternoon when I was 23-ish, a young, largely overwhelmed stay-at-home mom. I read a new-to-me book by an old favorite author. That book so didn’t work for me that when my husband returned home that evening I went up to him and said, “Hey, I read a book that disagreed with me completely l and if that book is on the NYT bestseller list, I could probably make some money writing books too.”

Little did I know how easy that was to say and how difficult to do! It would take me eight years of apprenticeship before a publisher wanted to buy my book.

What fiction most influenced your childhood, and what effect did those stories have on THE ART OF THEFT?
I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes stories when I was a child so that obviously did have an effect. But I also read as much science fiction and Chinese martial arts epics (wuxia) as I could lay my hands on. And I learned, long before I started to write myself, that what I truly loved was a story that transported me. And to this day that’s what I aim to write, stories that transport, that take the readers outside of their own lives for a while.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I don’t think they’ll be at all surprised to find out that I love cake or that I’m a picky reader. But maybe it might surprise them to know that I’m good at assembling furniture?

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes?
Reading the book that made me become a writer obviously changed my life. But not long after I started to write my first historical romance, when I was still largely doing research and pulling together the general background of the story, I read WICKED by Susan Johnson, who also has the distinction of being the last author I discovered simply by browsing.

Up until then, the historical romances I’d read had either had huge sprawling stories like some of Rosemary Rogers’s earlier works, or had various sorts of murder mysteries etc thrown in, WICKED was the first story I’d ever read that, while still having the Napoleonic War as the background, was focused like a laser beam on the lovers.

And I said to myself, aha, now I know I can plot my way through a romance.

(Not true but at least I had the blissfully ignorant courage to start!)

Which authors have left an impact on you and/or have inspired your career?
So many. From Laura Kinsale I learned to write scenes in which nothing much seems to happen yet are fraught and tense. My love of using photographs to evoke emotions in my books probably comes from having read THE BLIND ASSASSIN by Margaret Atwood. And since I’m writing Sherlock Holmes pastiche, I’m drawing on Arthur Conan Doyle and all the terrific writers who have interpreted Sherlock Holmes in their own manner, most notably Laurie R. King, who made me want to write my own Sherlock Holmes take in the first place.

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing THE ART OF THEFT?
I very much enjoyed fleshing out a bit of Mrs. Watson’s past in this book.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a writer?
I always tell them to read the best books they can find and aim to be that good.

Also, to go online and read one-star reviews for their very favorite books. It will serve as inoculation early on, knowing that no book works for everyone and that one person’s favorite story might be the least favorite anything someone else has ever read.

What are some of your favorite quotes/scenes from THE ART OF THEFT?

I very much enjoy a scene late in THE ART OF THEFT where Charlotte Holmes and her friend Lord Ingram, who is more than a friend to her but not quite a boyfriend, speak lines that have been written for them to deliver, and yet those lines somehow are also very much them talking about their own wishes and fears with regard to their own relationship.

Tell us about your main characters! Were any of your characters inspired by people you know personally?
Normally I don’t base my characters on people—they are cut 100% from my imagination. But for Charlotte Holmes, I gave her one of my BFFs’ dressing sense. My friend is super smart and super accomplished, but she also adores clothes and makeup and I feel like we don’t see enough portrayal of that kind of smart women.

And for Charlotte’s sister Livia, her many insecurities are probably a compilation of the insecurities of my own friends, intelligent and terrific women one and all who doubt and doubt themselves because of the casual cruelties they have been subjected to all their lives.

1) Miss Olivia Holmes often found other women intimidating: the beautiful ones, the fashionable ones, the well-connected ones. And if they were all three at once, then she was certain to feel like a lowly grouse that had somehow wandered into an ostentation of peacocks.

2) Charlotte exhaled—and wished that she had Bernadine’s distaste for cake. Not always, of course, but for brief and intense spells that made it easier to give up extra servings in times of impending Maximum Tolerable Chins.

3) “Not every Indian woman in London is a maharani, Miss Holmes.” Her voice was still soft, as soft as a velvet glove around a hand that had just drawn a sword.

4) Mrs. Watson made sure that she never misrepresented herself to other women, especially those on the other side of the respectability divide. Therefore Mrs. Raleigh had never invited Mrs. Watson to call on her at home. And once, when her widower brother had visited and beamed too eagerly at Mrs. Watson, she’d yanked him away so hard the two siblings had nearly fallen in a heap.

But on her own Mrs. Raleigh was a little bolder and enjoyed speaking to Mrs. Watson on the pavement, in broad daylight, secure in the knowledge that if anyone saw her conversing with a former actress, she could always blame the actress for being too familiar.

Mrs. Watson had never minded. Especially in those years when she had been a widow raising a child and her life consisted of very little excitement, it had amused her to be a source of frisson to the Mrs. Raleighs of the world, an adventure in and of herself.

5) As complicated as his personal circumstances made things, his happiness was uncluttered, the joy he radiated as pure and simple as that of a boy who had just met the puppy that was going to turn his childhood magical.

6) What were the height and width of the individual letters? Were the words packed together or strung long and loose? Did they have the bearing of proud soldiers or were they hunched over like beggars trying to escape the attention of patrolling bobbies?

These were the questions he should be asking himself. Instead, all his attention was on Holmes. She had set one arm on the periphery of the desk, the camel-and-red plaid fabric of her dress a burst of colors at the edge of his vision. He stared harder at the handwriting sample, trying not to recall the warmth and pliancy of her skin.

7) He had wanted marriage, children, and an upstanding life. He still had the children, thank God, but a man who had salvaged his greatest treasures from the smoldering ruins of his home remained in the middle of smoldering ruins.

8) “I was the proverbial greedy woman for whom love was not enough.”

“In the world we live in, women for whom love is enough often suffer for that belief.”

9) The maharani fell silent again.

Miss Charlotte was often and spectacularly silent. But her silence was that of the woods and hills, a natural absence of speech. The maharani’s, on the other hand, made Mrs. Watson think of the walled forts of Jaipur, a silence that watched and hid.

10) The Anglais gave their hearty approval and fell upon their meal, with the exception of Charlotte, who ate slowly, gazing at the spread with the lasting regret of a monk who’d taken his vows immediately before inheriting a harem.

Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, is back solving new cases in the Victorian-set mystery series from the USA Today bestselling author of The Hollow of Fear.

As "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.

But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.

Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia's admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake...

You can purchase The Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock #4) at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SHERRY THOMAS for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of The Art of Theft (Lady Sherlock #4) by Sherry Thomas.


  1. "Have you ever written a love letter?" Maybe. I'm not telling.

  2. Nope, not a really talk about it gal.

  3. I have never written a love letter.

  4. Yes! I have written a few over the years. Thank you

  5. I may have written letters to someone I once loved, but never sent. Thank goodness I don't have an annoying younger sister named Kitty. :P

  6. This dumb guy writing this comment is CURRENTLY writing love letters to another man in JAIL.

  7. I have never written a love letter

  8. Yes, when I was 12! God bless his soul, he is gone now.