Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Sherry Thomas Interview - Murder on Cold Street


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.

        
  


Your Journey to Publication
For me it started one afternoon when I was 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! I’d never done any significant creative writing before then, and it would take me eight years before a publisher wanted to buy my book. My mother was rather aghast at the idea—we were a family of scientists and engineers and the idea of writing for a living was just alien. My husband, bless him, never questioned my decision. My sisters-in-law bought me my first how-to-write-and-publish book. And my grandfather-in-law used to donate money to his church while making the wish that my dream should come true.

So overall, I really didn’t have anything standing in my way except my own apprenticeship.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
You can tell from my journey to publication that I started because I wanted to see if I couldn’t make some money writing. It wasn’t until I was writing for a while, not making any money but still choosing to keep at it that I realized that I loved writing stories and that I had really accidentally stumbled onto a dream that I didn’t even know I had.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
I’m always deeply touched when readers tell me that my books helped them through some difficult days in their own lives. And I was also super humbled when I received a request to speak to a college class because they had spent a semester on one of my books!

What have you been working on lately?
Lady Sherlock 6, as of yet untitled.

Tell us about your latest novel, MURDER ON COLD STREET (Lady Sherlock #5).
In this book, Charlotte investigates the double murders of two prominent men of business. The reason she is involve is because there was a third man locked in the room with the victims, and that third man is her friend and sometime collaborator Inspector Robert Treadles. And so she finds herself thread by thread pulling apart a tangled web of lies, deceit, and ancient treachery.

Which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since book one and in what way have they changed?
Two secondary characters, I feel, have done the most changing and growing.

One is Olivia Holmes, Charlotte Holmes’s sister. When we first meet her, she is a nervous, brittle young woman with very little confidence in herself. Both emotionally and practically, she was reliant on her baby sister Charlotte, who has always been the strong, unflappable one. But in these books we see her take on much more active role in her own life. She still doubts herself, she still worries that Fate is conspiring against her, but she nevertheless fights through those insecurities. She writes a Sherlock Holmes novel, she gets away from home to be with Charlotte, she finds ways to helpful to those around her. She is coming into herself and I’m so proud of her.

The other character who has gone through quite a journey is Inspector Treadles. When we first meet him, he just seems like a great guy who is devoted to his wife, his work, and his friends. But then we realize that without taking away from all that, he is a man of his times with many Victorian sensibilities baked in, including various beliefs about how men and women should live and conduct themselves. Much of this world view is severely challenged when a man he greatly admired, Sherlock Holmes, turned out to be a fallen woman. And then this unconscious misogyny begins to affect not only his work but also his home life, when he realizes that his wife holds unfulfilled ambitions that involves more than him and their life together.

So it has been a difficult journey for him to confront how he thinks and what he believes—things he’d taken as gospel and never questioned. But in MURDER ON COLD STREET we see much more of his growth.

MEET THE CHARACTERS
The lead character in the Lady Sherlock books is of course Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock herself, a blond, buxom, sweet-faced young lady not at all likely to be suspected, at first glance, of having one of the sharpest minds in existence.

Charlotte’s cool temperament is one of her greatest assets in handling the varied and sometimes highly emotionally-charged cases that come her way. But she is also human and learning to be more human is actually a large part of her character arc, as illustrated by the snippet posted for the question below.

In Charlotte’s endeavors, she is capably assisted by Mrs. John Watson, a widow in her early fifties who has lived one heck of an interesting life. And Charlotte, true to my romance-writing background, also has a love interest, the very attractive Lord Ingram Ashburton, who on the surface, seems to exude respectability, but deep down shares rebellious streak with Charlotte.

Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from MURDER ON COLD STREET
Silence. But in the silence she heard something else. A tentativeness approaching nerves.

“What is it?” she asked.

He turned back to face her, but his gaze was in the vicinity of her knees. He raised it slowly, as if with difficulty. “Have I—have I ever inflicted damage on you?”

She stared at him—the question was entirely unforeseen. Had he inflicted damage upon her?

“No,” she said after a minute. “You were an education in humanity, not a source of damage.”

He blinked—and laughed. “I was what?”

“I’d always thought that a quintessential aspect of being human—possibly the most quintessential aspect—lay in dealing with what one wanted but could not have. For years I believed I would not have that problem, because all I wanted was independence and I saw a clear path to it.

“Then you asked for Lady Ingram’s hand and married her. And I became human. Now I, too, wanted something I couldn’t have. It was . . . an instruction in pain. But that was merely the pain of being alive and being human.”

They passed a street lamp, and its light traveled across the wonder and compassion on his face. She remembered that she had never brought up the subject before anyone, least of all him.

She looked out the window at the approach of another lamppost. “I should ask the same question of you—perhaps I should have asked it long ago. Have I inflicted damage on you?”

He laughed softly. “I used to believe so. I had a great fear of being wrong, especially before others. And more than anyone else, you pointed out my errors. It took me years to learn that the burning sensation I used to feel was not my soul being crushed, but simply the abrasion of my overweening pride.”

Silence. A silence like snowfall, pure and crystalline.

She pulled down the remaining carriage curtains and patted the spot next to her.

He placed his hand over his heart. “My, a Christmas miracle.”

And came to sit beside her.


WRITING BEHUND THE SCENES
I don’t know if this has to do with my personal art process but for Lady Sherlock books 4 & 5, I had two ideas. I wanted to write a heist book, and my critique partner thought it would be a good idea if the proud and inwardly misogynistic Inspector Treadles had to beg Charlotte for help. So I presented these two ideas to my editor and asked her to pick which one I should do first. She said heist first, so that’s how we came to have THE ART OF THEFT as book 4, and MURDER ON COLD STREET, in which Inspector Treadles is in big trouble, as book 5.


Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, is back solving new cases in the USA Today bestselling series set in Victorian England.

Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited.

Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?

You can purchase Murder on Cold Street at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you SHERRY THOMAS for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Murder on Cold Street (Lady Sherlock #5) by Sherry Thomas.
jbnpastinterviews

14 comments:

  1. The first job i ever had was as a billing clerk for a trucking company.

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  2. "What was the first job you ever had?" Paperboy.

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  3. I was a regular babysitter for a band.

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  4. First job I ever had was a hair styling apprenticeship though coop in high-school and also daycare aide. The first real job after high school was a photo-lab tech at a grocery store.

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  5. I worked at Baskin Robbins scooping icecream!

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  6. My first job was inspecting cow inflations (they’re the rubber liners that go over the udders when the cows are being milked.

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  7. I did office work for the family business.

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  8. My first job was a meat wrapper at a grocery store.

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  9. Catching chickens was my first job when I was in school.

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