Say hello to…Sherry Harris!
Sherry Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.
R: Welcome Sherry!
I am purrfectly delighted to be here with you today, Rocco! Thanks for having me.
R: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.
Like many authors, I started writing stories early on after falling in love with mysteries like the Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew. I took as many writing and literature classes as I could in high school and college. I’m probably the only person with a degree in Business Management who took thirty hours of lit classes. I used to be a director of marketing for a financial planning company and loved writing ads for print, radio, and television.
R: Your character, Sarah Winston, loves to shop at garage sales. Is that a passion your share with your character?
Yes! I love finding a bargain or treasure that someone else no longer wants. It’s a perfect way to recycle and negotiating a price is so much fun. My husband would love to own a pickup but is afraid I’ll drag too much home if he gets one.
R: Tell us about your book, TAGGED FOR DEATH
Sarah Winston’s life as an air force wife crash lands when her husband CJ sleeps with a temptress named Tiffany. Sarah's self-prescribed therapy happily involves hitting all the garage and tag sales in and around her small town of Ellington, Massachusetts.
After a fun day searching for yard sale treasures, Sarah finds a grisly surprise in one of her bags: two freshly bloodied shirts. . . one that undoubtedly belongs to her ex, CJ, who now happens to be Ellington's chief of police, and the other is Tiffany’s. If that's not bad enough, Tiffany has gone missing. Now Sarah has to prove that her cold-hearted ex is not a cold-blooded killer and may have to bargain for her life.
R: You’ve been nominated for an Agatha Award. How did you feel when you found out the news?
It was a whole messy ball of emotions -- joy, disbelief, and humility.
R: Your husband was in the military. How many different states have you lived in and which is your favorite?
We lived in seven states (if you count Southern and Northern California as two different places -- which they are!). It’s a toss up between Monterey, California and Bedford, Massachusetts. I always say that Monterey is the only place we lived that I didn’t have to adjust too. But I fell in love with New England. So Sarah is originally from Monterey but lives in Massachusetts.
R: Which of (your character) adventures was the most fun for you to write? Were any of them the least amount of fun?
I love writing action scenes for Sarah, having her racing around outwitting the bad guy is challenging and stimulating. I think the hardest part is having Sarah find a dead body, have a real reaction to it, but not get bogged down or maudlin afterwards.
R: Do you have an “how I got my agent” story you’d like to share? How did you feel when you got the call your first novel had sold?
Barbara Ross (Maine Clambake mystery series) introduced me to her agent (John Talbot) at Crime Bake. I pitched the series I was working on and he wasn’t interested. He asked me if I had anything else but I didn’t so I slunk off. Two weeks later, he asked Barb if she knew anyone that might be interested in writing a cozy with a yard sale theme. Barb, knew I loved yard sales and before I knew it I had a contract. Getting the contract was almost unbelievable -- I worked on the other series for years (I’d be happy to share my stack of rejections) and then boom, a chance to be published.
R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?
Quiet. I’m easily distracted so it would be hard for me to write in a public place. I probably should face my desk against the wall but then I’d always wonder what was going on behind me.
R: If you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
The area of Massachusetts we lived in is steeped with history, so I would want to be in the Old Manse in Concord on the first day of the Revolutionary War, April 19, 1775. The Old Manse overlooks the old North Bridges where the regulars and minutemen clashed in the first battle of the war. I’d be the guest of William Emerson the grandfather of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your books, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
Any chance you’re available for a leading man role, Rocco? I can picture Amy Adams as Sarah and Chris Pine as CJ.
R: I am always available for a leading role, merow. I am hopeful producers will consider me for the role of Nick in my human’s series if they ever wanted to make a film of them. J
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
I used to be a rugger hugger -- which was sort of a cheerleader for our college rugby team.
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? My lips are sealed.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
I hope they are entertained and feel like the characters are real.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Night with the occasional sunrise
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully) I have a Westie, Lily, but she loves cats.
Beach or Pool? A pool overlooking a beach.
Steak or salad? A steak salad
Favorite Drink? Cosmopolitan
Favorite Book? The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
Favorite TV Series? Blue Bloods -- I love the family dynamic
Favorite Movie? Billy Elliot
Favorite Actor: Colin Firth
Favorite Actress: Audrey Hepburn
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii -- finally an easy one to answer!
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be: Queen Elizabeth just to find out what is in her purse.
If I had just one wish, it would be: World peace
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be: I wouldn’t really want to trade but if I had to I’d pick JK Rowling.
List all the places readers can find you:
Sherry will giveaway one copy of Tagged for Death picked from someone who answers this question: Garage sales love them or hate them? Enter below and be sure to leave your email address! Contest closes midnight, May 5.
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Winner will be chosen at random using random.org.