Sunday, October 9, 2016

ROCCO welcomes author Sherry Thomas to the blog!

Meow! My guest this week is author Sherry Thomas!

USA Today bestseller Sherry Thomas is one of the most acclaimed historical romance authors writing today, winning the RITA Award two years running and appearing on innumerable "Best of the Year" lists, including those of Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, Dear Author, and All About Romance. Her novels include My Beautiful Enemy and The Luckiest Lady in London. A Study in Scarlet Women is the first in the Lady Sherlock Series.

Photo Courtesy of Jennifer Sparks, Sparks Studio

  • Welcome Sherry! Tell us a little about your background
Thanks ROCCO! I was born in China and came to the United States when I was 13. Never really thought at all about writing books until 10 years later, when I was a stay-at-home mom, and read a less-than-satisfactory novel. Then all of a sudden, really, all of a sudden, I decided I would write books too. (I never look back without marveling at that completely crazy moment—and how it became such a turning point in my life.)
Eight years of apprenticeship later, I had my first contract. Since then I have published romance, fantasy, historical fiction, and now historical mystery.
  • Tell us a bit about your Lady Sherlock series. How did that idea come about.
I loved the BBC Sherlock. As soon as I got done with Season 1, the writer in me said, “What a great adaptation. Hmm, wonder how it would be if, instead of moving the story forward in time 125 years, they’d made Sherlock a woman instead.”
Other reinventions of the character have been taken steps in that direction: The CBS Sherlock has a female Watson; Laurie R. King’s Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes mysteries give Holmes an equally genius female partner. But I was surprised to realize that no one had gone ahead and gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes altogether.
So I said, I might as well be the one to do it. J
  • Tell us about your newest release
A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN is the first book in the Lady Sherlock series. The thing with changing Holmes’s gender is that a woman with the mind, temperament, and background of a Sherlock Holmes is faced with the kind of constraints a man in the Victorian era never has to contend with. Charlotte Holmes can’t simply decide one day to set up a detective practice—her family would flip out. So book 1 is an origin story, essentially, about how Charlotte Holmes, a brilliant, eccentric, but still respectable young lady, runs afoul of Society’s restrictions, becomes ostracized, and has to figure out a way to use her remarkable powers of deduction to help herself and her family.
  • How do you “get to know” your characters before and while you’re writing the books?
I don’t know them unless I’m writing them. They become more fully fleshed and more human as I go.
  • How do you construct your plots? Do you outline or do you write “by the seat of your pants”?
I am definitely not a methodical plotter—every time I’ve tried an outline or a spreadsheet I’ve never used said outline or spreadsheet in the final product. Nor am I a pantser who flies into the mist. I feel more like a traveler who can see her destination upon yonder hill—I just have to somehow get through the thicket between here and there.
  • Which do you consider more important, plot or character?
Obviously I want to write books with both superior plotting and superior characterization. But as a reader, in a choice between superior plot with average characterization and average plot with superior characterization, I think I might actually prefer the former. Actually, I think what I really prefer is superior pacing, a book that just sweeps me along for the ride.
  • What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a writer and what inspires you and keeps you motivated?
Fortunately, I have never had to contend with writer’s block, but from time to time I do suffer from writer’s exhaustion, and find that I have very little interest in what I’m working on. And the cure is actually to work more on the book—after a suitable break, of course—and dig deeper. In every story there is an emotional truth worth toiling for.
  • Do you have an “How I got my agent” story you want to share?
Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth—or to be more precise, 2006—I sent out a single query letter. At that point, I was still unpublished but had already parted ways with an agent. So I wanted to make sure that next time I chose someone, it would be a much better fit. I’d seen recommendation from Miss Snark for agent Kristin Nelson and had been reading Kristin’s blog. I liked that she represented a variety of genres and was willing to move with her clients.
She was my dream agent and I decided to query her first and then go on to other agents only things didn’t work out with her. But things worked out and we are still together 10 years later.
  • What are you working on now and what are your future writing plans?
I am working on book 2 of the Lady Sherlock series. I am also working on a YA. And I don’t know that I have any precise plans for the future, except to give each book my maximum effort and then go from there.
  • What is a typical workday for you and how many hours a day (or week) do you devote to writing?
That depends on whether I’m on deadline. There are no typical days and I can be devoting anywhere between 0 to 18 hours a day to writing.
  • If you could take only three books with you for a year-long writing retreat in a gorgeous setting with no library, which three would you take?
I am going to cheat shamelessly, of course. I will take the Oxford English Dictionary, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, and Modernist Cuisine, the biggest cook book I can think of.
That ought to keep me busy for a while.
  • What advice do you have to offer to an aspiring author?
Read the best books you can find and aspire to be that good.
  • What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Becoming a writer out of the blue! J
  • What’s one thing your readers would be surprised to find out about you?
People who read my books before they read my bio are usually surprised that English isn’t my first language.
  • What question do you wish interviewers would ask? (And what’s the answer?)
Q: How can I send a lot of money your way? A: Here’s my paypal account. J
  •  Where can we learn more about you and your books?
My website is And we are building a site for the Lady Sherlock books at—hopefully it will be ready soon.

Just for Fun:
Night or Day?  An overcast day.
Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Hamster
Beach or Pool?  Beach    
Steak or salad?  Steak salad
Favorite Drink?  Tea
Favorite TV Series?  Battlestar Galactica
Favorite Movie?  The Matrix
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Virgin Pina Colada
Hawaii or Alaska? Hawaii
Finish this sentence:  If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be Tilda Swinton.
If I had just one wish, it would be to always find exactly what I want to eat in the fridge.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be:  If it’s short term, for a day or so, then maybe Matt Damon’s wife. One of my best friends has loved Matt for 20 years and I want to be able to report firsthand what he’s like up close and personal. 

Thanks Sherry!

Penguin will give away a copy of A STUDY IN SCARLET WOMEN to one lucky commenter on this blog!

To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:
* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
* Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point) (Link:
* Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
* Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point) (Link:!/
* Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)
* Mention the contest on your blog (+ 1 point)
Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck! Contest ends midnight, October 14!


  1. Fun interview. Thanks for the chance to win. Dmskrug3 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  2. Hi, I just wanted to swing by and say hello! You do such a great ob with these author interviews.

  3. Oops, 'Great JOB". Too early to type...

    I love Sherlock Holmes and am fascinated by any of the twists that authors can provide. Lady Sherlock? I love it. Thank you for the insights into Sherry Thomas and her life...I am now exploring her and her books.
    * Comment (+ 1 point)
    * Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
    * Follow me on Twitter (+ 1 point)
    * Tweet about the contest (+ 1 point)
    * Friend me on Facebook (+ 1 point)
    * Mention the contest on Facebook (+ 1 point)

  5. Rocco, fascinating!
    Love the answer to the question no one asks!

    We are FB friends and I linked this to my page
    I visit here regularly
    I don't tweet or have a blog

    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  6. Interesting spin,Sherry! I wish you success!
    I am a Friend on FB
    I shared on FB
    I follow on Twitter
    I tweeted
    I follow the blog

  7. I luuuuuuuuuuuuv this author :) glad to hear that there's a new book! Thanks for such a fun interview!
    I follow the blog through bloglovin: erinf1
    no blog or twitter though. Thanks for sharing!

  8. What a great interview! I like the Sherlock twist, thanks for the chance to win!
    +1 Blog follower
    +1 Twitter follower

  9. A Lady Sherlock---sounds like fun! I'd love to win. I am an email subscriber. I follow on twitter asSuekey12. And I follow on facebook as Suzan Morrow Farrell.

  10. Great interview, as always, Rocco. "A Study in Scarlet Women" sounds like a fascinating read. Sherry Thomas is a new author to me and I'm looking forward to reading her book.
    Following you on Facebook and Twitter, also follow your blog. Shared on Facebook and also commented. Thanks for the great giveaway.

  11. Great interview, as always, Rocco. "A Study in Scarlet Women" sounds like a fascinating read. Sherry Thomas is a new author to me and I'm looking forward to reading her book.
    Following you on Facebook and Twitter, also follow your blog. Shared on Facebook and also commented. Thanks for the great giveaway.


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