Sid the Skeleton considers himself the protagonist of Leigh Perry’s mysteries because, as he points out, “It’s the Family Skeleton Series, right?” Georgia Thackery, his BFF and partner-in-crime-solving might disagree with this, but since she’s not around, we’ll accept Sid’s pronouncement. Sid has appeared in four mysteries so far. The Skeleton Paints a Picture, the fourth, was just released by Diversion Books this week. When not solving murders, Sid enjoys computer gaming, watching movies with his pal Georgia and Georgia’s daughter Madison, taking online courses of all kinds, and avoiding the family dog, Byron. Georgia loves the beach, mysterious happenings, and all things good-naturedly paranormal. The family home is in Pennycross, Mass., but in the new book, Sid—and Georgia—have gone further afield to Falstone, Mass. (Don’t bother looking up either on a map. The towns, like Sid himself, are fictional.) (Portrait of Sid by Maggie Kelner)
R: Welcome Sid! Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in crime solving.
S: Thanks ROCCO! Well, I’m a skeleton. A robust, male skeleton, if anybody wants personal details. And I got interested in murder when I realized I, myself, had been murdered.
R: You seem very lively for a skeleton. How did the “Family Skeleton” series come about?
S: I met this person Leigh Perry—online of course, since I don’t leave the house that often. Anyway, I told Leigh about some of my adventures, and she brought it up to her agent, and naturally they were intrigued. Leigh might not be the most elegant of prose stylists, but she’s done a pretty fair job of laying out my skills as a detective.
R: Don’t you have a partner?
S: You must mean Georgia Thackery, my housemate and BFF. I’ve known her since she was six, and I had just woken up in my current gleaming white form. Georgia is an adjunct English professor, which means moving often and not getting a lot of pay. She’s also a single mother of a teenaged daughter, Madison. They share my house now, along with Georgia’s parents, who also academics.
R: It’s your house?
S: More or less. Anyway, Georgia is a big help in solving my cases. Kind of a Dr. Watson to my Sherlock Bones. Get it? Sherlock bones?
R: Very amusing. So if you had access to a time machine, which historical moment would you travel to and why?
S: I think I’d like to go back to the time when I was still alive—traditionally alive. I don’t have any memories of that time, but it would be interesting to see what I looked like with skin and flesh and hair and all that.
R: If a movie were to be made of one of your stories, which one would you want it to be and who would you pick for the lead roles?
S: I think it would have to be animation, so all I have to cast is my voice. I’m thinking Patton Oswald would be an excellent choice. He has the acting chops, a great voice, and the intelligence and wit that reflects my charm.
R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?
S: I think just knowing that I exist would be a big surprise, don’t you?
R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done?
S: I posed for a painting class. Nude. Not a stitch on me. That’s in the new book, by the way. Hot stuff—keep it away from the kiddies.
R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?
S: That family is who you love, and not who—or what—you are.
R: What is Leigh Perry working on at the moment?
S: It’s a great story of the time an online gaming compaion came looking for me in a summer cabin, hoping I’d help her find a missing person. We’re aren’t sure if it will be called The Skeleton Makes a Friend or The Skeleton Plays a Game.
R: Is Leigh a plotter or a pantser?
S: It’s funny, she says she’s a pantser, starting with notes and scenes and things she wants to shoehorn into the book, and kind of glues it together. But since I dictate my stories, I don’t see what she means by that.
R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?
S: Leigh has a web page (LeighPerryAuthor.com) and a Facebook page (Facebook.com/leighperry). I’m on Twitter @family_skeleton.
R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers? Or crime solvers?
S: I’ve got the same advice for both: read, read, read. There’s no better way to get a feel for how language works or for how people think and react.
R: What book is on your TBR shelf you can’t wait to get to?
S: I haven’t finished going through Monte Beauchamp’s art book Popular Skullture: the Skull Motif in Pulps, Paperbacks, and Comics.
Just for Fun:
Night or Day? Night. That’s when the family is home.
Dog or Cat? Cats! Dogs and skeletons are not a good mix.
Beach or Pool? Kind of hard for me to go to either—people are so judgmental of Osteo-Americans. But on a recent stay in a cabin in the woods, I got a chance to go into a lake. It was terrific! I can hold my breath forever. Well, I don’t breathe.
Steak or salad? Not an eater.
Favorite Drink? Not a drinker, either.
Favorite Book? Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I loved the way Rowling tied it all up for her fans.
Favorite TV Series? Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Favorite Movie? The Toy Story series, The Book of Life, and The Nightmare Before Christmas
Favorite Actor: Danny Elfman, for his portrayal of Jack Skellington
Favorite Actress: Kate del Castillo, for her portrayal of La Muerte in The Book of Life
Dirty Martini or Pina Colada? Nope
Hawaii or Alaska? Alaska. It’s easier to hide, and I’ve recently discovered how much fun snow blowing is.
Finish this sentence: If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be: John Lasseter, both to thank him for those wonderful Pixar movies and to see if he can help get a job for Leigh Perry’s animator daughter.
If I had just one wish, it would be: For adjunct faculty to be paid what they’re worth.
If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be: honestly? Not a living soul. I am one happy skeleton!
You can find Sid on Twitter @Family_Skeleton, and you can find Leigh Perry on Facebook at leighperry and online at LeighPerryAuthor.com
Leigh Perry will send a signed copy of The Skeleton Paints a Picture, the brand-new Family Skeleton mystery. US addresses only, please.
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Contest closes midnight, October 15th! Good Luck!