Sunday, August 10, 2014

We welcome author Sally Goldenbaum!

Sally Goldenbaum is a sometime philosophy teacher, a knitter, and an editor, and the author of more than thirty novels. Sally became more serious about knitting with the creation of the Seaside Knitters mystery series and the birth of her first grandchild. Her fictional seaside friends are helping her probe the intricacies of women’s friendship, the mysteries, heartaches and joys of small-town living, and the very best way to pick up dropped stitches on a lacy knit shawl.




R:  Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in writing.


I’ve always loved words, although my academic work was in philosophy, which I taught in a couple of colleges before settling into writing.  I began writing novels with a friend when we had toddlers and wanted a more flexible schedule than that which teaching allowed. And in addition, we had both always wanted to write a novel.

We wrote a dozen novels together before I launched out on my own. Mysteries came along a little later, in between stints as an editor, first at a bioethics center, and later at a veterinary healthcare center. But I finally gave up the editing office jobs for good and now enjoy the life of a full time mystery writer, filling in my need for people by having frequent lunches with writer friends and sometimes even sharing a writing space with one of these friends. It makes the solitary aspect of writing much easier.


R: Tell us about your Seaside mystery series and how that came about.

I had written a precious mystery series, the Queen Bee Quilters Mysteries, set in Kansas and published by a small publisher. When an agent I had worked with years before read one, she suggested getting the rights back and going with a larger publisher for better distribution. I was unable to get the rights back so my agent suggested a new series with the same flavor: women’s friendship, small town, and some ‘hook’ that would bring the women together to solve mysteries. My daughter was living on Cape Ann at the time and pregnant with my first grandchild, which made the location a no-brainer: Cape Ann MA. Such a wonderful reason to go there often for research and baby cuddling. The hook—knitting—was suggested by one of the agents who was/is an amazing knitter. And the women themselves were all inspired by people I know. Put them all together and you have the Seaside Knitters Mystery series.


R: What are you working on next:

I am working hard right now on #9 in the series, A FINELY KNIT MURDER, scheduled for May ‘15 publication. Hopefully #10 will also come out next year around the holidays.

I am also playing with an idea for a single title women’s fiction book (my agent calls it a ‘Sunday Project’). I’ve always wanted to write this kind of book and think the time  might be right.


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?


I have had the same agent (she’s with the Jane Rotrosen agency in NYC) for longer than I can remember. I, along with a friend who was coauthoring a book with me, met her at a writer’s conference in Kansas City. We had instant chemistry (all three of us) and she asked us to send her two chapters of a humorous contemporary love story. We did, and in a couple weeks we got the call that a publisher wanted to buy it. It was such fun to have a partner with whom to share that excitement. We immediately went to the Plaza area in KC and celebrated. It was, and is, a great memory. That, and seeing your book in a real bookstore for the first time are huge thrilling moments. We had our first booksigning at an independent bookstore in Kansas City, Rainy Day Books. My friends’ parents drove from Atlanta for the signing and stopped at every bookstore along the way, buying up copies of our book with the hopes that they’d put us on WaldenBooks best seller list (they did!). Their trunk was filled to the brim when they arrived.


R: What’s a must have for you when you are writing? What aids the creative process?

Coffee, a comfortable chair, and my MacBook air. And the seaside mysteries characters—Nell, Izzy, Birdie and Cass—who must be present, sitting there beside me and helping me on my way. I also like writing with background chatter, either a radio or Starbucks patio. Libraries are also frequent destinations. Although quieter than SB, the people milling around are somehow a comfort to me.


R: What writers in your genre would you say have made the greatest influence on your writing?


It’s difficult to pick out just a few. I learn and am inspired by different things from different writers. From some it’s the writing style I admire, from others, the clever plotting, still others, it’s the sheer entertainment of being taken on a fun ride. Right now I am enjoying an Australian writer, Liane Moriarity, but I also love British mysteries, particularly ones written by women (PD James, etc.), and the classics. But I learn from American mystery writers too—and in all different genres within the mystery field. I have also been influenced by several non-mystery writers, such as Anna Quindlen, Elizabeth Berg, and Marilyn Robinson.


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?

I am almost always most attached to the book that has just been born into the marketplace. In this case, MURDER IN MERINO.  And I sometimes actually imagine real life figures as I develop the plot. The main character in this particular book is Jules Ainsley, a 40 year old in search of her past. I imagine someone like Sandra Bullock (we’re dreaming here, right?) playing Jules and finding herself in Sea Harbor. And oh, my, would I love to have Meryl Streep play Nell!


I hesitate to put ‘identifiable, real people’ faces on Nell, Izzy, Birdie and Cass because I think readers do such a great job of using their imaginations to paint them in bright wonderful colors.


R: What is one thing your readers would be most surprised to know about you?

I’m not sure. I loved the Brontes and Jane Austin so much when I was in high school that I used to write book reports for my older friends who had a busier social life than I did and didn’t take the time to read them.


R: What is the craziest thing you've ever done? To prove to my fellow twelve-year-old campers that I was not allergic to poison ivy, I walked through a thick patch of it in the woods.  I ended up in the hospital and missed the last week of camp. (Perhaps that was the dumbest thing?) I also fictionalized my high school diary.


R: What do you hope readers will most take away from your writing?

I hope they take away a strong sense of ‘town’ and place, and a feeling of friendship and the ways in which it impacts our lives and helps us grow. I hope readers take away friends.

R: Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Oh, how I wish I were a plotter! But I feel my way through each chapter, hoping the muses stay close and Nell, Birdie, Izzy and Cass don’t desert me.

I also have a couple of friends who patiently brain storm with me before I start each book—and sometimes when I get stuck in the middle.

R: What do you do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies or party tricks? :)

My husband and I love to hike in Colorado and spend A LOT of time with our six grandchildren (ages 5 months to 8) and our grown children. I swim, exercise at a gym and often think of getting a bike (so far that’s as far as I’ve gotten on that one), and I grab lunch and dinner as often as possible with close friends who enrich my life.

R: Where can we find out more about you and your work?

My website——includes several articles on me. They also pop up occasionally on the Internet. I am on Goodreads, twitter, google plus, and facebook, all the usual spots.

R: Do you have any advice for beginning writers?

These are tidbits that I learned from other authors and ones that have helped me at various times as I go through the process:

• Read read read read read

• Give yourself permission to write badly. Then fix it up (or maybe it’s not as bad as you think).

• You can write one page a day. At the end of a year you have a book.


When I began writing my first novel, I used to write a chapter, then go back and read a chapter written by a writer I admired and I’d pay close attention to the things that had been difficult for me in my chapter (basic things like how to move a character from one place to another without including every detail, dialogue dynamics, point of view, etc.) And I would continue to do that through the writing process. I STILL do that sometimes, even after 35 books!


There are also some good books on writing, although those weren’t as helpful to me as conversing with other writers.



Just for Fun:

Night or Day?  Day to write, night to edit.


Dog or Cat? (answer carefully)  Dog. LOVE dogs.


Beach or Pool?   I like both equally. The beach for ambiance, the pool for serious swimming.


Steak or salad?    Salad


Favorite Drink?  Manhattan


Favorite Book?  Don’t have a favorite.


Favorite TV Series?  The Good Wife.


Favorite Movie?  Tootsie and When Harry Met Sally


Favorite Actor: I’ve always had a crush on Harrison Ford.

Favorite Actress:  Meryl Streep.


Dirty Martini or Pina Colada?  Dirty Martini


Hawaii or Alaska?  Hawaii


Finish this sentence: 

If I could meet anyone in the world, past or present, it would be my dad. He died when I was just a kid. I would love to meet him now, to sit and have a drink together, to talk about life and loves and philosophy and why he made some of the life choices he made. Gosh…thinking about it now I would really love that. When I came to this question on your list, the answer (my father) popped out without thought, immediately, even though I had never thought about it before. Thank you for asking it.


If I had just one wish, it would be for all my children and grandchildren to have happy, satisfying, fruitful lives.


If I could trade places with anyone in the world, it would be _______ 


No one. My life is pretty nice.


Here are all the places you can find Sally!



Twitter: @sallygoldenbaum



Sally would be happy to give away a copy of Murder in Merino to two lucky commenters!  To enter leave your  name and email address in the comments section below. For extra entries you can:


* Follow this 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!




  1. Sally, Congratulations on your success. A good mystery is always welcomed, but I am curious to see the good female fried relationships. I hope you know how fortunate you were to just decide to get work as a writer...and it worked! That doesn't happen to many people, right,Rocco?
    I follow the blog
    I follow on Twitter
    I tweeted
    I am a FB Friend of the Human
    and I shared on FB
    Continued success to Sally!

  2. Rocco, another fine interview.
    We are FB friends and I check your blog regularly.
    libbydodd at

  3. Love the Seaside Knitters series. I follow this blog and friended you on facebook.
    dotkel50 at comcast dot net

  4. Love cozy mystery
    Liked on FB
    I follow blog