featuring guest mystery authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Friday, July 16, 2010

BOOK CLUB FRIDAY -- GUEST AUTHOR SHEILA LOWE

Our guest author today at Book Club Friday is Sheila Lowe. Sheila has one of the most interesting professions I’ve ever come across. She’s a handwriting analyst and has given that profession to the amateur sleuth she created in her Claudia Rose mystery series. Sheila is giving away the book of your choice from her series to someone who posts a comment this week. You can learn more about Sheila at either of her two websites, Www.claudiaroseseries.com or Www.sheilalowe.com, and you can follow her on Twitter: @sheila_lowe. -- AP

HOW A HANDWRITING ANALYST CAME TO BE A MYSTERY WRITER

On my eighth birthday, my favorite gift was a book by beloved British children’s author, Enid Blyton. The Rockingdown Mystery was part of a series featuring four kids a little older than me, who had all sorts of scary, mysterious, wonderful adventures. That’s when my lifelong love of mystery fiction was born.

I was fourteen when my family moved to America and I started writing my own stories. The Beatles were just getting famous and as I was an insane Beatlemaniac, my stories were about the Fab Four, and I was married to Ringo. Yeah, man, grotty. My new friends at Fremont junior high in Anaheim were impressed with my fishnet stockings and Carnaby Street togs, and they champed at the bit, waiting for each installment—heady praise, gave me an inflated sense of my own worth, no doubt, but loads of fun.

Throughout my high school years I read a gothic mystery a day—no wonder my grades were lagging—and along the way, a desire to write my own mystery novel began to simmer. I tried my hand at a historical mystery-romance, thinking that my writing followed the style of my favorite author of the time, Victoria Holt (don’t laugh!). Fast-forward a lot of years...

About ten years after having two non-fiction books published on handwriting analysis, which is my main profession, I finally got my wish to publish a mystery. Well, that makes it sound easy, and it was anything but.

Some of the thousands of handwriting samples I’ve analyzed for psychologists, attorneys, law enforcement, businesses, and just plain folk were novel-worthy tales that contained the seeds of a good mystery, and I found one that particularly resonated. Still, it was another seven years of rejections, revisions, and heartbreaks before that first mystery, Poison Pen, saw print. But when it did it got a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, and that led to a contract with a big publishing house, and here we are, three years later with the fourth book in the series, Last Writes, about to be released on July 6th. My love of mystery reading continues unabated and so does my love of writing them.

Thanks so much for joining us today, Sheila!
Remember, if you’d like a chance to win a copy of your choice of a book from Sheila’s Claudia Rose series, post a comment to the blog. And don’t forget to check back tomorrow to find out if you’re the winner.
-- AP

16 comments:

Kttycat said...

The series sounds really good! This is added to my "reading" list.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving us you very interesting background. It helps to know something about an author.

This series sounds great. Please toss my name into the drawing.

Helen Kiker

Starr Reina said...

I am definitely adding your work to my reading list. Giveaway? Love those! Keep up the good work, Sheila.

Starr Reina

Peg Brantley said...

Add yet another reader to your growing list of "converts", Ms. Lowe.

shirley said...

Read 'Dead Write" and enjoyed it. Would love to win one.

Kathy said...

Just checked on line with my town library and they have Poison Pen. I like to start a series at the beginning so I'll be visiting my library soon.

PunkinElf said...

Loved Poison Pen! Hopping over to half.com for #2 and 3!

Robert Fate said...

Sheila - You are everywhere! Love you, love your work. Warmest best, Robert Fate

Sheila Lowe said...

Thanks so much, everyone! Sign in at http://www.claudiaroseseries.com and I'll put you on my list for notices of Claudia Rose doings.

J Hali said...

What an interesting profession! I bet you have lots of great ideas waiting in the wings. I love the detail of each of your covers--they're beautiful, and the stories sound wonderful!!

Sheila Lowe said...

Thank you, J Hali! My publisher (Penguin in this case) had the same designer for the first three covers. The fourth (Last Writes just came out last week) is completely different. They changed the title (it was Unholy Writ, which it still is still in my head), too. Publishers get the last word.

pennyt said...

I grew up on mysteries (Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys in my case) and loved the Beatles as well. I got a chuckle out of you "being married to Ringo"!!

Please enter my name in the drawing. Thanks so much for a fun interview.

ANASTASIA POLLACK said...

I want to thank Sheila for stopping by today with a very interesting post and for offering a copy of one of her books to someone who posts a comment this week. Don't forget to check back tomorrow to find out who the lucky winner is.

Jeanne S. said...

These sound like very interesting books. I can't wait to start reading them.

callagold said...

Reading your story of becoming a writer is wonderful. I so read Victoria Holt, so now I have to go forth and by one of your mysteries!
Calla Gold
www.callagoldjewelry.com

Sheila Lowe said...

Wonderful! Thanks so much to everyone who commented, and congratulations to PennyT for winning a book--remember to let Anastasia know which one you want.