My guest today is Sherry Harris, author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries. Sherry, along with other mystery writers, also wrote a couple of great take-offs on Edgar Allen Poe’s works in “Edgar Allen Cosy”. A former guest, Edith Maxwell, is also featured in the book.
Sherry lives very near the last home I had before I left the Washington, DC area. I wish I had had a chance to see her when I visited last year. I would like to have seen the area and how it has grown up. I imagine it is still growing greatly, huh, Sherry?
Oh, the traffic – that part is no fun!
Let’s get down to business! Welcome, Sherry!
I like a good bargain. In fact, I have lived well off of thrift shop and garage sale items. It never ceases to amaze me what people will part with! I would do better if I didn’t have one social phobia: I hate to be the only one stopping at a sale. I really find it awkward to be the only one there, see nothing I like and turn down people’s things to their faces! Sherry, please tell us the best bargain(s) you have found at garage/yard/tag sales.
Oh, that’s a hard one because I have so many things that I love from sales – everything from paintings (sales are a great place to find original art) to furniture to tchotchkes. But if I have to pick just one thing it’s a small table with claw and glass ball feet. I found it at a sale in Palos Verdes, California. It had a “price firm” note taped to it. It wasn’t cheap but three weeks later I spotted one at an antique store that was four times more than what I paid for it.
When I lived in Northern Virginia, it great area for a Saturday morning yard sale/church sale trek. I took one, very long day with some of my sister’s in-laws doing just that. They had a whole schedule of sales lined up for us to go to and I learned how to find them. Do the church sales still go on at a certain season there?
It seems like there are church sales all year long which makes me very happy. One of my favorite sales is at the headquarters of the Salvation Army in Fairfax, Virginia. It’s usually once a month from April to November. I’ve found lots of fun things there.
Do you go out looking for sales? Do you have the bumper sticker “I brake for garage sales”?
Sometimes I go out for sales, but more often and I’ll just spot one when I’m out running errands. I should have an “I brake for garage sales” bumper sticker but I don’t.
You use your own experiences as a military wife for the life surrounding Sarah Winston. Talk about writing what you know! That is a unique POV for most readers. Do you hear from military wives or personnel who have read your books?
I do hear from military wives and personnel and so far it’s all been positive. Active duty people have thanked me for getting the details right. Spouses have thanked me for shining a light on some of the issues they face. I’ve been lucky enough to speak to several groups of military spouses and it’s been an honor.
Although Sarah Winston is an Air Force wife who is a big yard sale buff, her life does not mirror yours. What gives you the ideas for her situations?
Thankfully, my life doesn’t mirror her! My ideas come from all over the place. The opening scene of Tagged For Death and part of the plot surrounding that scene came from a conversation I overheard in an airport. The plot for The Longest Yard Sale in part stemmed from a crime that occurred when my husband was stationed at FE Warren AFB in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day) and Liz Mugavero (Cate Conte) have been my guests here. They, along with you, are part of the Wicked Cozy Authors. Can you tell us more about your group and blog?
I love the Wicked Cozy Authors. I met Julie Hennrikus at the Malice Domestic Conference in 2005. We were moving to Massachusetts that summer and Julie lived not too far from where we were going to be stationed. She encouraged me to join the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime and to go to Crime Bake a writers conference in Massachusetts. Through both of those I met the rest of the Wickeds. We decided to do the blog right before Liz’s first book came out four years ago. It’s been so much fun for all of us.
I truly enjoyed “Edgar Allen Cozy”! Can you tell our readers how this was inspired and what gave you the ideas for your takes on Poe’s works?
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Tonette! It was Sadie Hartwell’s (aka Jane Heartel aka Susannah Hardy) idea. And after tossing around ideas we settled on using Edgar Allan Poe’s story and giving them a cozy twist. I hadn’t written a short story in a very long time so it was a great challenge to expand my writing skills.
You were nominated for an Agatha Award, an award given on several levels for cozy mysteries, (mostly for best first novel, short story, etc.) That is quite a feat, considering the incredible amount of cozies being published every year. Congratulations! Why did you decide to write in the cozy mystery genre?
I was so honored to be nominated. The call telling me was one of the most exciting of my life. The cozy mystery genre ended up in my lap. I’d been writing a traditional series (unpublished) for years. An editor at Kensington was looking for someone to write a garage sale series and through a series of very fortunate events the opportunity came to me. I’ve so enjoyed writing this series.
Besides writing and garage saling, (my spell check doesn’t like that word!), what other tricks do you have up your sleeve?
I can never think of anything when someone asks me this question. Including when an agent turned down my pitch for the traditional series and asked me what other hobbies I had! That said I love to read – all writers must right?! I also love photography which is a different way of telling a story. Years ago I won an honorable mention in an Air Force wide contest for a photograph I took in Destin, Florida. (Congrats!-T.)
How can our readers learn more about you and your works?
You can find me on Facebook at:
Thanks so much for being my guest, Sherry!
Thank you so much for having me, Tonette! I love answering your questions!