Please welcome Sherry Harris, author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series.
What’s your idea of a perfect day?
In a perfect world sunrise would be later so I could watch the sunrise and sleep in. I’d wake up on the coast of Maine and have a mimosa as the sun came up. A long walk along the beach, followed by a bit of writing. Lunch outside overlooking the ocean followed by an afternoon of reading and napping. And then end the day with a bunch of friends coming over for a cookout.
Do you have a signature accessory, color, fragrance, phrase, or meal?
This question made me panic. Color — I love blue but lots of shades, fragrance – allergies mean most fragrances are out, phrase — my husband was in the air force so we moved a lot so I end up picking up bits and pieces from here and there so end up saying weird things like The 95 is wicked busy, you all, so that leaves accessory and I thought nope, I’ve got nothing. Then I realized I wear a necklace my husband gave me after our daughter was born almost every day. Whew!
Excluding family, name three people who either inspired you or influenced your creativity.
I’ve been fortunate enough to take writing classes from John Dufresne, an author and professor at Florida International University. He taught me things like: there’s no such thing as writers block and his first rule of writing — sit your butt in the chair. Sue Grafton and Sara Paratesky — I found their books at a difficult time in my life. I loved their strong female characters and all that they’ve done for female mystery writers.
Do you listen to music when you write?
Nope. Never. It would distract me and I’m easily distracted.
If your latest book were chocolate, what kind would it be and why?
I was just at Trader Joes and saw a chocolate bar called Fireworks. This is the description on the front: Rich, dark chocolate with a touch of heat and a popping sensation that will ignite your senses. I hope The Longest Yard Sale is like that.
What made you interested in writing this particular story?
One of the events in The Longest Yard Sale is based on an actual crime that occurred. It was my way of getting a little more justice for the victims.
What themes do you regularly (re)visit in your writing?
Trust, love, and betrayal seem to come up a lot in my books. When Sarah’s husband betrays her it makes her question all of her decisions about her life past and present.
Tell us about your main character’s psyche or personality.
What led her (or him) to be the person s/he is today? Sarah married young to a guy in the Air Force. When he betrays her after nineteen years of marriage it changes her life dramatically. She’s used to being part of a community on base, she hasn’t had a career because of all of the moves, and she now had to find a way to support herself. Sarah is determined to pick herself up and move on without help.
Describe your protagonist as a mash-up of three famous people or characters.
Sarah is smart and resourceful like V. I. Warshawski, Kinsey Millhone, and a little zany like Stephanie Plum.
If you could host an author dinner party, who are the six writers (living or otherwise) you’d include?
Maud Hard Lovelace (my favorite author from my childhood), Louisa May Alcott (because of visiting Orchard House), Janet Evanovich (because she would make us all laugh), Catriona McPherson (love the accent, her books, and personality), Craig Johnston (I used to live in Wyoming), and Robert Crais (I’ve never met him). I’ll have the event catered so I don’t burn anything.
What’s next for you?
All Murders Final comes out April 26, 2016. Sarah stumbles across the body of one of the most beloved citizens of the small town of Ellington, Massachusetts.
Sherry Harris started bargain hunting in second grade at her best friend’s yard sale. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. Tagged for Death, the first in the series, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. The Longest Yard Sale released on June 30, 2015.