Welcome to author Sherry Harris who took time from her hectic schedule (of writing AND reading) to answer a few questions for us.
Describe your favorite writing spot or space.
I usually write in my home office. I’ve filled it with art, photos, and tchotchkes that make me happy. One of my favorite paintings has a quote “Follow Your Dreams” on it. One window looks at my neighbor’s house but the other at a small wooded area. I pretend I’m in a cabin in the woods.
What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
I do my best writing in the afternoon from two until four. However, the closer I am to a deadline the more I write any time of day.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A couple of months of pondering and three to four months of writing and revising.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?
Three and a half in a series about a gemologist. They are the first novels I wrote and they are terrible.
What comes first for you, the plot or characters?
It has varied with each book. In my third book, All Murders Final, I had a very strong image of this rich woman who is murdered. In the book I’m writing now, A Time to Swill, it started with an article a friend gave me about an abandon sailboat that had washed up on the beach.
How do you select the names of your characters?
Oof. I hate naming characters. A few just come to me – Scott Pellner from the Sarah Winston series for example. But others – I struggle with. I often end up combining the names of people I know. And sometimes I go over to Facebook and pick the first two names I see. So I have a character in From Beer to Eternity named Ed Ashford borrowed from authors E.A. Aymar and Mary Lee Ashford.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I haven’t found it that difficult. I know lots of men and I use them – don’t tell!
Can you hear your characters talking?
I do. But I also see them in a movie-like format playing in my head. On the best writing days that movie plays and I just write down what is going on. On harder days the images are a little blurred and it takes more time. Sometimes, my characters do something that surprises me which is always so strange!
Were you a part-time writer before you became a full-time one? For how long?
Yes. I’ve written on and off since the late nineties – it took me a long time to get published. I’ve considered myself a full-time writer since I landed my first contract with Kensington in 2013.
How much time do you spend on research before starting a book? While writing?
I do some research before I start but a lot of it during my writing process. Things will crop up. In A Time to Swill I have the Coast Guard involved in a rescue and investigation. I have no idea how any of that would be handled so I make notes to look things up later.
What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Joining Sisters in Crime. It gave me a community of like-minded people. And I’m not sure if I would have ever been published if not for the people I met through Sisters.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read! I love to read. And I also love taking walks with my sweet Westie, Lily.
Do you ever Google yourself?
Yes. I’ve found some lovely reviews I might not have seen. But there are a lot of people named Sherry Harris in this world.
What is your favorite childhood book(s)?
The Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Study the craft of writing and don’t give up!
What would you say to your readers?
Thank you! Thank you for taking the time to read my books when there are so many choices. Thank you for taking the time to write a review or post a rating. Thank you for taking the time to write me and tell me how my books have impacted your life.
Sherry Harris is the Agatha Award nominated author of the Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery series and the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mysteries.
Sherry is the immediate President of Sisters in Crime, a member of the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime, the New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
Sherry loves books, beaches, bars, and Westies — not necessarily in that order. She is also a patent holding inventor.
Sherry, her husband, and guard dog Lily are living in northern Virginia until they figure out where they want to move to next.