Join me in welcoming author Liese Sherwood-Fabre. In a departure from our usual fiction discussion, Liese has brought a non-fiction collection of essays on Sherlock Holmes. Enjoy it as a terrific peek into history or a companion piece to any Sherlock story.
Good morning, Liese! How do you drink your coffee?
LIESE: I start with a dark roast and add milk/cream and artificial sweetener.
Ally: While I get our mugs ready, please introduce yourself to readers.
Award-winning author Liese Sherwood-Fabre grew up in Dallas, Texas and knew she was destined to write when she got an A+ in the second grade for her story about Dick, Jane, and Sally’s ruined picnic. After obtaining her PhD from Indiana University, she joined the federal government and had the opportunity to work and live internationally for more than fifteen years. After returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career and has had numerous pieces appear in both print and electronically. She is currently a member of three Sherlockian societies (The Crew of the Barque Lone Star, the Napoleons of Crime, and the Studious Scarlets Society) and contributes regularly to Sherlockian newsletters across the world.
Something unusual not in your regular bio: "I collect pressed pennies. You know, the machines where you put in two quarters and a penny, select an image, and turn a crank to get an elongated penny with an image on it. I started when I would get them for a friend’s daughter and thought, “I should get these for myself as well.” My latest: from Grand Cayman Islands. It has a stingray on it. The oddest: from Buc-ee’s (a Texas-based gas stop with everything you can imagine to want to eat while on the road.)"
You can follow her upcoming releases and other events by joining her newsletter at www.liesesherwoodfabre.com. All new subscribers receive a link for a free short story.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Liese-Sherwood-Fabre/e/B00810INE6/
Ally: Let's start by talking about the book you brought today.
LIESE: It's non-fiction. I have a book with an agent about Sherlock Holmes at age 13. In researching for that book, I realized I had a lot of information that might be interesting to other readers of Sherlock Holmes. I contacted various Sherlock Holmes societies (called scions) and offered to share these essays with them for publication in their newsletters. This has been going on now for more than two years, and I’ve made a great number of friends (not to mention membership in several of these groups). Each essay starts with some aspect of Victorian life from one of the original stories and then explores it more deeply. It’s very G/PG, suitable for all readers.
Ally: What was your journey to publication, including bumps and missteps?
LIESE: I started writing more than twenty years ago. Like many novice writers, I was reading a story in a magazine, and thought “I could do that.” I finished it and sent it off and was quickly rejected (and rightly so). Undetered, I continued my efforts with other works (including novels), took classes at the local community college, joined the Romance Writers of America and my local chapter, and continued to improve and submit. I was nominated for the Golden Heart in 2008, but still haven’t sold that book. I continue to write and submit—as well as indie publish—because there are too many stories in my head begging to be written.
Ally: How did you select your main genre? What about it intrigues you and readers?
LIESE: I’m drawn to mysteries—ever since I read my first Nancy Drew in the fourth grade. I like solving puzzles, and I view the story as a type of puzzle with the clues being pieces of the puzzle.
Ally: What author would you like to meet? What would you say to him or her?
LIESE: I *loved* the Harry Potter series, and would love to know how much JK Rowling knew from the beginning about the overarching plot and how much evolved as she wrote each book. I read every once in a while about something she wished she’d done differently or kept from readers (like Dumbledore’s orientation). When did she get that insight?
Ally: How much research do you do? When? Where?
LIESE: You can’t write historical fiction without research. I have a number of books on Sherlock Holmes, Victorian England, and other aspects of life back then (the police, spies in India, medicine of the day). When those fail me, there’s always the Internet. While I’m writing, if it’s a quick answer (who was the prime minister that year?), I’ll stop and find the name. If it’s more extensive, I’ll make a note and continue on with my writing. There’s nothing that will eat up your writing time than searching on the Internet and winding up down a rabbit hole filled with cat videos or funny baby videos.
Ally: What is your next writing project?
LIESE: My young Sherlock Holmes books. I have one with an agent and a sequel in draft form. In addition, I’m toying with a contemporary young adult sleuth set in west Texas—along the line of Veronica Mars (only younger).
Ally: Let's wind down with a few short answer questions:
- a. Book you're currently reading: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas
- b. An item on your bucket list: Seeing the penguins in Antarctica
- c. High heels or sneakers: Sneakers or flats. EVERYTHING hurts my feet these days. The more comfy, the better.
- d. Favorite TV program: Big Bang Theory (I’m a real Sheldon fan)
- e. Your Pets: At the moment, one dog—a border collie mix. He’s not even really ours. He belongs to my son, but when he moved about nine years ago, he left him with us and has yet to return to pick him up.
Ally: It's nice to talk with an author who has put all that extra research to work for them. Before you go, please give us an idea what we'd find in your collection of essays.
The Life and Times of Sherlock Holmes: Essays on Victorian England, Volume 1
Genre: Non-Fiction, collection of articles
Step back to London, 1895.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories are full of references to everyday activities and events from Victorian times that make the twenty-first century reader run to the reference shelf. Few, for example, are intimately acquainted with the responsibilities of a country squire, the importance of gentlemen's clubs, or the intricacies of the Victorian monetary system.
These twenty-four short essays explore various aspects of life mentioned in the original tales of Sherlock Holmes, providing modern-day insight into the nineteenth century world. Originally shared with Sherlockians around the world, they are gathered here for the first time and bring deeper meaning and color to the adventures of the world’s most famous consulting detective.
Sherwood-Fabre was a contributor to the following Sherlockian fiction anthology
Welcome back to Baker Street! Holmes and Watson are here to greet you once more spinning amazing tales of murder, mayhem, and mystery with a supernatural twist. This time the great detective and his stalwart companion will venture into alternate universes, histories, and futures to solve puzzling cases of the paranormal far beyond the bounds of imagination.
An Old West town plagued by a legendary beast, a dystopian future where black snow falls on Baker Street, a cyborg Holmes engaged in a psychological game with an ancient enemy, a world-weary Holmes and Watson who must choose between vampiric immortality and oblivion, and a classic noir with dames to kill for are just a few of the strange adventures that await you in Curious Incidents.
Grab your deerstalker and hold on tight! The game is afoot!