Monday, March 04, 2013

Scene of the Crime with Author Sharan Newman!

I know I'm not the only crime fiction fanatic who loves good historical mysteries. You know what I mean-- a mystery that not only has a strong story and wonderful characters, but that also takes us to another time. A time in which there are so many things that I can learn and enjoy without feeling that I'm being bashed over the head with the author's knowledge and research. If you're sitting there nodding in agreement, I have a recommendation for you: read Sharan Newman's Catherine Levendeur mystery series. I well remember reading the first book, Death Comes as Epiphany, and laughing because it seemed as though that twelfth-century Catherine and I shared a decided lack of coordination. As I kept reading, I found myself living in France during the time of Héloïse and Abelard. It was a time with which I was vaguely familiar, a time in which religion played a large part in everyday life, but I was neither bludgeoned with the history nor the faith; I was simply transported into the story. I love authors who are able to do that!

Sharan Newman © M.A. Dymmach
If you do enjoy historical mysteries-- or if you know someone who does-- I sincerely hope that you'll get your hands on the Catherine Levendeur mysteries. They're marvelous! As an enticement to you all, I'll be reviewing Sharan's latest collection of Catherine Levendeur short stories, Death Before Compline, tomorrow.

As always, I've included a few links just in case you'd like to learn more about this talented writer:

Now let's get to that interview so we can learn more about her!

What was the very first book you remember reading and loving? What makes that book so special?  

I know it’s trite, but I loved Little Women.  It fed into the two things I wound up writing about, history and family.  Later my taste was slightly more interesting.

Outside of your writing and all associated commitments, what do you like to do in your free time? 

Free time?  Well, I go to water aerobics every morning where I catch up on local news.  I make big pots of curry or soup or chili once a week so I don’t have to think about what to eat.  What I’d like to do is swan about the world eating local food and seeing local sights.

If I were to visit your hometown, where would you recommend that I go? (I like seeing and doing things that aren't in all the guide books.) 

Sellwood Antiques Row
In Portland, we tend to take people out of town to the waterfalls of Mt. St. Helen’s.  I suppose I’d go to the antique shops in Sellwood and the funky shops, restaurants and theaters in the Southeast. 

You have total control over casting a movie based on your life. Which actor would you cast as you? 

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep.  I look nothing like her, but maybe people will think I do.

Who is your favorite recurring character in crime fiction? 

Living authors aside, I think Gabriel Gale, who was the lead in a series of G. K. Chesterton stories.  Failing that, Charlotte MacLeod’s Sarah Kelling and Max Bittersohn mysteries.

If you could have in your possession one signed first edition of any book in the world, which book would that be? Why that particular book?  

The Bible.  Then we’d finally know who wrote it. And if it really was God, then the resale value would be tremendous.

How did you celebrate when you first heard you were to be published? What did you do the first time you saw one of your books on a shelf in a bookstore?  

To be honest, I don’t remember. When I sold the first mystery, Death Comes as Epiphany, I went out and got a bottle of Dom Pérignon champagne.  Then I discovered it was really not any better than a lesser chateau.

Name one thing on your Bucket List.  

Going to Antarctica before it melts.

You've just received a $100 gift card to the bookstore of your choice. Which bookstore are you making a bee-line for? 

The closest independent one.


Thank you so much for spending this time with us, Sharan. It was a pleasure to be able to get to know you a little better.

May your book sales do nothing but increase!


Don't forget to stop by tomorrow for my review of Death Before Compline!


  1. Nice interview...thanks.

    You sort of do look like Meryl Streep.

    Silver's Reviews

  2. What a wonderful interview. If Sharan's sense of humour extends to her mystery writing, I've just found a new favourite series!

    Thanks so much for making all these connections, Cathy.

    1. You're very welcome, Debbie. I love to make connections. (Must be one of the reasons why I love to read mysteries!)


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