Liese Sherwood-Fabre, 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—in Africa, Latin America, and Russia. Returning to the states, she seriously pursued her writing career and has published various pieces. Her debut novel Saving Hope, a thriller set in Russia was based, in part, from her observations while in that country. She then turned to a childhood interest in Sherlock Holmes and researched Victorian England for an as-yet unpublished series on Sherlock growing up in a rather unusually gifted family. Along the way she has written and published a number of short stories, garnering awards such a Pushcart Prize nomination. She recently collected eleven of these tales into a volume: Virtual Harmony and Other Short, Sweet Romances, released on October 15.
Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
Liese: I enjoy writing women’s fiction (which includes romance) and mystery/thriller. I’m also a sucker (pun intended) for a good vampire story. I think I enjoy writing these stories because it’s what I enjoy reading. I grew up on Nancy Drew and Barbara Cartland. The vampires, I’m not sure where they came from. Maybe old black and white films?
Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
Liese: Isaac Asimov. I enjoyed reading his books and came across a science fiction magazine that carried his name. When I read those stories, I thought, “I can do this,” and wrote one and submitted it. I had no idea what I was doing, and it was quickly rejected. Rather than being discouraged, I continued, but with the knowledge I needed some professional training, which I sought out through creative writing classes at a local community college.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
Liese: A good “what if?” These usually come to me when I’m exercising. While I’m on the elliptical, I let my mind work on other problems. Often, a “what if?” question pops into my head (for example: what if two co-workers are bidding on the same holiday sweater for an Ugly Christmas Sweater contest?) and I start working out the plot during that time.
Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
Liese: Oh dear. That’s hard. I grew up on the old Loony Tunes. I guess Bugs Bunny. He’s pretty clever and always has a smart-alecky answer to any question.
Beverley: Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and why?
Liese: Wow, these are hard questions.
As far as an actual person, I would choose Jane Austen. In part, because she was a writer. At the same time, she was an independent thinker at a time where women weren’t necessarily encouraged to do so. She resisted marriage that wasn’t based on love (see a theme in her novels?).
In terms of fictional characters, Sherlock Holmes. A lot of myths and characterizations surround him, and I’d like to see which are true. I have a feeling he’s more human than he is often portrayed and would like to test out my hypothesis.
Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?
Liese: Probably nothing. I have two jobs: I work for the federal government, and I write. A chance to do nothing doesn’t present itself very often.
Beverley: What are you working on now?
Liese: The third book in an unpublished series on Sherlock Holmes at age 13. It came from one of my “what if?” ponderings. How did Sherlock Holmes become Sherlock Holmes? Arthur Conan Doyle left few clues about his childhood. His ancestors were country squires, his grandmother was the sister of Vernet (a French portraitist), and he had a brother named Mycroft. While convention would suggest his father might have had something to do with it, I thought, “what if his mother was a brilliant woman who was stifled by Victorian customs?” Because Victorian women were in charge of their children’s education (until the boys of a certain class were sent off to boarding school), she could have been behind Sherlock and Mycroft developing their superior intellectual skills. The first book is being considered by a publisher, and I hope to have more news to share about that later.
Blurb for Virtual Harmony :
These eleven short romances follow love through cute meets to taking friendship to the next level to rekindling a marriage. Feelings can be sparked by an errant computer file, a hunt for diamonds, or even a fortune teller's tale. All that is needed is to open one's heart to let it in.
Search, find, and deepen love along the way in these sweet romances.
I slumped into an empty chair at the coffee bar around the corner from my apartment. I was ending this foolishness. Now. For two weeks I’d been on a wild goose chase and gotten nowhere. Time to give up.
It’d all started innocently enough. After plugging in my new MP3 player, and booting up my computer to download my playlist, my finger froze just above the mouse. An unfamiliar file folder appeared along with the others: "George's Songs."
Who was George, and how did he get on my computer?
Having moved into the neighborhood less than a month ago, I didn’t know anyone in the area, and no one had access to my computer. Another new icon appeared at the bottom of my screen and blinked on and off. My new wireless system was working. I returned my gaze to the “George’s Songs” icon. Somehow, my computer's system had picked up this George’s file and downloaded it to my machine.
Curiosity won out over caution, and without thinking twice, I opened the file to check out his playlist. Almost the entire list of songs I’d planned to download onto my MP3 player were already in George’s.
Whoever he was, George had good tastes.
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