Hi Sarah, we’ve met before and you even have a page on my site, so I feel know you a bit. However, the readers visiting today might not know who you are and what you’ve done. I’m glad you agreed to let me ask you a few questions and to get to know the woman behind the author.
Do you still sing? And how do you think writing lyrics differs from writing fiction? It’s both a story to tell, isn’t it?
As far as singing goes, these days I’m not doing it professionally at all, just for fun in the shower or the car when a particularly great song comes on! Something about that shower….
Interesting question about fiction vs. lyrics. Well, to me, lyrics usually rhyme, but it’s also so often about the way the lyrics are colored—the vowels and tones changing, depending on the singer and the significance of the piece. The same with fiction, I feel. Some words just sound good together, rolling off the tongue perfectly. Others sound forced and awkward. When I write and decide to look up a synonym for a word, I carefully voice that word to see if it will fit in with the tone of the piece, much like the lyrics of a song.
Do you miss teaching?
Actually, I still am teaching ESL to adults, part time, and enjoying it immensely. Love their determination, their grace under fire, and their discussions about the ins and outs of their countries of origin. Fun.
Are you still quilting, and if so, do you use a machine or do you create it by hand? I would love to make a great quilt.
Unfortunately, I don’t have time to quilt anymore. After all, there are only 24 hours in a day! But when I did quilt, I started out doing it by hand, then, because of my having developed carpal tunnel, had to switch to machine quilting. That changed my life. I learned all about the sewing machine’s potential rhythms, how you learn to drop the ‘feed dogs’ and just let your hands manipulate the fabric. At that point, a Zen thing happens, and as you’re eyeballing the stenciled pattern lines, you get into the peaceful space of Ebb and Flow, much like calligraphy. Anyway, I used to teach it that way, and even got good enough myself that I was able to produce some pretty complicated Amish feather quilting lines amidst their signature simple solid colored quilt patterns. Don’t know if I could still do that today, however!
Is there any food or beverage that is a constant factor in either your books or life?
Not in my books, but in my life–water or wine, particularly a nice chardonnay.
What is your favorite dish and can you give me the recipe?
Basically, you can make your lasagna anyway you want, but just cut strips of zucchini and layer them like you would with the pasta. I use a mandolin (not the musical instrument!!) which is amazing, but learned the hard way that those devices could be easily used in a major crime novel, their blades are so sharp! I now use the mandolin c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y, with a fork as the zucchini diminishes. I suppose one could also just cut the thing with a knife as well. Also, be advised that because zucchini when it cooks releases a lot of water, you’ll have to press out some of the extra liquid as it’s cooking.
What is the title of the book you would like to talk about, and can you give a small taste of it?
The book I would like to talk about is my collection of long short stories, Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads.
The eleven long short stories in “Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U.S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980’s Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial ‘star’ and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macramé artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.
For those that want to know more before getting their copy, here is a taste:
Did you have difficulty coming up with the title?
Not really. It’s the title of the first story and since it’s about the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and the book’s running theme is a tiny ‘thread’ of sewing/crafts throughout the stories, I decided that was the best title to represent the entire book. At one point, I toyed with the idea of calling it “A Stitch In Time,” but opted for the more unusual title.
What do you do marketing wise and what do you think generates the most attention to your books?
Well, I’m still learning the process of this OMB (Overwhelming Marketing Business), but so far, the attention seems to have been coming from different sources—Goodreads, Facebook, bookclubs. I am discovering that my books can be marketed in more ways than the single area of historical fiction. My novel, Unexpected Gifts, has been labeled ‘Women’s Fiction’ on Amazon, and recently, I have been approached by mystery readers, and an international craft association, who wants to feature these Sewing Can Be Dangerous stories as part of their crafting curriculum next year.
Hahaha, I am abbreviations impaired, but I love that one OMB.
To end this interview I’d like to ask you to tell me something no one has ever heard before from you? Hehehe…I love those little dirty secrets, real or make believe. 🙂
Oh, dear…well, as I have mentioned on other sites and presentations, I have always been fascinated by my ancestors, and having inherited some of their memorabilia, have a confession to make. I hate to admit it… and please don’t think badly of me, but…sometimes I like to slip out of our house during the pre-dawn hours, and with my great grandfather’s 1800’s pitchfork and my grandfather’s WWI binoculars, scour the neighborhood, spying into various windows, waiting for innocent future victims—-NOT!!!!!! (hehehe)
Thank you Sarah, for being here and so very entertaining too! 🙂 Should readers want to know more about you they can find, follow, or stalk, erm, I mean become your greatest fan on your website, Twitter as @SarahMallery1, on Facebook, and Goodreads. But also on my site where Sarah Mallery has a page.