Next Mystery - May 2017
I was born in West Virginia, as the middle sister to Nanette and Linda. My parents moved the family to Los Angeles in the early sixties, and I graduated from Pasadena High School. After my high school years, I went to California State University at Fullerton and earned a Degree in American Studies.
On a visit to England in 1975, I met the Englishman who would become my husband, Richard. We were married in May 1976 and lived outside London. We returned to California in September 1977.
In 1988 I began my career as a fiction writer. Although I was working in the shipping industry, and enjoyed my job, I had a long-held desire to write! My life-changing decision was greeted with some trepidation by my husband!
I began by writing romances and joined the Romance Writers of America - Orange County chapter. After my entry in the "unpublished authors" contest run by this chapter became a finalist - I was thrilled, but the New York editor who read my entry was scathing in her criticism. I was crushed for a day or so, but it hardened my resolve to continue writing. It was my very next proposal that my agent sold to Silhouette and it was published under my pen name of Sarah Temple. I was a published author!
KINDRED SPIRITS was the published title but I always preferred my own working title :"BOUQUET OF WILD FLOWERS".
I wrote two more Special Editions for Silhouette but I preferred other kinds of fiction so when I was as if I would be interested in writing a Victorian mystery series for Berkley - I jumped at the chance to explore my love of mysteries. I called my brother-in-law, Robert, who lives in London and he found old, original London newspapers from the 1880s and a host of books on Victorian households. These books and newspapers were priceless guides to my understanding of the real Victorian world of Inspector Witherspoon and Mrs. Jeffries. That is why The Inspector and Mrs. Jeffries is dedicated to him. I have also written some Young Adult novels,which are no longer in print - as Cheryl Lanham - using my maiden name - which were fun to write because teenagers are so emotional and it was great therapy to switch from the lives of a Victorian household involved in solving murders to the angst of a contemporary California teenager! By some strange quirk of events, the Young Adult books sold really well in Norway - translated into Norwegian, I hasten to add. Sales in the United States were not as dramatic and the series was cancelled.
I quit my part-time job in October 2010 so I could write full-time. I lived in southern Orange County until July 2013 when my husband and I moved to the Bay Area. My children, Matthew and Amanda, are now grown up and have left home so there is now just the two of us. It is so much easier to write now and I look forward to writing more Mrs. Jeffries books and, maybe, start another series of mysteries. I feel very blessed to have such loyal fans. The first three books in the Mrs. Jeffries series were re-published in the United Kingdom in November 2013 by Constable and Robinson. In 2014, I signed a contract to have some of my books translated into Japanese for the Japan market. In 2016, I sold my first Mrs. Jeffries title to Hungary.
I was given a contract for three books and realised from the start that the key character was Mrs. Jeffries so after the first book, you will see that it is always Mrs. Jeffries that appears in the title.
Now an inspector at Scotland Yard wouldn't be able to afford such a domestic staff under normal circumstances but he inherited the house from his aunt and promised to take care of the staff that was there.
I am very fond of Inspector Witherspoon, who is a kind and very decent person, but he lacks the detecting skills of Mrs. Jeffries. Inspector Niven has his doubts too! However, I didn't want the Inspector to be "bumbling" and "inept" so he does do his own investigation, assisted by the reliable Constable Barnes, and gets clues himself by hard work, but it is the domestic staff that uncovers the secrets that the "well-to-do" Londoners didn't think their own servants notice! These servants were invisible, not worthy of much consideration, which makes them the real stars of this series. We all know the expression - "the butler did it" - in my stories, the butler didn't "do it" but he always has an insight into who did! That is what makes turning Victorian society upside down so much fun!