Spurred on by an over-active imagination, I couldn’t stop the stories that flowed onto the pages when I was very young, and I wrote my first full-length story at fourteen. Thankfully, no one read it but me.
Despite being a voracious reader, it wasn’t until many years later that I discovered the cozy mystery genre by chance, when I accidentally downloaded the wrong book onto my Kindle. I’d never even heard of cozy mysteries but I read the book anyway and I knew there and then that I’d found the genre I wanted to write in. My first book followed a few months later in May 2015.
As cooking is also one of my passions, I was happy to be able to incorporate it into my stories, all of which make up my culinary cozy mystery series, and all of which include a selection of recipes.
When I’m not scribbling down ideas for new stories, or tapping away on my laptop, you’ll most likely find me with my nose in a book, rustling up something experimental in the kitchen or running around after my very mischievous rescue dog, George.
Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse – the first of the Charlotte Denver Cozy Mystery books, and my first book in this genre – has since been joined by Fudge Cake, Felony and a Funeral, Spare Ribs, Secrets and a Scandal, Pumpkins, Peril and a Paella, Hamburgers, Homicide and a Honeymoon, Crab Cakes, Killers and a Kaftan, Mince Pies, Mistletoe and Murder and Doughnuts, Diamonds and Dead Men.
There will be more books in the Charlotte Denver Series, as well as a new series coming very soon (time of writing: November 26, 2017).
If you’d like to, you can connect with me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/sherribryanauthor, on Twitter @sbryanwrites or by email at email@example.com.
PS – If you’re interested to know a little bit more about the inspiration behind the Charlotte Denver series (and me!) please keep scrolling to read a couple of blog interviews with yours truly!
Mystery Mondays – Interview with Sherri Bryan
Originally from the UK, Sherri Bryan now lives in southern Spain with her husband and their rescue dog, George.
Her first Cozy Mystery, Tapas, Carrot Cake and a Corpse, was published in May 2015.
Apart from writing, Sherri’s favourite pastimes include cooking, reading, watching crime dramas and her dog. When she’s not tapping away on her keyboard, you’ll most likely find her experimenting with ingredients in the kitchen, playing with George, curled up somewhere with her nose in a book or dreaming up new Cozy Mystery plots.
Why type of crime fiction do you write and why?
My current series is a British culinary Cozy Mystery (featuring recipes and a very cute dog) but, to be honest, I’d never even heard of Cozy Mysteries until two years ago, let alone written one! It wasn’t until I downloaded one onto my Kindle (quite by accident) that I realised I’d found a genre I not only loved, but also really wanted to write in.
I love that Cozies allow me to write about murder, villains, dastardly deeds and twisty plots without the need for gory details, excessive violence, sex or bad language. I also always try to bring a little romance and humour to the books and it’s important that each one has a feel-good ending.
Foreshadowing also plays a big part in my stories, in that I try to leave clues which point to answers, which I hope will keep readers guessing and involved in solving the mystery as they go. I try not to make them too obvious, though – it wouldn’t be much fun for readers to have established the murderer and the motive way before the end of the book!
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
Well, I’m from the UK but I now live in Spain so I wanted to include a little of both countries in my books. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed many happy holidays in Cornwall and Devon in the south-west of England, so I decided to use them as the main inspiration for my fictional coastal town setting. That said, as St. Eves only existed in my imagination, I used a little creative licence here and there and added a few Spanish elements to it!
With regard to my protagonist, I didn’t have to look too far to find the inspiration for her! I’m an animal-loving, avid cook and I owned a marina-front café in a Spanish coastal town for six years. Charlotte Denver is also an animal-loving, avid cook who owns a marina-front café, but hers is in a UK coastal town.
Tell us about your Detective / main character.
My main character is Charlotte Denver, who owns the café, ‘Charlotte’s Plaice’, in St. Eves. She has a stubborn streak, a big heart, is fiercely loyal, loves her friends and adores animals. Her heart definitely rules her head. Her parents were killed in an accident, and she has no other family, so her friends and her godparents are hugely important to her. She’s also extremely inquisitive, a trait which comes in handy when any amateur sleuthing is called for. A reader once described her as a ‘thoroughly good egg’ which I think is a very accurate assessment!
Who would you cast to play the main characters in a movie?
Carey Mulligan to play Charlotte, for sure. Before I’d written the first book, I had a clear picture in my head of how all the characters looked. I remember flicking through a magazine and doing a double-take when I saw a picture of Carey Mulligan with short, brown hair. In my mind, that picture was exactly as I’d imagined Charlotte to look. It was quite spooky, actually!
My first choice to play Chief Inspector Nathan Costello would be the British actor, Clive Owen. Originally, I had him down as more of a Patrick Dempsey type but Clive won out in the end.
What is more important in your books – the plot twists or the characters?
I think they’re equally important. I think a Cozy Mystery with fabulous plot twists but unlikeable characters would be a huge disappointment. Likewise, a story with loveable characters but lousy plot twists.
Do you plot the entire novel and know who did it before you start, or can that change?
I always intend to plot everything, chapter by chapter, and that’s the way I start out. Unfortunately, it never continues that way and, invariably, I find myself writing the ending first and then flitting from place to place in the book as ideas come to mind. I usually know who the perpetrator is right from the start although it has been known to change mid-way through the book!
What are you working on now?
I’m writing book five in the Charlotte Denver series and am gathering ideas for book six and a series of short stories.
What do you do when you don’t write?
I love to cook, read, spend time with my husband and my dog and go out to eat.
What book are you currently reading and in what format (e-book/paperback/hardcover)?
I’m reading Dianne Harman’s Trouble at the Kennel in e-book format, Bill Bryson’s Notes from a Small Island in paperback and The Good Housekeeping Step by Step Cookbook in hardback, which I’ve read too many times to count.
Who would you like to invite for dinner?
Hmmm. Difficult one, but if space and money were no object, I’d love to invite some of my favourite Cozy Mystery authors, along with everyone who’s been kind enough to read and buy my books. I’ve been in touch with so many of them via social media but it would be fabulous to meet them in person. I know we’d have a ball!