#SpecialGuest – Sharon Farrow – Author of Mulberry Mischief (A Berry Basket Mystery) – Great Escapes Book Tour
(A Berry Basket Mystery)
by Sharon Farrow
I am so excited to welcome Sharon Farrow today!
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Sharon Farrow is my latest pen name. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, I’ve been a freelance writer since my twenties. My first novel was an award winning historical romantic suspense called Stolen Hearts, released in 1998. Under the names Sharon Pisacreta and Cynthia Kirk, I’ve been published in romance, fantasy, and mystery. I currently write the Berry Basket mysteries as Sharon Farrow, but also co-author the Agatha nominated Henry Higgins & Eliza Doolittle mystery series as D.E. Ireland. And I’m sure there are more pen names in my future.
In addition to writing, I’ve worked as a college history instructor, art gallery assistant, archaeologist, and owner of an office services company. Although I’ve lived in Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey, I’m happy to be back in my home state, specifically the beautiful coastline of Lake Michigan. My reading and viewing pleasures span everything from Louise Penney’s Inspector Gamache novels to all of the Real Housewives shows on Bravo. But I’m presently in withdrawal now that Game of Thrones has ended.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
- I have a graduate degree in archaeology and was an excavation team member on several archaeological sites, including a Roman fort in Britain and a National Parks Service project on Ellis Island.
- In ninth grade I was kicked off the school band for being too much of an extrovert/class clown.
- I danced onstage at the local mall while wearing a cat costume (including a giant cat’s head). The nonprofit I worked for periodically required employees to don animal costumes and perform at drug prevention programs for children. It’s too complicated to explain why we had to wear costumes (it involved puppets), but take my word for it when I say those costumes raised your body temperature quickly. If you didn’t take them off after thirty minutes, you were at risk of passing out.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The Little Bear books. And how I loved those Maurice Sendak illustrations!
What are you reading now?
What books have most inspired you?
The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham. The Diaries of Anais Nin. Above all, Ray Bradbury’s short stores and Dandelion Wine showed me that a prose writer could also be a poet. I only wish I could have met Bradbury because I wanted to thank him. He is one of the reasons I became a writer.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
Trixie Belden. My mother gave me the first Trixie Belden mystery when I was 11. After that, I got hooked not only on Trixie Belden, but mystery novels. Thank you, Trixie.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
A leather club chair and ottoman by my living room window. I settle in with my laptop, often with a cup of tea placed on a small table beside me. In addition, I have several bird feeders in front of the window so I always hear birdsong and chatter while I’m typing. And in the winter, cedar waxwings stop by to eat the berries on my holly bushes right below the window. Sometimes the birds peek in and catch me watching them. If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m a devoted bird watcher.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
Everywhere…literally. From chance comments I overhear, breaking news stories, my own life experiences, dreams, magazine articles, movies, etc. The inspiration for my first published novel resulted from a viewing of The Fugitive with Harrison Ford. I thought “what if I tweaked this story, set it in 1893 Colorado, and made the fugitive a woman?” It landed me my first publishing contract. And a biography of Natalie Wood gave me an idea for a plot point in my latest Berry Basket mystery, Mulberry Mischief.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
The first draft and all those blank pages. I love to revise, but looking at a blank screen every day while under deadline never gets easier.
What do you think makes a good story?
Pacing, emotion, interesting characters, humor, and being able to deftly tie up every loose end.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
My heroine, Marlee Jacob, is partly a reflection of myself: caring, inquisitive, hard working, sometimes sarcastic, and willing to break the rules. In addition Marlee lived for several years in New York City, as I did. I even made her half Italian in a nod to my own ancestry.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
Although there are other cozies that take place in west Michigan, what differentiates us is our own particular voice. I also set my series in my fictional version of Saugatuck and South Haven, two coastal towns I love. I moved to this area soon after my father died. His long illness was a painful time for my family. The villages along the Lake Michigan shore served as a balm; solace after those difficult years. I wrote the series to show my thanks and appreciation to this region.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
I’m in the middle of writing the fifth Berry Basket mystery, Hollyberry Homicide, which should be out in 2020. I also co-author the Henry Higgins & Eliza Doolittle mysteries with Meg Mims. We hope to start work on the next installment in that series after the first of the year.
Thank you, Sharon, for visiting today!
About the Book
Mulberry Mischief (A Berry Basket Mystery)
4th in Series
Kensington (August 27, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07L2FVR11
Autumn has arrived on the shores of Lake Michigan, but Marlee Jacob, proprietor of The Berry Basket, is feeling a chill for other reasons …
With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there’s also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it’s almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point’s oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn’t take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.
The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia’s property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what’s going on puts Marlee in a real jam …
Includes Berry Recipes!
Praise for Mulberry Mischief
(A Berry Basket Mystery)
by Sharon Farrow
Mulberry Mischief is everything delightful that you want in a cozy mystery. Quaint small town, intriguing & layered characters, solid & diverse friendships, and a smart plot that unravels at the perfect pace.
~Reading Is My SuperPower
I loved how many of the residents of the town were volunteering at a health fair and were in costume since the event was close to Halloween . . . This series gets better with each book and we give this one 5 paws up.
Mulberry Mischief is an upbeat cozy mystery with Halloween hijinks, a frisky feline, mulberry mania, a costumed killer, and a booming bell.
~The Avid Reader
The characters are well developed. The secondary cast supports Marlee very well. I love the rapport she has with her friends. I, also, enjoy her budding romance explored.
~Socrates’ Book Reviews…
What a fantastic cozy!!
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews
Mulberry Mischief is another great entry in a fantastic series. The characters, the plotline, the mystery, and the everyday events make this a very enjoyable read.
~Curling Up By The Fire
MULBERRY MISCHIEF is a heart pounding adventure with plenty of tricks and the ultimate treat of watching the Oriole Point gang band together once more.
~Cozy Up With Kathy
About Sharon Farrow
Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award-winning author Sharon Pisacreta. A freelance writer since her twenties, she has been published in mystery, fantasy, and romance. Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series for Kensington. The series debuted in 2016 and is set along the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline where she now lives. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries.
Author Links –
WEB PAGE http://sharonfarrowauthor.com/
August 26 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
August 26 – I Read what You Write – SPOTLIGHT
August 27 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW
August 27 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
August 28 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
August 28 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST
August 28 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT
August 29 – Curling Up by The Fire – REVIEW
August 29 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
August 30 – The Avid Reader – READER
August 30 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE
August 31 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
August 31 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
September 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW, CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 1 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
September 2 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
September 2 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
September 3 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW
September 4 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW
September 4 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
September 5 – Cinnamon, Sugar, and a Little Bit of Murder – REVIEW, RECIPE
September 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
September 6 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
September 6 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
September 7 – Teresa Watson’s Blog – REVIEW
September 7 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
September 8 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
September 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
Have you signed up to be a Tour Host?
I am so happy to Welcome Sharon to Escape With Dollycas!
Her book Dying for Strawberries (A Berry Basket Mystery) was released on October 25!
MY PATH TO MURDER
At the age of nine, I announced to my mother that I was going to write books when I grew up. This didn’t surprise her. I was one of those kids who huddled at night under the sheets with a flashlight, quietly turning pages. I checked out the maximum amount of books from the school library and drove my dad frantic with the number of book clubs I joined. When my parents took me on a visit to a home where there were no children to play with, the hosts were informed of my reading addiction. I ended up being offered all sorts of reading material, from a biography of Napoleon to A Turn of the Screw – both of which I was too young to fully appreciate, but which I enjoyed nonetheless.
When I was eleven, my mother ushered in a whole new literary world by giving me the first book in the Trixie Belden mystery series. As soon as I read The Secret of the Mansion, I was hooked on Trixie and her friends and family in Sleepy Hollow, New York, reading each successive installment in the series way too many times. I suspect when I’m nearing the end of my life and most things have fallen away, I will still be able to recall exactly how Trixie ingeniously saves the day when she, her brother, and best friend Honey are trapped on a roof during a flood in Happy Valley Mystery. It remains one of my favorite climaxes ever.
Trixie introduced me to the mystery genre. While the delights of discovering Sherlock Holmes, Miss Marple, Hercule Poiret, and Lord Peter Wimsey still lay in the future, I knew this was a world where I could find a literary home one day. Two of the first short stories I had published were mysteries that appeared in Ellery Queen Magazine. This encouraged me to write a suspense novel, which got shelved when I joined the Romance Writers of America. At the time, I became part of the organization because I thought it had a lot to teach me about how to write and publish a novel. And it did. So much so, that I wrote romance for the next decade under two different pen names. Although romantic suspense might be a better description.
Even then, I couldn’t resist killing people off. My first novel, Stolen Hearts, featured a young woman on the run from a vengeful police detective, who had framed her for a robbery. His pursuit of her was as dogged as Javert’s hunt for Jean Valjean, and I loved interspersing romantic scenes of her and the hero with scenes of Detective Devlin plotting a way to trap her for good. And, yes, things end violently for Devlin. But I made death even more unusual in my second book, Magic and Moonlight. There the heroine, who has become a magician’s assistant, is in danger from a malicious woman, who follows the hero and heroine to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. This time, I killed off the antagonist on a bed of nails – and in front of a paying audience, too. My editor called me after he read my manuscript to ask, “I don’t think anyone has ever been killed on a bed of nails in a romance before. Are you sure you want to do this?” I was sure.
I went on to kill people off in subsequent stories until it finally occurred to me that my natural bent was a tad dark for the romance genre. So when a friend and fellow writer suggested we collaborate on a mystery series featuring Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, I couldn’t resist. I admit it was lovely creating loads of suspicious characters with crimes to match. And although there are nods to romance in the books we write under the name D.E. Ireland, romantic elements take a backseat to murder and mayhem.
My arrival in the mystery genre was further solidified when I sold the Berry Basket cozy series to Kensington in 2015. Like most cozy heroines, my shopkeeper Marlee Jacob has a romantic life. In fact, she’s engaged and plans to marry soon. But the path of true love will not run smooth. There will be another man – or even two – who cause Marlee to second guess her upcoming marriage. And a few dead bodies accompanied by attempts on her life will not make things any easier for her. While I prefer the passion and happy endings of my romance books for my personal life, I am pleased to now be writing in the genre I have loved since Trixie Belden first thrilled me. My path back to murder took two decades to complete, but the trip was well worth it. I learned romance is delightful and forever, while a murder mystery is dangerous and disturbing. Both, however, are completely irresistible. And who knows? I might take the path back to romance once again. After all, I still wonder if Trixie ever did marry Jim Frayne, the boy next door. I hope so.
About the author
Sharon Farrow is the latest pen name of award winning author Sharon Pisacreta. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Sharon has been a freelance writer since her twenties, with her first novel released in 1998. Published in mystery, fantasy, and romance, Sharon currently writes The Berry Basket cozy mystery series, which debuted October 2016 with Dying For Strawberries. She is also one half of the writing team D.E. Ireland, who co-author the Agatha nominated Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins mysteries. Visit the author at www.sharonfarrowauthor.com/, on Twitter @SharonFarrowBB, and facebook.com/SharonFarrowAuthor.
Dying For Strawberries is the first book in the Berry Basket mysteries, published by Kensington, October 2016. Look for the second book in the series, Blackberry Burial, in November 2017.
With seasonal crowds flocking to its sandy beaches, lively downtown shops, and the Berry Basket, a berry emporium with something for everyone, the lakeshore village of Oriole Point is ripe for summer fun—and murder.
Much has changed for Marlee Jacob since she returned to Oriole Point, Michigan two years ago. Between running the Berry Basket, dodging local gossip, and whipping up strawberry muffins, smoothies, and margaritas to celebrate the town’s first annual Strawberry Moon Bash, the thirty-year-old hardly has time for her fiancé, let alone grim memories of her old life in New York . . .
But unfortunately for Marlee, Oriole Point is muddled with secrets of its own. First her friend Natasha disappears after an ominous dream. Next the seediest man in town threatens to crush her business. Then an unknown person nearly kills her on the night of the Bash. When she discovers a dead body while searching for Natasha, Marlee realizes she’ll have to foil a killer’s plot herself—before the past permanently stains her future.
I am thrilled to share this book for with you today. I so appreciate Sharon for letting me know that I may be uncomfortable with the story because of my son’s death last year. The cover did draw me to this book and the synopsis sounds fantastic. I hope to pick up this series with book #2. Click on the covers to order book from Amazon or here for B&N.
Thank you Sharon for being my guest today!
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.
Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.
You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.
Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.
Click the Like Button at the top of this post for a Bonus Entry.
This year I am trying to build my Twitter following so for this giveaway 4 Bonus Entries will be awarded by following me on Twitter. @dollycas
Leave a comment for Sharon for 5 Bonus Entries.
Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.
Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.
If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.
Contest Will End November 23, 2016 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.