Part of the reason I found Cari's story, "Life Sentence", especially striking was due to its sensory qualities, especially scent. I felt like I was really in Victorian London while reading the tale, because I've often suspected the city stunk more than mentioned in the average cozy.
How did you come up with the idea for your story in History and Mystery, Oh My?
The germ of the story came at our local drive-in hot dog place. I was watching an older couple sitting in a car across from us. There was an eerie synchrony to everything they did: ordering, eating, paying the check. I wondered what it would be like to be married for that long, and what would happen if one of them died. Then, I started wondering what else could happen in that scenario, and what other conflicts could arise if I put that couple into Victorian London. I hope they didn’t notice me watching them!
Do you have a favorite historical period you enjoy reading or writing about?
My husband can watch the History Channel for hours, but I tend to get bored with straight history. I am more interested in context. How were people different in different eras? What were their personal challenges? With those questions, I can immerse myself in any historical period. I love English settings as well, hence my interest in my story’s setting.
Do you have some special education that helps you write historical fiction, or do you deal with history in your profession?
I’m a librarian, and in 2010, I spent the year writing the Centennial keepsake book for my library. I spent a lot of time searching through primary sources and working with the library’s Centennial committee. That led me to start writing historical mystery plays for the library as well, and we’ve performed three of them so far. Now I manage the computer lab, so I don’t have as much time for reference librarianship, but I try to keep my skills as sharp as possible. We have to find the right balance between honoring the past and trying to predict the future, while helping our patrons navigate through a constantly shifting present.
What are you working on now?
I am primarily writing short stories right now. One of my latest works features Violet, my protagonist for this story, again. I also have a few contemporary mysteries and science fiction shorts in the works.
Okay, so you're an author. What do you enjoy reading?
Like many librarians, I read widely. Mysteries, of course – all kinds. My favorite are puzzle thrillers with lots of twists and turns. I also enjoy science fiction and fantasy, urban fantasy, YA, women’s fiction, the occasional romance, literary fiction, and nonfiction. So, pretty much anything.