Poe’s Deadly Daughters are delighted to welcome Sheila Connolly as our new blog sister. Sheila is the author of the Orchard Mysteries, the forthcoming Museum Mystery series, and, as Sarah Atwell, the Glassblowing Mystery series, all from Berkley Prime Crime. Her debut novel as Sarah Atwell was nominated for an Agatha award for Best First Novel. The new Orchard Mystery, Red Delicious Death, is due out in March. Sheila has been an art historian, an investment banker, a non-profit fundraiser, and a professional genealogist as well as a mystery writer. Welcome, Sheila! We hope you’ll find being a Deadly Daughter as rewarding as any of your other “hats.”
Starting in February, Sheila will be blogging on the fourth weekend of every month. Liz Zelvin will continue to blog on Thursdays (except for today).
I am delighted that the writers of Poe's Deadly Daughters have invited me to join them.
That makes me the New Kid–again. Being the new kid is something I have a lot of experience with, because my family moved around a lot when I was young. No, my father was not in the military, but he frequently became impatient with jobs and bosses (like the one at duPont who told him he wasn't a big enough fish at the company to drive a Buick), and since his area of specialization–fluid mixing systems–was in demand, he could always find a new job. I don't even remember the early moves (at age one and three), but I can definitely recall the ones in pre-school, kindergarten, fourth grade and eighth grade.
As an adult, I've added a lot more moves: going off to college, then graduate school; getting married and moving to North Carolina, then California, Pennsylvania, and finally to Massachusetts. In all these places I held a variety of jobs, short- and long-term, and for a time I went back to school. As a result, I was always walking into new situations, meeting new people.
It's never easy, especially if you're not a gregarious person, which I am not. I was the shy kid but I was also the brainy one in any class. But I made friends and did well in school, and survived it all. Maybe it made me a stronger person, but that doesn't mean I liked it.
Only recently did I realize that I've become part of yet another group, thanks in large part to the Internet: the writers community. This time the entry was almost painless. I feel like I have a lot of friends, some of whom I've never met face to face and possibly never will. But in cyberspace we all share our triumphs and our disappointments, and even a lot about our lives–we "know" each other. And if you go to writers conferences you will see clusters of people gleefully greeting each other, trying to cram a whole lot of friendship into a very short time.
And there's one more community I hadn't even thought of until now. When we moved to our current house, we built in a wall of bookshelves in one room, and for the first time in many, many years, my husband and I had the space to unpack all our books. We'd been collecting mysteries since we first married, back in the Dark Ages when there was no Internet and no Amazon and you had to seek out second-hand bookstores and hunt for paper copies of the books you wanted. And we collected series–too many to mention, but you can safely assume I have all the classic mystery writers, in complete sets. Yes, I read them all, but the collecting part was fun too. The result, however, was a lot of linear feet of books, which for a long time had no place to go.
Here we finally unpacked them all and lined them up on the shelves (which quickly overflowed, but that's another story). But what hit me when I started writing this post was: I have my own little piece of shelf now, something I never expected when I started collecting mysteries. Five books of my own (plus large-print copies) have joined all the great names on my shelves. I'm up there next to my idols–Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, Josephine Tey, Margery Allingham, Ngaio Marsh, and more. I'm the New Kid on the bookshelf block–and I like it!