Getting To Know The Author: Amy Thomas
Yet again, it is another instalment of Getting to Know the Author. This time I speak with US based Holmesian author/Baker Street Babe Amy Thomas!
She’s just released a brand new book, The Detective, The Woman, and the Winking Tree, a follow up to her first Holmes and Irene team up The Detective and The Woman!
Let us get to know you a bit better. Tell Us About Yourself: Other than a crime writer who IS Amy Thomas? What does your daily life consist of?
In addition to writing, I podcast with the Baker Street Babes, in international, all-female, Holmes-themed podcast. I also review new Holmesian literature for bakerstreetbabes.com. My day job is in the office of a commercial air conditioning distributor (pretty important in South Florida!). I’m also helping a group of my former university friends start an online literary journal. We’re in the beginning stages at the moment, but I’m excited about the future.
Where are you from.
Fort Myers, FL
What do you consider fun.
Knitting, reading, playing video games, watching British television, podcasting with the Baker Street Babes
What do you consider NOT fun.
Cleaning house, doing Algebra, anything overly repetitive
You already have Sherlock Holmes/Irene Adler book out (The Detective and the Woman). What spurred you to write your first story in this series?
After the first series of the BBC’s Sherlock aired, I re-read the Doyle canon and found that I had ideas for new stories in my mind. I particularly wanted to feature my version of Irene Adler—the Irene who comes off Doyle’s pages to me, rather than other subsequent writers’ conceptions of who she is. Around that same time, I decided to do NaNoWriMo—National Novel Writing Month—a program that encourages people to pen an entire novel in a month. The first words I wrote in that month are the first words of The Detective and The Woman. Once I’d started, I knew I needed to keep going with the same idea if I was going to finish on time, and it worked!
What is it like being a Baker Street Babe?! You are lively bunch of gals, ladies, women,…I’ll just say Babes.
The Babes very kindly invited me to join them in January 2012 as a podcaster and Holmesian book reviewer. We have a fantastic time. Our fearless leader, Kristina Manente, runs an organization that continues to be entertaining, intellectual, and groundbreaking in many ways. I’m delighted to be a part of it. In some ways, we’re very informal, but at the same time, we take our love of Sherlock Holmes and his world very seriously. I think many of our listeners enjoy the podcast because of the unique blend of humor and intellect.
When were you first introduced to Mr Holmes and Dr Watson and what effect has Sherlock Holmes had on your life?
My first real memory of Holmes occurred some time before I turned ten, when I checked an audiobook out of the library and was freaked out by “The Speckled Band.” I went on to read many of the stories and was crushed when Holmes “died,” until my sister alerted me to the fact that he returned. Some time later, I was introduced to the Holmes and Russell pastiches by Laurie R. King, which continue to be favorites. Sherlock Holmes is one of the few literary characters who has inspired me to the point of making me want to write my own stories about him, and I aspire to be as mindful and observant as he is.
Perhaps Doyle aside do you have a favourite writer(s)?
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Zora Neale Hurston, Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty, Laurie R. King, Alan Bradley
Outside of writing crime fiction do you enjoy writing anything else i.e. general fiction or poetry?
I write poetry occasionally, and I’m also writing a medieval fantasy novel.
Do you have a favourite film or television show?
I like a lot of British media. I’m a huge fan of the BBC Sherlock series and the Guy Ritchie Holmes films. I also watch Doctor Who and Person of Interest, which I totally recommend.
Let’s go back some time. Out of the classic actors who have played Holmes who do you enjoy the most, Basil Rathbone, Ronald Howard, Michael Caine! Basically any that took on the role before the wonderful Jeremy Brett.
I have a soft spot in my heart for Peter Cushing’s Holmes, but I think Benedict Cumberbatch is the best Holmes ever. I have a lot of respect for Jeremy Brett, but I don’t enjoy his portrayal as much as I enjoy Benedict’s.
Back to writing: What is your writing process like? Some authors have daily routines. How about you?
I start with a very general idea of where I want to start and where I might want to end up. Once I’m ready to actually write, I tend to do it very quickly, using daily wordcount goals. I’m not a routine-oriented person, so every day is different, but I push myself to finish a certain amount every day.
Do always know exactly what you want or do with a story or do you have a lot of room for experimentation when writing?
Like I said above, my story ideas are extremely general until I’m actually writing. That leaves me a lot of flexibility. If I outline too much before I start, I get bored and feel like I’ve already done the work. The only way I can keep myself going is by making things up as I write.
What is your favourite part about writing?
My favorite thing is when my creative brain takes over and takes a plot point or character somewhere I hadn’t expected. Usually, it’s something that works and stays in the final version.
Where do you get your inspiration from while writing?
When I’m writing Holmes stories, I’m inspired by the Doyle canon first of all. After that, because I’m a very character-driven author, I let the personalities of the protagonists drive what happens.
Do personal events ever affect your writing or find their way into a story? i.e. have you ever been angry at someone and killed them off in a story?
I based a minor character in The Detective and The Woman on my great-grandmother because the context of the book was a setting close to when and where she actually lived. That book also contains several other real-life characters like Thomas Edison. I’ve never based a major character on someone I know, though.
You have a new book out now. A sequel to The Detective and The Woman called, “The Detective, The Woman, and the Winking Tree. Tell us about the book!
The book tells the story of a case mentioned in the original Holmes canon, the disappearance of a man named James Phillimore, who goes into his house to get his umbrella and disappears. Watson tantalizes readers by mentioning the situation, but he never explains what happened during Holmes’s investigation, so that’s what I set out to do. I also wanted to develop the friendship between Holmes and Irene Adler, which got off to a good start in The Detective and The Woman.
How did the story come to being?
That ends up being a somewhat metaphysical question… As I said above, I was inspired by the canon mention of James Phillimore’s disappearance. Beyond that, I just let my imagination go and tried to keep the good and jettison the bad as I wrote and edited.
What is your draw to Irene Adler?
I think Irene is an incredibly complex character. She’s one of the few people in the Doyle canon who start out with Holmes having one impression of them and succeed in changing it for the better. I really dislike when she’s depicted in pastiches as a sexually provocative femme fatale, since “A Scandal in Bohemia” shows her getting happily and respectably married, and the story is really more concerned with her clever mind than her sexuality. She’s the one woman and one of the only people in general who successfully tricks Sherlock Holmes in the original canon, and I’m drawn to her personality and her ingenuity.
What is your view on the Holmes/Adler relationship and how does that play into account in your stories? (or can you say?!)
When I first began writing, I was attracted to the potential I felt existed for Holmes and Irene to forge a powerful friendship. The Detective and The Woman provides a context for that friendship to commence, and Winking Tree deepens it. I see them as equally strong but very different characters, and their differences make them a powerful investigative partnership, but also cause them to experience conflict.
What’s Next? With a 2nd book out what are your future plans? Anymore future adventures for Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler?
I’ve started sketching out basic ideas for a third book, and I’m still enjoying the dynamic between Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler, so I plan to continue as long as the ideas keep coming. Sherlock Holmes is one of the greatest characters in literature, and Irene Adler is a fantastic complement to him, so the possibilities are nearly endless.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, Amy!
You’re very welcome. I enjoyed answering all the questions
More From Luke Kuhns:
OUT NOW The Untold Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available in paperback and ebook from all good bookstores including in the USA Barnes and Noble, Amazon & Itunes. In the UK Amazon, Waterstones, Itunes UK. For fans outside US and UK can get free delivery from Book Depository. Alternatively you can order straight from MX Publishing!
OUT NOW Fragile Words: A Collection of Verses and Short Stories in both ebook and paperback! Go to amazon.com& amazon.co.uk for ebooks! If you are old fashioned and wish to have a physical copy go to lulu.com!
This entry was posted on February 16, 2013 by lukebenjamenkuhns. It was filed under Books, Getting to know the author, Literature, Sherlock Holmes, Uncategorized and was tagged with Amy Thomas, Arthur Conan Doyle, Baker Street Babes, bbc sherlock, Benedict Cumberbatch, doctor who, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Florida, Fort Myers, getting to know the author, interview, Irene Alder, Jeremy Brett, luke benjamen kuhns, Pastiche, Person of Interest, Peter Cushing, SHERLOCK HOLMES, The Detective and the Woman, The Detective The Woman and the Winking Tree, the untold adventures of sherlock holmes.