What got you interested in Sherlock Holmes and when?
I was very young when I started reading Conan Doyle. The Hound of the Baskervilles was the first grown-up book I read. It was a gift from my grandmother when I was seven. Yes, most of the people I know think it’s obnoxious, too. I adored everything about the story, the quirky characters, the moody landscape and, of course, Holmes himself. I've probably read it a good thirty or forty times since and it still thrills me.
Did you get encouragement from friends and family? Did anyone question your interest?
No one raised an eyebrow when I started to write Holmes stories. In hindsight, I suspect they were waiting for it. Well, it’s very hard to keep your Holmes passion a secret. Besides, why would you want to?
Who is your favourite screen Holmes and why?
I have lots of favourite screen Holmeses… Sadly, we've lost most of the ones I loved best: Basil Rathbone, Douglas Wilmer and Jeremy Brett. They, and my current fave, Benedict Cumberbatch, each bring something new and fresh to the character. When I'm writing, I usually hear Holmes with Brett's voice, though the others creep in as well. For instance, Holmes's bewilderment in the face of sentimentality is pure Cumberbatch.
I pepper my stories with 'Easter Eggs' related to the canon and the people who have been involved in various productions. For instance, a client in my current work is Edgar Hardwicke (in honour of the late Edward Hardwicke). There is also a Peter Huggins, which was Brett's real name.
When did you first decide to write a book in the field and why?
In some ways, my first Holmes book wrote me. I was writing and publishing literary short stories plus a novel (an unpublished, prize-winning ghost story called "Shakespeare’s Tree"), but I kept feeling drawn back to the book that became my first Holmes novel. The premise and the characters got so much under my skin, I had to write them. It was so much fun, I’ve done it a few times since!
How do you find the Sherlock Holmes community, any really positive or negative experiences?
I attended a class in mystery writing several years ago. The woman sitting next to me was a huge Jeremy Brett fan. Other than my family – my mother and my grandmother loved Conan Doyle – she was the first Holmes fan I met.
I live in a small town in Ireland (Kells) and there isn't a big Holmes community here, so most of my exchanges tend to be on-line. Overall, I've found the community to be mostly positive and welcoming. True, there are some who resist ideas that do not jibe with their own. Some are so serious they rob the tales of all their humour. Those are the exceptions, though. One thing seems universal is an eagerness to share information. I think there's a little Holmes in all of us; we love having the answers!
Written by Geri Schear