Monday, July 29, 2013

Please Welcome Reluctant Sailor and Happy Mystery Writer, Terry Shames

About Terry Shames: 
Terry Shames grew up in Texas. She has abiding affection for the small town where her grandparents lived, the model for the fictional town of Jarrett Creek. A resident of Berkeley, California, Terry lives with her husband, two rowdy terriers and a semi-tolerant cat. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. Her second Samuel Craddock novel, THE LAST DEATH OF JACK HARBIN will be out in January 2014. Find out more about Terry and her books at

What Terry Has to Say:

Thank you to the Spunky Seniors for having me as a guest. This has been a whirlwind time for me with the debut of my first novel, A KILLING AT COTTON HILL. I hope readers enjoy the connection between the book and the sailing life.
The Best Days and the Second Best Days by Terry Shames

Leaving out days like marriages and births, they say the best day of your life is the day you buy your boat and the second best day is the day you sell it. And they are right—at least for sailors.

I’d argue that the best day of my life was last week when my debut novel, A KILLING AT COTTON HILL, came out, but then I’m not an avid sailor; I’m a reluctant sailor who has had some days on a boat.

 I thought my husband and I had had all the best and second-best days we were going to have with respect to boats. But two weeks ago we signed papers to buy another one. Another best day for my husband. And, oddly, for someone like me who doesn’t really love sailing, a happy day for me as well. For one particular reason.

Our last boat was a 45-foot catamaran, a big boat.
 Last fall we sold her after we decided sailing and maintaining her had gotten to be too much for us—physically as well as financially. “Good riddance!” my husband said. Finally completely retired from both working and boating, he then made a valiant effort to turn his attention elsewhere. He took classes; tried kite boarding; and insisted that we double our pet population, promising he would take on all the responsibility for caring for them. But after a few months both of us realized that he was not making a success of being retired from sailing. He was restless and unfulfilled. He wanted another boat. “Couldn’t you take up something like golf?” I whined. No, he wanted to be on the water.

I have to admit, that although I wasn’t as enthusiastic as he was, there were things I missed about our boat: lovely evenings sitting on deck watching the sunset; jumping off into the water in the heat of the day; sailing when the wind was just right. So we decided to get another boat. We looked at a few, kicking tires, so to speak, and then we went to Los Angeles to examine a promising prospect. We walked onto the Catalina and I immediately felt good about her. But there was one thing I needed to test out before I gave my wholehearted love. While my husband was talking to the sales rep, I went below to do my “test.” Eventually my husband came downstairs and found me in the master cabin, sitting propped up on the pillows. “What are doing?” he asked.

I grinned. “Checking out whether I can write here. And it will be just fine,” I said. Sold. 

I wrote most of A KILLING AT COTTON HILL while we were on our catamaran in the Caribbean. Every morning I got up at 6 AM, booted my husband out of the cabin and worked feverishly for three hours, our dog snoozing on the bed while I typed. Learning to write on the boat freed me from feeling unproductive and slovenly. Now I know I can do it. We have a smaller boat that we can both handle physically, but big enough that I can prop myself up and write to my heart’s content.

Happy Sailing!
About Terry's New Release:

In A KILLING AT COTTON HILL the chief of police of Jarrett Creek, Texas, doubles as the town drunk. So when Dora Lee Parjeter is murdered, her old friend and former police chief Samuel Craddock steps in to investigate. He discovers that a lot of people may have wanted Dora Lee dead—the conniving rascals on a neighboring farm, her estranged daughter and her surly live-in grandson. And then there’s the stranger Dora Lee claimed was spying on her. During the course of the investigation the human foibles of the small-town residents—their pettiness and generosity, their secret vices and true virtues—are revealed.

 “…if you’re as fond of good writing as I am, it will be the characters in Cotton Hill that will keep the pages turning until late in the evening…” - Mysteryfile
 “Shames’ novel is an amazing read. The poetic, literary quality of the writing draws you in…” - RT Book Reviews 

 “Readers will want to see more of the likable main character, who compassionately but relentlessly sifts the evidence. Convincing small town atmosphere and a vivid support cast are a plus.” - Publisher's Weekly
 “Terry Shames offers readers a wonderfully-told tale that kept me turning pages… what kept my interest more than anything was the writing. It was absolutely superb.”  -  Lee Lofland, The Graveyard Shift

Please welcome Terry Shames to Spunky Senior Authors and Talents by leaving a comment.