I’m Sherri Bryan—a Brit living in Spain. I write The Charlotte Denver Cozy Mysteries, which are small-town culinary cozies, and The Bliss Bay Village Mysteries. The series are set in Cornwall and Devon in the south-west of England. They’re gentle mysteries, with a little fun, a little romance, and characters who I hope will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.
Have you ever been to the United States and if so, where?
Yes! We spent three weeks visiting my stepdaughter and her family in Spring Green, Wisconsin, five years ago. It was so different to anywhere I’ve ever been before, but the people were really welcoming and we had a great time.
As soon as I was there, I completely understood why cozies are so popular in the US, and why close-knit communities (like Spring Green) lend themselves so well to the genre. There were so many elements that I’ve read about in so many cozies; from the village busybodies and gossips (my stepdaughter tipped us the wink!) to the Sheriff, the general store, the craft shop, the bakery, and the old guy who spent his day in a rocking chair outside the general store, taking in the sun. In fact, he gave me an idea for a character in an upcoming book.
Suffice to say, I loved everything about the trip, and we’ll definitely get back to Wisconsin one day.
What is one expression that is common to your part of the world that might be unusual to us in the US and what does it mean?
‘I’m chuffed to bits!’ is one I use a lot. It means you’re very happy or pleased about something.
Where would you take a US visitor to your country to first, and why?
Well, if I still lived in the UK, I’d spend a couple of days taking you around the university city of Cambridge. So many great cozies are based in or around Oxford, but I think it’d be good to ring the changes with a trip to its ‘rival’ city—the Oxford v Cambridge Boat Race is a well-known example of the rivalry between the two universities.
Also, my niece lives there, so we could stay at her place! And, as a special treat, I couldn’t let you leave England without taking you to Burgh Island for afternoon tea. It’s an art-deco hotel on its own private island in south Devon, and at which Agatha Christie wrote two of her novels. It’s a beautiful place to visit, in a gorgeous part of the world.
But as I now live in Spain—and I can’t choose where I’d take you first!—we’d go to Seville for tapas and to see a Flamenco show; to Madrid to visit Botín (founded in 1725, it’s the oldest restaurant in the world, according to The Guinness Book of Records), and then to Barcelona to see the Sagrada Família. Also known as the Gaudi Cathedral, it’s an amazing sight, although still unfinished despite being started in 1882. And, before we left, I’d have to take you to meet my lovely, hospitable, Spanish friend, Loli, who’s in her eighties, and full of stories about her life, and who won’t let you leave her house until she’s fed and watered you until you feel like you’re going to burst.
Describe your writing space.
My writing space is a spare bedroom, which I use as an office—nothing fancy at all. No bed, just two desks, two chairs, two bookshelves and two big boards on the wall that I use for plotting and notes. I also have a pin board which is supposed to be for pinning reminders of things to do but, somehow, it got filled with photos of friends, family, and dogs instead, which have spilled out onto the walls, and which are much nicer to look at.
The room has large door that leads out onto the terrace so, if I come to a grinding halt while I’m writing (which is all too often, unfortunately), I go and sit outside for a change of scene, and to think.
Who is your favorite character?
I have two. Ava, in my Charlotte Denver series, because I got the inspiration for her from my mother-in-law, and Uncle Des, from my Bliss Bay series, because some of his characteristics and mischievous ways are based on my Dad.
What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
When I was young, my Dad used to go to the library every Saturday morning. I pestered him for ages to take me so, on my sixth birthday, he did. One book I chose was The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton, and I couldn’t put it down. As soon as I read the last word, I burst into tears because I hadn’t wanted it to end.
I remember being awestruck that a story could make me feel so many emotions, from angst and sadness to excitement and joy. I think that was the first time I realised that words had the power to allow me to ‘escape’ into a book, and I’ve been doing it ever since.
Favorite quote (doesn’t matter the source)
If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
Sherri writes these wonderful series, so be sure to check them out. The Charlotte Denver Cozy Mysteries & The Bliss May Village Mysteries.
You can find them on Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Play and Amazon. Find these links on her website.
Well, that was fun! I love learning about other writers and where they live, don’t you? Life has been hectic, and I’m sorry for the gap in the interviews! But on news in my writing life, I have a new release coming out on March 17th. It’s up for preorder now.
And don’t forget to sign-up for my newsletter. There are book gifts and surprises in almost every letter! And now you can buy my books direct!
Thanks for joining Sherri and me-be sure to pick up a book and enjoy your day!