I, once again, have the honor of working with Kaye Publicity. A while back, they had contacted me to review one of their authors, knowing that Mystery/Suspense is my favorite genre. Today we will have the pleasure to meet another one of their authors, and get to know her and her latest novel. For me, it is humbling, when an author wants to stop by my blog. So please help me give a very warm welcome to Ms. Sheila Lowe!
After analyzing handwriting professionally for more than thirty years, I was ready to kill someone. I’d already published two non-fiction books about handwriting (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis and Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous), and loads of articles and monographs; I’d helped create the Handwriting Analyzer software. But mystery was always my first love and I’d wanted to write a novel since my teens.
I was sitting in the dentist’s chair, trying to take my mind off the sound of the drill, when I thought about a woman I knew who had died suddenly. The police ruled the death a suicide, but several mysterious elements swirled around the circumstances, such as the 300 butter wrappers found in her house, and the little black book that suggested she was not the person she appeared to be. So I wrote Poison Pen, a tale of psychological suspense where I made this woman a Hollywood publicist—the type you love to hate—and began the story at her funeral. The question that draws my main character, Claudia Rose, into the plot concerns a supposed suicide note found near the body: did the dead woman actually write it? Like me, Claudia is a forensic handwriting expert who authenticates handwriting in cases of suspected forgery, and a handwriting analyst who uses handwriting to develop behavior profiles.
I hadn’t planned to write a series, but when POISON PEN didn’t sell right away (it took seven years and numerous revisions), I started writing WRITTEN IN BLOOD. This story, too, had elements of a real-life murder. I added an emotionally troubled fourteen-year-old named Annabelle Giordano, who becomes attached to Claudia when they work on a graphotherapy program together. It’s really Annabelle’s story.
After POISON PEN received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and won a couple of awards, I was offered a four book deal with Penguin. The third book was DEAD WRITE, which took Claudia to New York to work for the eccentric owner of a very expensive dating service where people were suddenly dying. I actually did a lot of work for an expensive dating service, but as far as I know, none of the clients were murdered.
The fourth book, LAST WRITES, just came out. The story centers around the search for a three-year-old who goes missing in a fundamentalist religious cult. When Claudia gets an invitation to analyze handwriting for the cult leader and becomes one of the few outsiders to be allowed into the Ark, their remote compound, she gets to see firsthand what happens when people give away their power and stop thinking independently. She has only a few days to uncover the truth before the prophecy of a secret parchment can be fulfilled and a child’s life is written off for good…
Although handwriting plays an important part in my books, Claudia doesn’t solve crimes through handwriting analysis. She’s not a detective (her boyfriend Joel Jovanic is), but she is drawn into the stories through her clients, and she uses her knowledge of psychology and handwriting to better understand the people who populate the books. Readers often email to say they’ve become fascinated with handwriting analysis through my stories. I also welcome emails from readers who say my books have kept them up reading late into the night—the best compliment an author can hear.
For now, at least, my handwriting analysis practice continues to be my “day job,” and with at least ten thousand handwriting samples already in my files, there is plenty of fodder for future books. I love writing my forensic handwriting series and will happily produce as many Claudia Rose stories as my readers allow me to.
Website – www.ClaudiaRoseSeries.com
Twitter – www.twitter.com/Sheila_Lowe
Forensic Handwriting expert, Claudia Rose, returns this summer in another page-turning thriller by critically acclaimed author, Sheila Lowe.
Claudia’s friend Kelly learns that she’s an aunt when her estranged half sister, Erin, shows up at her home in desperate need of help. Erin and her husband have been living quiet lives as members of The Temple of Brighter Light in an isolated compound. But now her husband and young child have disappeared, leaving behind a cryptic note with a terrifying message. Seizing an opportunity to use her special skills as a forensic handwriting expert, Claudia becomes one of the few outsiders ever to be invited inside the compound. She must uncover the truth about Kelly’s missing niece before the prophecy of a secret ancient parchment can be fulfilled and a child’s life is written off for good…
As the fourth book in the series, LAST WRITES demonstrates Sheila Lowe’s ability to captivate readers, build suspense, and keep the pages turning.
Discover more Forensic Handwriting Mysteries at www.ClaudiaRoseSeries.com
Watch for my review of Last Writes in the coming weeks!!