The Write Space is a monthly Q&A series from Creative Collective covering a local writer and a North Shore space(s) s/he associates with writing. Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Give us your best writerly bio. Carol J. Perry is the author of Kensington’s popular Witch City Mystery series. She was born in the magical city of Salem, and to the delight of the publisher’s publicity department, she was born there on Halloween eve! In addition to the mysteries, Carol’s publishing background includes hundreds of magazine articles, several middle-grade novels, a couple of biographies, a travel guide book and a three-act play. Bio note from Carol: My career as a writer began in Salem when after one year at Boston University I was offered the job of assistant to the ad manager for the Pickering Fuel Company on Derby Street. It had been my dream since seventh grade (Pickering Grammar School) to work in the advertising field, so I became a gainfully employed college drop-out. Been writing ever since! I worked for many years as advertising and sales promotion manager for the late, great department store—Brown’s of Gloucester.
Tell us about a North Shore Write Space. Though I live in Florida now, my husband and I travel to the North Shore once or twice a year, visiting family and grandkids. My go-to hiding space for writing when I'm in North Shore territory is the Sawyer Free Library in Gloucester. I also use as many actual Salem locations as I can work into the story—restaurants, museums, beaches, churches, landmarks. Readers seem to like that. Those who know the area can picture my heroine Lee Barrett having lunch at Gulu-Gulu, enjoying a pepper steak at the Willows, walking on Deveraux Beach with police detective boyfriend Pete Mondello, buying a green candle at Crow Haven, selecting a book at Wicked Good Books, catching a movie at the Cinema. (Readers who haven’t been to Salem yet often comment that they plan to visit someday.) Of course, I have to make up some places too. Lee works at WICH-TV. There isn’t a station with those call letters, but shouldn’t there be? Lee and Aunt Ibby and the wise cat, O’Ryan live on Winter Street in a house very much like the one my childhood friend Judy Adams lived in. My husband Dan and I, along with our sweet black lab Kobe and snooty cat Shadow enjoy living in Florida. I write in my (messy) home office surrounded by books and assorted memorabilia. Occasionally, when deadline looms, I check into a nearby Holiday Inn for a weekend and write in uninterrupted solitude. I belong to two local writer’s critique groups as well as Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.
When I’m in the North Shore, not writing, I’m … When we revisit the North Shore, I usually spend a day in Salem—behaving like a tourist, taking pictures, stopping in witch stores, maybe checking out the museum—and we absolutely have to go to Essex for fried clams and Richardson’s Dairy for ice cream!
What are you working on now? I’m currently working on Book #8 in the series, Final Exam. Book #6, It Takes a Coven released on February 27, and Book #7, Bells, Spells and Murders will be out in October 2018. (From July 10 through August 20, every Barnes & Noble in this great country will have a special display of thirty of Kensington’s cozy mysteries and I’m delighted to say that two of them will be mine!) Thanks again for inviting me. I’ll keep checking the membership of Creative Salem, looking for places, events, or even good locales to find a body!
And finally - Here is the first paragraph of Grave Errors by Carol J. Perry: If you’ve ever been to my hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, during the month of October, you know how crazy it can be—and the closer you get to Halloween, the nuttier it becomes. The following week though, is the exact opposite—kind of like a deflated balloon. The empty candy wrappers have been swept from the streets, the carved pumpkins have gone soft, their jagged-toothed smiles sagging crookedly, and most of the visiting witches and witch wannabes have left town. I’m Lee Barrett, nee Maralee Kowolski, thirty-two, red-haired, Salem born, orphaned early, married once and widowed young.