Monday, August 27, 2012

Getting to know Sally Carpenter

We have mystery author, Sally Carpenter, visiting with us this week. I read Sally’s The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper and really enjoyed it. Now, let’s get to know Sally.
Patricia:  Sally, where did you grow up? Did your childhood contribute to your desire to be a writer?

:  I was born and raised in southwestern Indiana, the same setting as my book. Growing up I read a lot because that wasn’t much else to do. My family lived in the country outside a small town, Princeton, pop. 10,000. We didn’t go into town frequently and when we did, the only entertainment was a bowling alley and a single-screen movie theater. During the school year I checked out books from the school library and in the summer I hung out at the public library during the day while mom did the shopping. In eighth grade I won the library’s summer reading contest by reading the most books. I made up stories, too.
In the evenings we watched TV (only three channels!) and that helped to inspire my series character who starred in a fictitious TV show. In high school I was active in the school drama club and plays, which also helped to develop my storytelling skills.  

Patricia:  Where do you live now? Do you use that locale for settings in your novels?

:  I’ve lived in Southern California since 2000. As a kid I dreamed of going to Hollywood, so here I am. I came to LA to break into TV writing and ended up writing mystery novels! But that’s okay. I live west of LA in Moorpark, which is considered a “small town” even though it’s three times the size of Princeton. The hero of my books lives in LA because he works in showbiz.  

Patricia:  What inspired you to write your most recent novel?
Sally :  More than a decade or so ago VH1 started running “The Monkees” TV show again, which I hadn’t seen since I was a kid. I fell in love with the guys and became a super fan—going to concerts, collecting stuff, talking to fans, reading about teen idols. I was taking a college course in playwrighting at the time and wrote a one-act play about an aging star meeting one of his fans. The play was a finalist in a playwrighting contest and one of the judges said, “I can see a bigger story here.”
In 2008 a local library hosted a panel discussion with members of Sisters in Crime. The program inspired me to start writing mysteries (and to join SinC), so I took the teen idol character and turned him into an amateur sleuth.    

Patricia:  Did you plan to write a series before or after you wrote the first book?

:  I always knew this would be a series before I started. As a kid I wanted to create and star in my own TV show so I think of the individual books as episodes in my TV series.

Patricia:  Name three of your favorite authors in the mystery genre.

:  Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes) and Richard Levinson/William Link (Columbo) would be tops. I also love the Holmes on the Range series by Steve Hockensmith. 

Patricia:  What are your favorite things to do when you’re not reading or writing?

:  I don’t have much time left over when I’m not reading or writing! I work a full-time job at a community newspaper to pay the bills then come home to write. I’m also a play critic for the newspaper so I occasionally review the local community and school productions. I spoil two black cats. I enjoy watching old movies and the classic TV shows I grew up with; I have an enormous home video collection. I like to help out the city library; next month I’ll be reading books to preschoolers for a session of PJ Storytime. On Sundays I go to church. Not exciting but I like to keep the drama on the page and out of my life.

Patricia:  Do you like to travel? If so, what are some of your favorite places to go?

:  I wish I could travel more but with a full-time job and limited finances I don’t go far. One of the local libraries takes day trips to museums and interesting places in LA and I usually take those excursions. Some time ago a local group hosted a location tour in LA to see places where various Laurel and Hardy movies were filmed. Some of those houses/places still look the same!
Years ago I was with a traveling drama troupe and we toured Western Canada. I’ve been on a weekend cruise to the Bahamas and would love to take a weeklong cruise. I like the whole shipboard experience. In 2014 I plan to go to Monterey Calif. for the Left Coast Crime convention.  

Patricia:  How would you describe yourself personality wise?

:  Introvert, funny, spiritual, smart, loving, independent, loyal friend.

Patricia:  What’s your favorite color? Why?

Sally:  Green. It’s the color of grass and represents growth (also coincidentally the color of money but that doesn’t mean I’m greedy). Blue is runner-up because my eyes are blue and I look good in dark blue clothes; my series protagonist has blue eyes too.

Patricia:  How would you finish this sentence? If I won a million dollars, I would . . .

:  pay off my debts, buy a house, invest the money so I could afford to write full-time and give to charity.

Thanks for having me, Patricia! This has been fun!
Yes it has, Sally. Thanks for being my guest this week.
To read more about and/or to order a copy of The Baffled Beatlemaniac Caper go to:


  1. Great interview, Patricia. Always fun to learn more about some of my favorite authors. I'm a big fan of Baffled Beatlemaniac, and I recommend it to all my friends!

    1. Thanks, William! I know Sally will be happy to hear that.

  2. Wonderful interview, ladies! I've enjoyed getting to know more about you, Sally, and I enjoyed your book. I, too, am a Hockensmith fan. In fact, I need to check to see if he has any new stories out. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Hi Bill and Marja. Glad you liked my book! Hockensmith has a new zombie book out called "Cadaver in Chief" and two collection of short stories that were published in mystery magazines, "Blarney" and "Naughty" (Christmas stories).

  4. Loved this interview - it was entertaining and easy to read! Nice to know you better, Sally.

  5. What a fun interview. It was neat to see questions I didn't think to ask when you were a guest on my blog. It's always fun to get to know more about authors. For anyone who hasn't read "The baffled Beatlemaniac Caper," you should! It was an entertaining, well written mystery.

  6. I'm so happy to learn more about you, Sally. I hope one day you will visit my blog. You live near my old stomping grounds. I grew up in L.A., dad worked for Paramount Studios, for years hubby and I lived with our kids in Oxnard. Still have one daughter and her family in Camarillo. One of these days we need to do something together. And Pat, as always, a great interview.

  7. Wonderful getting to to know Sally better! Thanks for the interview, Patricia. It sounds like you have a very full life, Sally! Don't know how you do all that and write. A million dollars certainly would be a nice thing...


  8. It's always nice to learn more about fellow authors. I lived in Simi Valley for many years, so I know Moorpark well. What a fun interview, Sally and Patricia.

  9. Marilyn, I worked for Paramount for two years as a tour guide/page. I ushered in the guests for the sitcom shoots. What a fun job! I'm using that experience for my next Sandy Fairfax mystery which is set in a movie studio. And thanks to everyone for your kind comments! Always appreciated!

  10. I always enjoy reading interviews with Sally. Thanks so much, Patricia!