Sheri Cobb South is the Amazon Bestselling author of more than twenty books.
Her John Pickett series of historical mysteries was featured on USA Today’s book blog, and is now being released as an award-winning audiobook series. Her novels have been translated into foreign languages and published in large print editions. A native of Alabama, she has lived in Loveland since 2011.
The following is an interview with Sheri Cobb South.
Each week, The Colorado Sun and Colorado Humanities & Center For The Book feature an excerpt from a Colorado book and an interview with the author. Explore the SunLit archives at coloradosun.com/sunlit
What inspired you to write this book?
I wrote its “parent novel,” The Weaver Takes a Wife, twenty years ago, and I got so attached to that book’s hero, Ethan Brundy, that I couldn’t stop writing about him. After two more novels with the same characters, I thought I’d said all I had to say, but then Theo, who was only 19 in The Weaver, started letting me know he was all grown up and it was time to tell his story.
Who are your favorite authors and/or characters?
Well, most of my favorite authors tend to be dead! It was Georgette Heyer who introduced me to the English Regency period, where most of my books are set, and Mary Stewart’s romantic suspense novels set in exotic locations gave me a craving for travel that continues to this day. As for living authors, I love the time-traveling historians of Colorado’s own Connie Willis, and I’m enjoying Will Thomas’s Victorian-era Barker and Llewelyn mysteries.
Why did you choose this excerpt to feature in SunLit?
This scene sets up the “fish out of water” conflict and explains just how a duke comes to be working in a cotton mill. It also offers a look at Theo’s brother-in-law, Ethan Brundy, and hopefully lets Sun readers see why I grew so attached to him.
What was the most fun or rewarding part of working on this book?
Throwing Theo into a new and uncomfortable situation, and seeing him grow up and learn to stand on his own two feet as he was forced to deal with his changed circumstances.
What was the most difficult section to write in this book?
Undoubtedly, the scenes set in the mill! Why? I had to learn about textile manufacturing at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. I’d done a fair amount of research on the subject for The Weaver, but now I had to learn specifically what task one mill worker might do, and the challenges he might face in that tedious but potentially dangerous job.
What was one interesting fact you learned while researching this book?
There really was a Parliamentary election in 1820, but unlike American elections that take place in November, it was held in the spring. Unfortunately, the timeline of the previous “Weaver” book, French Leave, required me to push it back to the fall. It’s one of those instances where strict historical accuracy would have struck readers, at least readers here in the U.S., as being “wrong.”
What project are you working on next?
I’m presently working on the 10th book in my John Pickett mystery series, which is set in roughly the same time period. In fact, The Desperate Duke contains an epilogue that ties the “Weaver” series with the John Pickett mystery series. It’s been fun to see readers’ reactions as they “get” the joke.
— Buy “The Desperate Duke” at BookBar
— Excerpt from “The Desperate Duke” by Sheri Cobb South