Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls.
I recently read Ms. Varadan's novel; with Victorian London and Sherlock Holmes within the pages of a middle grade novel I was in heaven! Elizabeth has created a delightful story by blending the lives of a young, sheltered, but precocious girl, with that of the iconic, witty, Baker Street detective. Borrowing a quip from the super-sleuth himself, "Excellent!"
Before I bring you my interview with Elizabeth, here is a short summary of her book. It will be released on June 15, 2015.
In Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls, a day after Imogene's obnoxious step-cousins pay a visit, her mother's pearls go missing. When Sherlock Holmes is called in, Imogene, harboring a secret desire to become a detective, sees her chance to learn from the great Mr. Holmes.
VL Welcome to Writ of Whimsy, Elizabeth! It's an honor to interview you today; I'm anxious to learn more about your book. Before we start I just want to thank you for being such a great friend. It's been a pleasure getting to know you, even though it's only been via social networking.
EV Thanks for having me here today. It's a real pleasure to know you, too, Victoria. Isn't the Internet grand? I've enjoyed your blog for years, now.
VL So, Elizabeth, how long have you been writing?
EV Off and on, I've written ever since I was quite young - skits, stories, poems, all through elementary school and college. I only started taking it seriously, though, after I finished university. Still, I could only write in my spare time, especially once I started teaching, as that was a consuming passion for many years.
VL Is this your first novel?
EV It's my second completed novel. I self-published a middle grade fantasy novel a few years ago, and I have a cozy mystery and a middle grade historical novel both in the rewrite stages. I also have a completed collection of children's stories that is being submitted around.
VL What inspired you to write Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls?
EV A few years ago, during a visit to England, my brother and his wife took me to the Sherlock Holmes museum on Baker Street in London, which planted a seed. Some time later, in my favorite used book store, I came across a delightful book, Kitty and Mr. Kipling in Vermont, written by Lenore Blegvad and illustrated by her husband, Erick Blegvad. It's a story about a little girl who becomes friends with Rudyard Kipling when he and his family move next door. I was charmed by the idea and started to think, "Wouldn't it be fun to write about a little girl who becomes friends with Sherlock Holmes? What if she even helped him solve a case." The idea grew, and Imogene, who started out very young, grew older as I wrote - probably because I taught intermediate grades for several years, and 8-to-12-year-olds are imbedded in my psyche.
VL How much research was necessary to create this story?
EV Tons! I've always loved British authors, so some of the voice and mentality of the late Victorian/Edwardian eras were already in my head. But to track down necessary details--maps, neighborhoods, occupations, social roles, ship schedules, railroad time tables, educational practices--all of that required hours of research and lots of correspondence to museums, societies, etc., as well as to many blog sites. I re-read all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, again, as well as other fan novels, and Baring-Gould's The Annotated Sherlock Holmes. But I like research. My husband teases me that I only write stories that require research, and to some extent, that's true.
VL What is your current work in progress?
EV I actually have more than one. I usually do. It seems to be the way I work. I have both the middle grade historical novel with a ghost and the contemporary cozy, set in another country that are both in stages of revision. And I have a general outline for a sequel to Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls.
VL Elizabeth, do you have any advice for pre-published writers?
EV Don't get discouraged by rejection. We writers do want to be published, but rejection is a normal set of steps on the path to publication. Keep writing and perfecting your craft. And keep the joy of writing your priority. If publication is all you care about, you probably aren't a writer at heart. Writing should be your first love. If it is, in time, publication will follow.
Thanks so much for stopping by Writ of Whimsy today, Elizabeth!
We've really enjoyed learning more about you and your soon-to-be released novel, Imogene and The Case of the Missing Pearls.
For those of you in the Sacramento area, Elizabeth will be at
Time Tested Books, 1114 21st Street, Sacramento, CA 95811 on
April 29, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. for a pre-publication book signing.
Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls will be released on June 15th.
You may pre-order at these links:
Click here to pre-order.
Amazon: Click here to pre-order.
Here are the online links where you can find Elizabeth Varadan:
Blog: Victorian Scribbles
Facebook: Elizabeth Varadan Author
Amazon Author Page: Click here.
(The Sherlock Holmes Museum Elizabeth mentioned in her comments is shown on the left.)
Photo by Victoria Lindstrom