Sheila Lowe
With 35 years of handwriting analysis experience, Sheila Lowe used her knowledge
to start writing a wonderful series staring "Claudia Rose."
 Poison Pen came out in
April 2008, while
Written in Blood comes out in September 2008.  Claudia Rose is a
forensic hand-writing expert that uses her knowledge to solve crimes.  

Sheila's vast knowledge of hand-writing analysis makes
Poison Pen a fantastic
read.  When you pick up this book, you will understand more about the complex
profession of hand-writing analysis, and deep appreciation for the field.  Written in
Blood's release date is already on our calendar, and can't wait to see it!!  
Lindsey Alexander, a top Hollywood publicist, has
apparently committed suicide. Her friend and business
manager isn't so sure, and he retains Claudia to
examine the purported suicide note. Claudia was well
acquainted with Lindsey, having experienced her
ruthless self-promotion first-hand. As the story
progresses, Claudia discovers Lindsey's secret side
business, and the questions begin to mount, along
with possible suspects who include a U.S. senator and
a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon. Claudia meets up with
Detective Joel Jovanic, whose skepticism about
handwriting analysis immediately puts them at odds.
When beautiful young widow, Paige Sorensen, is accused by
her stepchildren of forging their father's will and
handwriting expert Claudia Rose is retained to defend her,
Claudia has no idea that she will soon become embroiled in
a violent family battle. As she grows to know Paige better,
she also develops a mentoring relationship with a troubled
young student at the Sorensen Academy, helping her with
graphotherapy. A shocking disappearance puts the spotlight
on the student, and Claudia is forced to use every scrap of
her wits and her courage to discover what happened and
whether her young friend is really a brutal criminal.
To purchase either Poison
Pen or Written in Blood,
click on the book image.  
Is Claudia Rose based loosely about yourself?

That’s something everyone wants to know. I never set out to write a book based on myself, but
because Claudia and I work in the same field there are bound to be similarities. However, she’s not me.
Maybe the truth is, she’s the idealized me—she gets to do dangerous stuff I wouldn’t have the guts to
do.


How difficult was it for you to finally get your book published?

About as difficult as giving birth (believe me, I know, having given birth three times). From the time I
finished writing Poison Pen (and even though it won a prize in the Southwest Writers contest) it took
seven years before it was published. In the intervening time I rewrote it about five-hundred times. Well,
it felt like it. But the thing that made the big difference was hiring the right editor. I had gone to a
couple of book doctors in the beginning, one of whom gave me some good suggestions. But it was
Ellen Larson who told me what needed to happen to make the book saleable. I had known something
wasn’t quite right, but was too close to the story to put my finger on the problem. Among a few small
things, Ellen’s main complaint was, Claudia needed an attitude adjustment. “Claudia’s always feeling
guilty,” Ellen said. “Your readers want a strong protagonist.” After looking at the specific passages she
pointed out, I saw it with new eyes, made the changes, and everything seemed to fall into place. Taking
out most of the adverbs also improved it. Having an excellent critique group helped, too. Immeasurably
(yes, I know it’s an adverb).


What is your favorite all-time book, not yours?  And why?

That’s a tough one. Overall, John Sandford is my very favorite mystery/crime writer, but Tami Hoag’s
book, Ashes to Ashes, is probably my favorite mystery. It was so scary at the end that I was shaking
as I read it.


Why did you decide to start writing?

I don’t think I decided to start writing, it was just something I did, beginning in earnest around age 14.
I began reading mysteries when I got The Sea of Adventure for my 7th birthday, and always wanted to
write one. Took me a long time to get there. While simmering, I wrote a few short stories, some teen
angst poetry, and a lot of technical stuff for my work as a handwriting analyst, including monographs
on handwriting and 10,000+ reports. Then I wrote the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Handwriting Analysis
and Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, after which I finally got back around to my first love,
mystery.


Who would you consider your biggest influences?

In writing? I suppose the authors mentioned above. I love Sandford’s characters—the dialogue makes
them so real, and Lucas Davenport is a bit of a superman (my hero). Hoag has a wonderful way of
drawing a scene; in my opinion, her descriptions are unmatched. The opening line of Michael Connelly’s
book, Concrete Blonde, is one of my favorites—a few simple but descriptive words that set the scene
to perfection. Tess Gerritsen’s protagonist is similar in many ways to Claudia Rose, and I enjoy her
writing style a lot. In learning the craft, there were two books about the creative process that I loved
and recommend: The Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
by Robert Fritz, and Word Painting by Rebecca McClanahan.


If you could solve one mystery for yourself, what would it be?

How the heck to write books, make a living, and do all the requisite promotion. I know that’s not what
you meant, but really, that’s the biggest mystery for any author starting out. Learning that writing the
book was the “easy” part was a shocker. I assumed the publisher would take care of all the promotion
and leave me free to write the next book. That ain’t how it works.


Patricia Cornwell in her book about Jack the Ripper used handwriting as a main source of
evidence against who she thought the killer was, do you agree or disagree with her findings?

Although I’ve read most of her books (and I hate what she’s done to Marino in the last one), the
Ripper investigation isn’t one of them, so I haven’t seen the handwriting she used. I have analyzed
some Ripper handwritings, though. I believe there were about 400 letters received by the police. I’ve
just analyzed the most popular suspects—the “Dear Boss” letter and “From Hell.”


Every Author has some superstitions when they write, what are yours?

My cat is grey, not black, and I am careful with mirrors. The truth is, I think I’m too practical to be
superstitious. Or maybe I just don’t want to admit it.


Written in Blood comes out in September 2008, what is next for Sheila?

I’m working on Dead Write, the next Claudia Rose Forensic Handwriting Mystery. It involves an
outlandish matchmaker, Baroness Grusha Olinetksy, who calls on Claudia’s expertise when bad things
happen.


How much research do you put into creating the villain in your books?

I haven’t done any research specifically into the villain. Because my work as a handwriting analyst has
to do with personality and motivations, I’m pretty familiar with what makes people tick. So far, I haven’
t needed to go beyond that for research. What I have had to research most is info on police
procedure. Maybe when I’ve gotten a few more books behind me I’ll have a different answer.
Here is our exclusive interview with Sheila Lowe!
Suspense Magazine Review
Written in Blood, Sheila Lowe’s second installment in the Claudia
Rose Mystery Series is even more compelling than the first (Poison
Pen).  In this adventure, Claudia’s client should be relatively easy to
assist by authenticating the signature on a will.  Unfortunately, for
Claudia, too much is at stake in the eyes of the family and she
becomes intertwined with the personal lives of those involved.  
During the journey, Lowe continues to show us her amazing skill
set for developing remarkable characters and Rose becomes as real as
the rest of us.             
Suspense Magazine Review
Poison Pen, Sheila Lowe’s debut novel is an instant hit.  Claudia Rose, a
moderately successful Handwriting Analyst; is an intelligent, attractive
woman who is instantly thrown into a police investigation when an old friend
is found dead under somewhat questionable circumstances.  It is her job to
determine if the suicide note is the real deal. As the plot thickens, continuing
at break-neck speed, guilty parties seem to jump off the pages.  Claudia Rose
instantly becomes the character that you want to see succeed.