What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.
Friday, 11 November 2016
HOLMES AWAY FROM HOME: AN INTERVIEW WITH SONIA FETHERSTON
For more than 15 years Sonia was a successful advertising and public relations executive in her native Pacific Northwest. She’s now an extremely busy freelance writer whose work has appeared in publications and on websites world-wide. Her current project is a book about the silent film appearances of legendary stage/screen actor John Barrymore.
Sonia has published a dozen scholarly articles in THE BAKER STREET JOURNAL, the preeminent quarterly of Sherlockiana. For her research and writing excellence, she was honored with the prestigious Morley-Montgomery Award (2012), as well as with an Eddie Award (2013) from The Baker Street Irregulars. Sonia was the author of the BSI’s (2012) Christmas Annual, BARRYMORE IN BAKER STREET. Her book, PRINCE OF THE REALM: THE IRREGULAR LIFE OF JAMES BLISS AUSTIN (2014) is about an early member of the BSI. She was a contributing author for two titles of Calabash Press’s distinguished CASEFILES series. Sonia’s byline has appeared in Sherlockian publications from Italy to Australia, Japan to Canada, Sweden to the United States. She’s an active member of four scion societies.
Sonia Fetherston received her BSI Investiture, The Solitary Cyclist, in 2014.
When did your love affair with Sherlock Holmes begin?
I was probably five years old. My dad wrote college textbooks, and he insisted that our house had to be completely silent when he was working. So I’d crouch in front of our old black-and-white television and watch movies with the sound turned off. In those days one of the TV stations in town showed nothing but old movies. Without fail, once a week they’d broadcast all of the Rathbone/Bruce films back to back. Those were glorious, goggle-eyed hours. I thought Basil Rathbone was the most magnificent creature I’d ever seen. He moved like a dancer, but there was always this dangerous undercurrent in his Holmes. Later, probably around age eleven, I began to read Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories. The first one was “The Speckled Band.” I can still remember my heart thudding at the notion of a s-s-snake slithering over its slumbering victim.
Do your family share your interest in the Great Detective?
My daughter married a Sherlockian. I tell her she has good taste!
How did your involvement in Holmes Away From Home come about?
Everybody knows the names Derrick Belanger and David Marcum. What a winning team! Derrick advertised for Sherlockian writers to propose short story ideas for the Great Hiatus years. Purely as a lark, I sent him something. How astonishing to learn mine was selected. As it happens, some of my childhood was spent in Switzerland not far from the Reichenbach Falls. I thought I might combine my very real memories of the terrain and the people with Sherlock Holmes’s flight from Moriarty’s gang. That’s how I came to invent a little Alpine family who sheltered Holmes in the crucial hours after the incident at the falls. The title of my story, “Over the Mountains in the Darkness” is taken directly from Holmes’s own description of his run to safety.
How much time do you spend writing?
I try to research, write, or edit nearly every day. For years I would rise with the sun and work through the morning, but nowadays I’m more of an afternoon person. Except for rare dips in the fiction pool, most of my writing is non-fiction – essays and commentary, biography, Sherlockian scholarship, book reviews and so on. I’ve been a frequent contributor to magazines such as The Baker Street Journal, The Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, Canadian Holmes, The Journal of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London, The Sydney Passengers’ Log, The Sherlock Holmes Journal, The Musgrave Papers and others. My commentary has appeared in several anthologies, like Calabash Press’s Case Files series.
On small screen or large screen, who do you think has most successfully portrayed Holmes? And Watson?
Call me crazy, or mired in my childhood, but I’m loyal to Rathbone and Bruce. Rathbone nailed the sleek, aesthetic look and clipped speech. His is the “voice” I always hear in my head when I read the Canon. But I’m honest enough to giggle at the opinion of the great John Barrymore (himself a Holmes of the silent screen) who said that Rathbone played The Great Detective rather like a rolled up umbrella that had taken elocution lessons! As for the oft-maligned Bruce….one must consider him from the perspective of a film director of the 1940s. His obtuse, lumpy Watson is the perfect visual and intellectual foil to Rathbone’s thinking whippet.
How often do you read the original stories?
I reach into them almost every day. I use three different editions of the Canon – the Oxford Annotated, Baring-Gould’s Annotated and Morley’s Doubleday. The Doubleday is my old workhorse. There are so many colored highlights and notes scribbled in its margins, there are places where it’s difficult to see Conan Doyle’s original words! On Twitter I’m known as “@221blonde.” There I post daily quotes directly from the Sherlock Holmes Canon, sometimes accompanied by photos of my gewgaws: a Holmes teapot, Holmes and Watson salt and pepper shakers, vintage Sherlockian Valentine cards, an autographed picture of William Gillette, the new Basil of Baker Street Christmas ornament from Disney, and more. My great hope is that others will feel a connection and be inspired to check out the original stories themselves.
What is your current project?
This year I wrote about a half-dozen magazine articles, all accepted for publication in 2017. I’m just completing a book-length project for an upcoming Baker Street Journal Christmas Annual, with my friend and co-author Julie McKuras. She and I work so well together, I hope to do other projects with her. By the end of the week I will finish an essay for a book someone’s compiling about the quirky lives of real Sherlockians – that will be released next year. It’s always something!
For more about Holmes Away From Home, click HERE!!