Rosemary was born in Brooklyn, New York, and now splits her time between Manhattan’s East Side and Fairfield County, Connecticut. After several careers in book retailing (Waldenbooks), direct marketing (Crown Publishers, American Express), and television (Disney/ABC Video, WNET, New York’s public television station), she traded in her pumps for a pair of plastic garden clogs to indulge in her favorite pastime.
During one long snowy winter when she couldn't be in her garden, a small item in the New York Times about a mummified body piqued her interest. Subsequent research led her to a new passion - writing - and her research led to her first book, Pushing Up Daisies.
When she’s not writing or gardening, she tries to find time for kayaking and hiking; at last count she’s visited over 70 national parks, monuments, and recreation areas, but her favorites are Yosemite and Canyonlands.
Here is Rosemary's take on having a room of one's own - wherever one happens to be. At the moment, her "office" is in a glamorous spot far away from the snow:
I have a pretty nice office. ["Editor's" note: See the fantastic photo here under "Rosemary Off Duty": http://www.rosemaryharris.com/photoalbum.htm] I was a marketing consultant before I started writing mysteries so I was used to business machines and army issue file cabinets cluttering up my home before most of my writing friends. Now that I am “officially” a writer – whatever that means - I appropriated more space in my house so that I could have a quiet, peaceful setting in which to write. An inspirational setting, if you will. (Plant tongue firmly in cheek here.) That inspirational setting is now filled with a telescope, a vintage linen collection, bird and garden prints, funky lamps from the forties and fifties and stacks of mysteries purchased at the various bookstores, libraries and conventions I’ve attended. Is it any wonder my fabulous office is sometimes a little distracting?
Most of the writers I know are on a hamster-like one book a year treadmill. We write, we promote, we write. Occasionally we fritter away our time on non-essentials like friends, family, social and community obligations. Finding the time and an inspirational place to write can be challenging.
Last week, I was kayaking and camping in the Virgin Islands. I wrote in a tent on Peter Island and a shack on Jost van Dyke. In the past I’ve written in a mud hut in central Tanzania (where my husband and I were building a library) and a tented cabin in Yosemite Valley.
It may help that my preferred method of writing is longhand, with a pencil on a yellow legal pad. That’s what I’m doing now actually...my flight’s been cancelled and I’m still on an island…it’s just not Manhattan. All around me people are drinking pina coladas and painkillers, reading The Help and perhaps wondering who the crazy lady with the pencil sharpener is. No. They’re probably not. Maybe one day one of them will read one of my books – my money is on the Joanne Fluke fan not the person reading the 800-page biography of Cornelius Vanderbilt, but you never know. The idea of someone working on a beautiful beach like this is probably as foreign to them as…well, that chain-smoking guy in the too-small Speedo is to me.
But it is what we do. I’ve met hundreds of mystery writers in the past two years since my debut novel, Pushing Up Daisies, was released. Whether it’s the possibility of that first contract, the excitement of a new series or the potential of a breakout book, we are the hardest working group of people I’ve ever encountered. And I’ve worked in television, video and book publishing. It’s one of the things that we all have in common – other than loving Lee Child and Carolyn Hart and perhaps wanting to win an Edgar.
So whether you’re working on the umpteenth draft of your query letter or the twelfth revision of your third book, we’re all in the same boat. Right now mine’s a fiberglass kayak.
Rosemary's latest release is The Big Dirt Nap (pb) much of which was written at Ivan’s Stress-Free Bar and Campground on Jost van Dyke (pictured above).