Ms. Varadan is an accomplished author and writer. Her book IMOGENE PEARLS AND THE CASE OF THE MISSING PEARLS is available on Amazon.com!
The CASE OF THE MISSING PEARLS is about how “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.”
QUESTION: Let’s talk about how you got into writing. Do you remember the first time you felt that burning desire to get into reading?
ELIZABETH VARDAN: I don’t remember a particular first time that I was turned onto writing. I have written things down all my life.
Books were important in my family, and trips to the library were a big deal, and reading a good book or poem tends to inspire one with a desire to write one of your own.
My mother also wrote stories and poems that never got published — she was a multi-talented single mom, raising two kids on jobs that paid little.
But the idea of writing was very contagious. It was just something you did. I always had to get ideas down on paper, whether journaling, or making up stories, plays, poems.
QUESTION: Your blog discusses your love of art and beauty. What is it you are drawn to? For instance, do you have an affection for classical works or do you get the appeal of folk art? Can you discuss the time you came across a work that transfixed you?
ELIZABETH VARDAN: Again, I have to credit my mother.
She loved all the arts and started taking us to the opera and to art museums when we were very young.
I’m particularly drawn to the various works of the Impressionists, because of the vibrant colors they all used. I also like the aboriginal art of Australia with all the fine little dots that fill in a shape. And some of the old fairy tale illustrations in black and white with those fine, etched lines also appeal to me.
I’d be hard pressed to tell of a particular work that transfixed me, because it happens so often.
The more art I see, the more I marvel at what the artist has accomplished.
QUESTION: Now, this is obviously a discussion about Sherlock Holmes. How did you get into Sherlock? What does he mean to you? When you were writing the character for Derrick Belanger’s “Beyond Watson” anthology, was there any intimidation?
ELIZABETH VARDAN: I love a good mystery, and I liked Sherlock Holmes.
For years, I simply enjoyed Doyle’s stories and the four novels, knowing nothing about “the Canon” or “pastiches”.
Then I read a couple of pastiches, thinking they were written by Doyle, because they sounded so authentic. The Seven Percent Solution by Nicholas Meyer, for instance. And then I came across Carol Nelson Douglas’s Irene Adler series, as well as Martin Davies’ Mrs. Hudson mysteries, and I started thinking, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write a Sherlock Holmes story through the point of view of a young Victorian girl!”
That led to my middle grade novel, Imogene and the Case of the Missing Pearls.
To answer your question, I didn’t feel intimidated. I did realize I’d have to do a lot of research to get the era right, but I love research, and it was a lot of fun.
QUESTION: What does it say about Sherlock, that writers, actors, creators and the like are not willing to let him “rest in peace” for too long of a period of time? What do you think it means that there is a constant reinvention of him every so often?
ELIZABETH VARDAN: I think it’s marvelous that Doyle created a character that refuses to die! Wouldn’t we writers all love to that?
I do like it best when new adventures stick to the character and era that Doyle envisioned. I’m not keen on giving Sherlock a different setting and tweaking his personality away from the original. But I think the idea of Sherlock in any form is so appealing because he can solve cases by thinking.
At a school visit, some 5th graders told me they liked historical mysteries better than modern ones.
Because the sleuth didn’t depend on technology, but had to figure everything out himself.
QUESTION: How cool is it to know that you are contributing to the “Sherlock Zeitgeist” of it all?
While, I get that any Sherlock writer can be “just another writer”, there is something to be said about adding your piece of the puzzle?
ELIZABETH VARDAN: Well, “cool” is the word! It’s a great pleasure to be included with the other anthology writers.
I think my piece of the puzzle is simply showing a hypothetical side to Sherlock– that if he met a very smart little girl he would probably take her seriously and be rather curious about how her mind worked and how she thought.
QUESTION: Thank you, Elizabeth!
ELIZABETH VARADAN: Don, thank you so much for interviewing me!
Visit Elizabeth Varadan’s site here.
Images courtesy of Elizabeth Varadan.