Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Straight Chatting from the Library: Sandra de Helen

Sandra de Helen has dropped by The Library to talk books with us as part of her virtual book tour with Goddess Fish Promotions. Sandra will be awarding a $25 Powell's gift card to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. You can see the other stops on the tour here:


Thank you so much for coming by The Library today, Sandra. Let's get started. What is the favorite book you remember as a child?

The Complete Works of Sherlock Holmes. I first read this at age ten. Read them over several times throughout my life. At eleven, I chewed on my Mom's Meerschaum pipe and paced the living room solving the domestic "mysteries" of our lives.

It's no wonder, then, that your current series traces its heritage back to the Holmes canon then. For our readers who don't know, can you tell us about your current book in 13 words?

Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson solve another murder mystery in Portland, Oregon.

What are you reading right now?

Ian Rankin's John Rebus series, and In This Small Spot by Caren Werlinger.

What books do you have on hold at the library?

Hild by Nicola Griffith and The Informationist by Taylor Stevens.

E-Reader or print? and why?

Both. I take my Kindle on trips so I can have lots of choices for virtually no weight. Print because I like to flip the pages back and forth.

Least favorite book you've read this year?

Whatever it was, I didn't finish it. I don't do that any more. If the author hasn't grabbed me by twenty pages, I'm done.

Favorite book you've read this year?

Kate Kasten's latest. She writes literary fiction with a deft hand. Stories are taut, suspenseful, and hold my attention from page one.

Do you loan your books?

I lend them and I give them away. I try to keep my owned books down to one bookcase. They are forever multiplying and stacking up everywhere. I sincerely try to limit my keepage to books out of print, books penned and signed by friends, and books I'm reading for book club -- until the meeting. Then out! Off to the next reader. I hope others treat my books the same way.


Book Two of the Shirley Combs and Dr. Mary Watson series, THE ILLUSTRIOUS CLIENT, shows us the private investigator and her sidekick sharing an office, and introduces their receptionist, Lix. They are hired to influence a young international pop star, Oceane Charles, to pry her away from her older, richer, player of a girlfriend. The cast is made up of people with various ethnicities and backgrounds, and of course the job soon includes solving a murder mystery. Along the way, Mary discovers her latent lesbianism. Set in Portland, Oregon on a superyacht, in a hospital VIP room, at Rose Festival, and other fun places.


Sandra de Helen’s books as well as short stories are available at bookstores, libraries, and online. Her poetry and plays are published in several journals. Samples of her works are on her website Even though she says she isn't a "joiner," de Helen is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Oregon Writers Colony, the Golden Crown Literary Society, and International Centre for Women Playwrights. Like her at, follow her on Twitter @dehelen, and read her blog at She lives with her cat Stanton in Portland, Oregon where they both type.

Website ~ Facebook

Buy the book at Amazon


  1. Good interview; I absolutely agree with the 20 page rule. I have far too many books on kindle waiting to be read to waste time with something that I have yo struggle to get into or finish. Thanks for sharing.