Although Shirley Tallman did not come to the signing with in her elegant 19th-century dress, she did come with lots of stories of her writing life and other interesting personal tales. We're grateful she braved the ragged tail-end of a cold to come and see us. (We've already had two of our April scheduled authors cancel because of illness or injury.)
Shirley's series is set in 19th-century San Francisco, but Shirley is firmly from Eugene. (She was surprised at the signing by friends from the Eugene area.)
Six kids in college, most at the same time? That seems like a good motivation to begin writing. Shirley began writing romances for Harlequin (as "Erin Ross"). Because those books had to be written to a formula, this work taught her discipline and structure.
Before we go further into her writing career, let us just say that the eye opening revelations at the signing were about her life b.w. (before writing). B.W., she was a Pan-American stewardess (before Pan-Am went out of business and before the term "flight attendant" came into being), a guitarist in a rock band (complete with clothes that smelled of stale cigarettes), Hollywood script writer (including one that was purchased by Tom Cruise's production company), and let's not forget mother-of-six.
All of this led eventually to the creation of Sarah Woolson, one of San Francisco's first female attorneys and solver of mysteries. Shirley's fourth book in the series just came out, Scandal on Rincon Hill. Because of a series of lucky breaks earlier in her writing career when publishing companies were actively seeking new authors, Shirley is now able to produce a series that gives her pleasure to research and write. She's says she has done everything she's always wanted to do. Given her vivacity and creativity, we say there are lots of adventures and stories to come!