I know this sounds crazy when I say it, but I think my sister Rose really is Sherlock Holmes. How else can I credit what she achieved, during that long, strange summer of 1893? And when she was still only a girl of fifteen, no less? I mean, who ever heard of a girl of fifteen being a Detective?
The trouble started quickly. My family and I were minding our own business (that business being the opening of our hotel, the Delacroix), when the Emerald Serpent jewels showed up. They had come all the way from China, but they weren’t in our hotel safe for even twenty-four hours before somebody stole them. What’s worse, the blame for their theft fell right on my brother Bill, who was minding the hotel front desk when the jewels disappeared. Pretty soon, it seemed as though the whole town of Hope Springs was out to get him. Our hotel business fell right off, what with everybody in the area believing that the Delacroix family was a bunch of thieves. Dad was afraid we might even have to sell off our hotel.
But then Rose stepped in. Rose was interested in the Sherlock Holmes stories, and more than anything she wanted to be a detective when she grew up. Before I even had time to think about it, Rose and I were both trying to find the person who had really stolen the jewels. It was the right thing for us to be doing, but I knew we’d have to get it done quick. Poor Bill was already locked up in the town jail, and I had a bad feeling that if he wasn’t freed soon, some town hothead was going to do something a lot worse than wait for him to go to trial…
Jeremy Phillips has lived and worked in Spokane, Washington for most of his life. When he isn’t writing or keeping busy being a father and husband, he works as a Respiratory Therapist at several different hospitals. He lives in Spokane with his wife, children, dogs, and bonsai trees. This is his second novel.
Q. Why do you write?
A. I write because I enjoy it, and I feel compelled to express my ideas in written form. I have always been a big reader, and I enjoy exploring the idea of writing, creating stories that I would find myself reading if I were the one doing the reading.
Q. Do you work from an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
A.I always create an outline for how I want the story to go, but then when I am writing the story, it always organically changes from that outline into something else, hopefully something better. I think that if I found myself writing something that didn’t change somewhat and offer itself up to alteration as I am writing it, then I would know that I’m just going through the motions. That would probably be time for me to stop writing that story, at least for the day. Perhaps forever. Some stories just don’t make it, they are dead on arrival, and it’s important for me to be honest with myself when that happens and try something else instead.
Q. What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
A. The hardest thing about my new book, and perhaps the most fun thing, was doing some good research on the historical period in which it is set. The story is set in 1893, so we’re talking post-Old West stuff. It’s not the chaotic Gunslinger West, but it also isn’t the modern America, either. So that’s an interesting time to write about, as there would have been elements of both, Old West and Modern, present in such a time and place. And often, those two elements would not get along nicely.
Q. How did you develop the idea for ‘The Rose Delacroix Files Book One: The Lost Eye of the Serpent’?
A. To be honest, I originally wrote the story with the idea in mind that the kid detectives in the story would be younger than they ended up being. But as I started to write the story, I realized that if Rose and Jon were actually fifteen years old, then they would be on the cusp of adulthood. People grew up fast in those long-ago days, and these kids would be expected to be nearly adults at that age. With the two protagonists as near-adults, the story ends up being much richer and more interesting. Rose would be expected to be looking around for a suitor to marry and start a family with, either that year or in her very near future. This is an expectation that Rose rejects soundly, as she has a much more modern view of what a woman can be and can do. She ends up rejecting a lot of expectations of her time, and for the reader, that will give them a window into her world, too.
Q. What is your main character like?
A. My main character is Rose Delacroix, who is a young woman of fifteen, who stubbornly believes that women can do the same things that men can do, if they feel like it. In her case, that involves wanting to become a detective like her hero, Sherlock Holmes. As the story develops, especially throughout the other books in the series, she will grow into becoming something larger than that; but at first her intention is to become like Sherlock Holmes. The story is told through the eyes of her brother Jon, who is her twin brother, and who takes an almost Watson-like role in Rose’s story, to Rose’s Sherlock Holmes.