Monday, March 22, 2010

This Week At The Tiki Hut - Shirley Tallman

Hi fellow Islanders, and thanks for inviting me to blog on Authorisland! I’m honored to be asked.

First of all, I should probably introduce myself. My name is Shirley Tallman and I'm an author and screenwriter. I've written a syndicated newspaper column (titled Penny Pinchers), movies for ABC, CBS and NBC (including THE BABYSITTER'S SEDUCTION starring Keri Russell), stage plays, romance novels for Harlequin/Silhouette, and murder mysteries for St. Martin's Press (the Sarah Woolson historical mystery series).

My husband and I live in Eugene, Oregon (GO DUCKS!!!), but we spend a lot of time at our cabin in Lake Tahoe (the Nevada side). And no, I don't gamble because I never win. If I just once hit a jackpot -- JUST ONCE! -- I could probably be persuaded to change my mind. But I never do. Oops! All right, you caught me. Maybe I still give it a try every now and again. I mean, come on, there's gotta be a first time, right??

Okay, now that you know a little bit about me, let me tell you something about my books – mystery whodunits set in 1880s San Francisco. My heroine, Sarah Woolson, is young, intelligent, and beautiful – the only daughter of an eminent, well-to-do family. She is, in fact, the sort of woman any man would be delighted to marry. There’s just one catch: Sarah has no intentions of entering the domestic state, which would legally allow her husband to pretty much control her life! (Sounds awful, doesn’t it? But that’s the way it was in the 1880s).

To the dismay of her family and friends, Sarah has chosen a very different path. Defying Victorian convention, she has vowed to become an attorney, a decidedly unwomanly profession! As far as nineteenth-century San Francisco is concerned, women belong firmly in the home. To venture outside this realm is to go against God’s will – a firmly held belief most men, and a surprising number of women, are all too willing to say to her face.

In MURDER ON NOB HILL – the first book in the Sarah Woolson series – feisty Sarah finagles an interview at one of the city’s most prominent all-male law firms, managing with a little subterfuge, to be hired on as the company’s newest, and only female, associate attorney. She soon acquires her first client, a lovely young society matron accused of murdering her wealthy, and abusive, husband. Ignoring her employer’s protests, Sarah champions the young woman, only to find herself embroiled in shady legal maneuvers, a daring Chinatown raid, and a secret and very scandalous sex club.

Book two in the series, THE RUSSIAN HILL MURDERS, finds Sarah once again risking her job, and her reputation, to defend a man whom she believes has been unjustly accused of murder. Faced with her first criminal trial – and an unfriendly judge and jury – she very nearly loses her own life in an effort to prove her client’s innocence.

In THE CLIFF HOUSE STRANGLER, Sarah and her reluctant colleague, Robert Campbell, brave the worst storm of the season to attend a séance at San Francisco’s famed Cliff House. After a dramatic display of spirit apparitions, flying trumpets, and phantom music, Sarah and Robert make a grisly discovery: One of the twelve people seated with them around the séance table has been brutally strangled!

SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL – which will be released on March 30th – opens when a badly beaten murder victim is discovered only two blocks from Sarah’s peaceful Rincon Hill home. Within the next week two more bodies are found in the same neighborhood, and the city is thrown into a state of panic. Reluctantly, Sarah agrees to represent the two young men accused of the killings, only to find herself faced with the all but impossible task of proving the men innocent.

Engaged in a desperate struggle to find the murderer, Sarah becomes involved in the erotic escapades of the town’s infamous high-end brothels, secrets surrounding a proper Anglican church, the volatile goings on in San Francisco’s theater district, and a vicious killer who will stop at nothing to achieve a scandalous objective!

I think you get the idea. Our resolute heroine is determined to go to whatever lengths necessary to defend her clients, even if it means taking on the entire male-dominated 1880s legal establishment! She’s one very brave and determined young woman.

But I’ve gone on long enough – probably longer than DeNita had in mind when she invited me to write a blog for her fantastic website. If you’d like to learn more about me, or my books and movies, please visit my website at While you’re there, you can check out my book video, read chapter one of SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL, visit my blog, the San Francisco Facts page, or just drop me a note to say hi. I LOVE to hear from you, and promise to answer all your letters personally.

Thanks again for letting me visit the Island and meet all of you. It was great fun!


Shirley Tallman
WIN - leave Shirley a comment or question this week and your name goes in the hat for an autographed copy of your choice of one of the first three Sarah Woolson Mysteries! Please leave your email address so we can contact you if your name is drawn. And don't forget to check out the fantastic contest Shirley has going on over at her website - she's giving away a KINDLE and $75 in Amazon cash this month to celebrate her new release!!


  1. Thanks so much for being our special guest this week Shirley!!! I'm so excited about your new Sarah Woolson mystery!! You know how much I love that series.

    Mark your calendar for Tuesday, March 30th - we're throwing you a big Cyber Launch Party to celebrate SCANDAL ON RINCON HILL's release day over at!

    And thanks for offering up the big KINDLE giveaway! What a great prize!

    Enjoy your week at the Tiki Hut and here's to the new book being a huge bestseller!!

  2. I've seen excerpts from your books and I've definitely added them to my TBR list. Sarah Woolson looks like a very interesting character.

  3. I love this series!

    kissinoak at verizon dot net

  4. I've had this series on my wishlist for far too long. I must start it!

    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

  5. I am yet to read any of the Sarah Woolson Mysteries but rest assured they are on my ever growing list.

  6. I love the idea for your series. I thank God I wasn't born in a time that women were told they couldn't do or be something. My father raised me to believe I could be and do anything I wanted.

    What a fun character Sarah sounds like and I love that she don't take no for an answer! Women like her are the reason I was raised the way I was.

  7. Love mysteries and this one sounds really good. Would this series be considered Cozy Mysteries? Is there romance in the books? I see that you have written romances too and wondered how much romance might be in this mystery series.

  8. I loved reading this blog! What an interesting life you lead! I live in the Bay Area myself, I am definitely going to look for this series! How exciting. I'm not a Duck fan, but my niece did attend U of O and a bunch of my family lives in Ashland.

  9. This character of yours does sound like quite the lady! How many books do you plan in this series and can't you just see this as a TV series? Being a screenwriter as well, are you working on getting your series to the screen, big or litte?

    Who out of today's actresses do you see as Sarah?

    Good luck with your books and whatever you may be working on. I'll be checking out the first in the series...I'm assuming the books should be read in order?

  10. I've been to your web site many times Shirley and have all the books in the series so far on my TRL. I am also guilty of waiting too long to start them.I enjoyed your post.
    Carol L.