Meet Connie Berry. Multi-award-winning author Connie Berry developed a passion for books and writing at a very young age, and one person influenced her from the start. “My love of reading and stories was encouraged by my mother, who’d been a fifth-grade teacher and who, when I was born, put all her considerable skills and efforts into one student—me.” Some of Connie’s fondest memories are those of her mother reading to her. “My mother gave each character her or his own voice. Books came alive to me,” she said. “Then, when I began writing my own stories, she saved them all.”
“Interestingly, most of the tales I wrote as a child include some element of mystery—no bodies, of course, but some strange or mysterious event that needed to be explained. No wonder, then, that as a child, I fell in love with Nancy Drew and later, Agatha Christie. In college as an English major, I read most of the so-called Golden Agers—Ngaio Marsh, Cyril Hare, Michael Gilbert, Dorothy L. Sayers, and G.K. Chesterton, to name a few. As an adult, I ‘discovered’ Caroline Graham, whose six mystery novels were the inspiration for the long-running TV series Midsomer Murders.”
Connie, who pens the award-winning Kate Hamilton Mystery series set in the United Kingdom, loves the British Isles. “I’m a hopeless and unapologetic Anglophile,” she explained. “My paternal grandparents were Scottish, and when they emigrated as adults, they brought the auld country with them. Everything British was best in their book, and my grandmother was inordinately proud of all the famous Scotsmen and Scotswomen who excelled in science, politics, philosophy, and culture. I can still hear their thick accents and wish I could reproduce it.”
Connie’s protagonist, Kate Hamilton, has much in common with her creator. Both were raised by “charmingly eccentric, high-end antiques dealers who instilled a passion for history, fine art, and travel” in the author and her character.
So much so that Connie initially dreamed of becoming an archeologist. “That ended when I learned there was more to it than discovering the tombs of lost pharaohs.”
Archeology’s loss became the mystery lovers’ gain when Connie’s debut novel, A DREAM OF DEATH, launched and introduced Kate Hamilton, “…an American antiques dealer, with a gift for solving mysteries”. A DREAM OF DEATH won the IPPY Gold for Mystery and was a finalist for the Silver Falchion and Agatha Awards. The series has garnered rave reviews from readers in multiple countries, and the third novel in the series, THE ART OF BETRAYAL, was named a finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Mainstream Mystery.
Connie’s appreciation for the support she received from others in her profession during her writing journey is evident. “So many gracious authors encouraged me along the way,” she said. “Among them, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Edith Maxwell, Jane Cleland, G. M. Malliet, Deborah Crombie, and Daryl Wood Gerber.”
And she is excited to do the same. “I love helping other writers who are finding their way. With that in mind, I accepted board positions with my local Sisters in Crime Buckeye Crime Writers chapter and the Guppies, where I assist with their amazing classes.”
In addition to being a valued member of the Sisters in Crime Grand Canyon Writers chapter and the national Sisters in Crime organization, Connie belongs to Mystery Writers of America and the British equivalent, Crime Writers Association.
Her work appears in a variety of publications. “I’m a history fanatic and recently wrote an article for CrimeReads entitled “Pea-Soup Fog & Monkey Glands: Ten Reasons Why Victorian England is the Perfect Setting for Murder.” Currently, she’s working on book five of the Kate Hamilton Mystery series and a novella to be published in the autumn of 2023.
Connie received her Bachelor’s degree in English from DePauw University, which included studies at St. Clare’s College and the University of Freiburg in Germany. While raising her two sons, she earned her Master’s in English Literature from Ohio State University. “I typed my master’s thesis at a child-sized table in their playroom,” she said.
Her enthusiasm for life can be summed up in one sentence. “I love my family, reading and writing mysteries, history, foreign travel, cute animals, and all things British!”
“My affinity for everything British was confirmed when, as a college student, I attended St. Clare’s College, Oxford. As soon as our children were old enough for foreign travel, we took them to England, and we’ve traveled in the British Isles at least once a year since then. Now, writing mysteries set in the UK, the trips are mainly for research—my favorite thing to do.”
Connie lives in Ohio with her wonderful husband and her adorable dog, Emmie.
You can reach Connie on Facebook and at www.connieberry.com.