Thursday, September 8, 2011

Deborah Sharp - Meet Mama

If you like your mysteries Southern-style, with quirky characters that will have laughing as you flip through the pages, then let Deborah Sharp introduce you to Mama.
Sharp is Floridian to the core. Born in Fort Lauderdale in 1954, she grew up in a Florida that was more ranches and citrus groves than theme parks and beaches. She gives her readers a taste of this little-known side of the Sunshine State in a series of lighthearted mystery novels set in the fictional town of Himmarshee, a place she describes as “my own tiny slice of authentic Florida.”  There you will meet beleaguered middle daughter Mace Bauer and her Mama, a southern belle who attracts trouble as easily as she does husbands. Dealing with Mama’s antics keeps Mace hopping.  Add to the mix two sisters with very different personalities, a few on-again, off-again romances, and the general craziness of daily life in Himmarshee, and you have the makings of a thoroughly entertaining read. 

Sharp’s writing career wasn’t always such fun. She started as a journalist, writing for the News-Press in Fort Myers. There she met her husband, TV reporter Kerry Sanders. When she moved to Tampa in 1986, she began writing feature articles for Gannett News Service. This gave her the opportunity to travel all over the state. In 1991, her husband landed a job with NBC in Miami, so Sharp moved back to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale. She kept busy writing articles for USA Today, covering riots, murders, hurricanes, and other tragedies. But the last straw came ten years ago on September 11, 2001. Writing about so much misery became overwhelming, and when Sharp turned 50, she decided she needed a change.  Mystery writing appealed to her because she could control the story and make certain the good guys triumphed in the end. She also wanted to inject some humor into her writing. “I love making people laugh,” she says. “For 20 years, as a journalist, I didn’t get to do that very often.”

Her first book, Mama Does Time, was inspired by a magazine ad depicting an older woman in a convertible. Sharp wrote a short story about the woman finding a body in her trunk, and the story grew into a novel. Praised by Mystery Scene Magazine as “…a humorous, touching reflection of familial love and politics,” Mama Does Time was followed by Mama Rides Shotgun (2009) and Mama Gets Hitched (2010). 

In the newest book of the series, Mama Sees Stars, Hollywood comes to Himmarshee resulting in murder and mayhem. “As a reporter, I once visited a movie set in Miami,” Sharp says. “I was fascinated by the outsized personalities, and I thought it would be fun to bring them to Himmarshee where they’d be the outsiders.” Library Journal has given the book a starred review: “This zany fourth entry in Sharp's series is a feature worthy of the big screen . . . The mystery aisles can always use more humor, and Sharp delivers.” Sharp is already at work on Book Five, tentatively titled Mama Gets Trashed. It will involve Mama, a bit too much sweet pink wine, and a mishap with a wedding ring.

Sharp hopes her readers will enjoy visiting Himmarshee and meeting its colorful denizens. But she also wants non-Floridians to come away with a sense of the diversity of the Sunshine State. “I love exposing readers to the Florida I know,” she says, “a place where cows outnumber people and where your family can push your buttons but will always have your back.” So come on down to Himmarshee for an experience you’ll never forget. Just ask for Mama.

For more about Deborah Sharp, visit her website at

Next: Sunny Fader - Love Writing? You Bet!


  1. Deb rocks. Thanks for sharing her with everyone...

  2. Terrific article by Jackie, as usual. Thanks for all you do for Florida authors! You've written such a nice wrap-up on my latest mystery. Thanks especially for letting folks know I'm trying to show a slice of real Florida that's too often overlooked.
    Deborah Sharp
    Author, Mace Bauer Mysteries

  3. As a native Floridian, count me in as someone who LOVES Mama. Deb's vision of our state is always very, very Sharp. (Couldn't resist!)

  4. I'd LOVE to experience the side of Florida Deborah writes about in her Mace Bauer series. As a relatively newly planted Floridian I have enjoyed learning more about the state from Deborah's books and all the others authors of of this blog.
    For me, there is no better way to learn about a place than through books set in the area. The Mama books make me want to travel to Himmarshee to experience all these cows, citrus groves...and murderers!

  5. Hey, y'all. Thanks for reading.
    Bob: Your Fla. roots are even deeper than mine, so a compliment from you ROCKS!
    Joanna: Awww, I'm blushing!
    Victoria: I'll meet you in Himmarshee anytime. Wonder what a chef on zillion-dollar yachts would order at the Pork Pit BBQ? If we stop first at the Booze 'n' Breeze, the Pit will look good!

  6. Congratulations on your starred review, Deb. Looking forward to Mama's latest adventures.

  7. Deb's Mama series is a hoot and lots of fun. Florida offers such diverse settings for our books.