Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Clocks, and Time

by special guest Julianne Holmes.

My protagonist in the Clock Shop Mystery series, Ruth Clagan, comes from a family of clockmakers and has had years of training. The field of horology is like many other crafts or trades, apprenticeships last for a long time. Ruth has just turned thirty when we first meet her, and is figuring out the next steps in her career path. We meet her just after her grandfather has died, and left her his
clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket.

I love doing research, so learning about clocks has been a wonderful opportunity. Like most things,
the more I learn the less I know. As it happens, a friend of mine is married to a clockmaker. In fact he and his brother own and run the Clockfolk of New England shop. Meeting the Roberts brothers, and seeing their shop in action, was a tremendous gift. No mystery writer could do her work without experts. We do take their expertise, and add story to it, but it needs to be grounded in truth.

Everyone I know has a clock they love. Some are worth money, and passed on from generation to generation. Most have emotional resonance. I have a Seth Thomas style mantel clock that is electric. I suspect it wasn’t always electric—that someone decided to modernize it at some point. Now, with all I am learning, I am sorry about that. But the memory of that mantel clock in my grandparent’s living room brings such joy, and makes it talisman for happiness.

Clocks do more than capture time. They capture memories. Horologists, clockmakers, like Ruth Clagan fix clocks. Their power is greater than that, though. They mend memory keepers, think about the precision of timekeeping while honoring the magic of time itself. That skill set helps Ruth solve a crime that has upended her family, and get the town of Orchard working again.

What is your clock story? Or is it a watch story? I’m convinced every family has one, so please share it!


When I had to chose a name to write the Clock Shop Mystery series under, it was a simple choice. I was the first grandchild on my mother’s side of the family. When my parents told my grandmother that they were thinking about naming me Julianne Holmes Hennrikus, my grandmother (a wonderful but formidable woman) told them the name was too long. I became Julie Anne instead. So Julianne Holmes is close to my heart, pays homage to my wonderful parents, and can be shortened to Julie easily.

As Julie Hennrikus, I am the Executive Director of StageSource, a service organization for theater artists and companies in the greater Boston area. For me, theater is both my vocation and my avocation. I also teach arts management classes at Emerson College.

I blog with the wonderful Wicked Cozy Authors blog. These woman are my friends, my blog mates, and my cheering squad. Come by and visit us!*

*From Julianne's website.

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