Interview with M. K. Wiseman, Author of Sherlock Holmes & the Silver Cord

25 Oct 2023

What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write Sherlock Holmes & the Silver Cord?

I write from Holmes’ perspective in my stories and, thus, like to look at some of the things Conan Doyle glossed over and/or wrote around in the original Canon. On more than one occasion in Doyle’s stories, Watson makes references to the strain on Holmes’ “iron constitution” and the resulting off-page mental breakdown. However, it was a more delicate observation in his “The Adventure of the Three Students” which caught my attention. That story dates but a year after Holmes’ return to life post-Reichenbach Falls and I thought that, perhaps, there was something to the idea of Sherlock Holmes coming to terms with his actions in ridding the world of Professor Moriarty.

If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of Sherlock Holmes & the Silver Cord, what would they be?

For this book? I’m half tempted to select “Creep” by Radiohead just for the angst and mental self-guessing game alone, haha. I do actually make playlists for many of my books– not as inspiration (I write in silence/coffee shop white noise), but as sort of “companion pieces” for the stories, assembling collections of songs that speak to the theme, or tone, or even time period and location. I sort of play the “if this were a show/movie soundtrack” game for myself. It also serves as a good reference point for songs I have researched for the stories as, in each of my Sherlock Holmes books, I have included at least one reference to a song contemporaneous to the story, oftentimes an actual piece Holmes would have gone to see performed or played himself.

What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?

I love to read classic fantasy; I love a good old fashioned quest. And I have actually gone back to my fantasy beginnings on my current book-in-progress, turning my back on another story (temporarily) because I just wasn’t vibing with its mood. I, apparently, need some wizards in my life again, hahaha.

What books are on your TBR pile right now?

I’ve heaps of philospohy to plow through. I’ve a little bit of Nietzsche out from the library right now, in fact, which I really should get on before I’ve run out of renewals. I’m also a big fan of the “Bungo Stray Dogs” manga and anime and so have been reading through the actual main works by the authors whose names have been used as character names in the series. (“I Am A Cat” by Natsume Sōseki seems to have taken up semi-permanent residence on my nightstand.)

What scene in your book was your favorite to write?

Sherlock Holmes has a bit of a transcendent moment while playing the violin in Silver Cord. I have long lamented at how little this particular talent of his is showcased in extra-Canonical media. Generally, it’s quickly interrupted, or even downplayed as yet another quirky thing defining the great detective, and I do believe Holmes was quite an accomplished musician. The moment also serves as a hat tip to a personal experience of Conan Doyle’s, something he made off-hand reference to at one point, but reimagined here for Holmes to encounter.

Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)

Mentioned elsewhere, I do require near silence to work. Maybe this is not fully a quirk, but my brain tends to ‘catch’ on sounds and distract me, whether it be wind whistling through my office window (I ought to get that looked at) or a clock ticking (now silenced and often glared at by me over in my writing chair). I also really like low lighting. My office has no less than a dozen not-the-overhead-light lighting options.

Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?

Love. Okay, that’s not really all that developed of a motto. (Or is it?) Love is just a core driving Thing in me, in my work, and what I wish there was more of in the world.

If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?

I think it’s a wonderful thing how much emphasis is given to self-care these days. But knowing you should engage in self care and actually doing it are two different things. I know I patterened on Conan Doyle’s Holmes at a young age—using his example as an excuse to sit in a chair thus, or move through a room or speak this or that way. In that vein, I would hope that maybe this story gives that little nudge to folks to do that bit of self-care, to maybe take that break, have that honest talk and unburdening. Or “Watson it” instead and be that steadfast and reliable partner.


M. K. Wiseman is the author of the new book Sherlock Holmes & the Silver Cord

Connect with M. K. Wiseman

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