Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sheila Lowe, Author & Handwriting Analyst - Write Now! Vignette

The Desert Sleuths Write Now! 2010 Conference was much too long to summarize on a blog.  However, I can summarize, in short vignettes, the presentations by all of the fiction writers.  So, today, Sheila Lowe.

Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert, with over thirty-five years experience.  She is the author of the Forensic Handwriting mystery series, including the latest, Last Writes.  Lowe is also the author of Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis.

Sheila Lowe began her talk by saying she didn't know if she should thank the event chair, Chantelle Osman for putting her first on the schedule by putting her in her next book, or making her a victim.  (I overheard Chantelle reply "Victim.")  Lowe went on to talk about characters.  She said they're motivated by something.  Then, she mentioned a number of memorable characters, such as Scarlett O'Hara, Hannibel Lector.  We remember characters because there is something we can identify with in them.  Even Hitler loved dogs.  He was a monster, but he had something we could identify with.  But, what motivates characters?

Lowe went on to discuss handwriting and motivation.  She said what a handwriting analyst does is not voodoo or fortunetelling.  They often work in secure hospitals and prisons.  Handwriting changes by mood.  You can't tell age or gender by handwriting.  However, it can indicate your social skills.  Handwriting shows your social side; your thinking side.  It also reveals ego strength.  Everything you've experienced is stored in your brain.  When you write, all your experiences are reflected.  The incline of your writing on the paper even indicates your experiences.

People are motivated by love, money, security, and power.  Sheila Lowe then showed us samples of handwriting, asking which we thought were influenced by the various motivations.  The sample she showed us of someone motivated by love (Princess Diana) had rounded letters.  Then, she told us her own daughter had been murdered by her boyfriend ten years earlier.  He had asked Lowe to analyze his handwriting, and there were a number of red flags.  His handwriting also showed he had a head injury.  She went on to show us samples of bold handwriting, indicating a power motivation.  Handwriting that shows emotional needs is motivated by security.  Handwriting can indicate a need to create, or a need for material things.

Lowe's sleuth in her novels, Claudia Rose, does the same sort of analysis.  Lowe also does handwriting authentication for forgery cases. The most recent book in the Forensic Handwriting series, Last Writes, involves an old stuffed bunny, and a religious cult.  When a three-year-old disappeared, she left her bunny behind.  Sheila admitted she wasn't happy with the title or the cover art of this book.  The art was sent with a note, "Here's your cover art.  We hope you love it as much as we do."  But, Lowe doesn't love it.  Her books are not cozies.  They're psychological suspense.  But, cozy readers who pick it up might be disappointed.  And, readers of psychological suspense won't pick it up because it looks like a cozy.

She wanted the title "Unholy Writ" for this mystery about a religious cult, but her new editor didn't like it.  She said Lowe's readers wouldn't understand the title.  Lowe's response was, you're underestimating my readers.

Sheila Lowe's portion of the Write Now! conference ended with a raffle for stuffed bunnies, since the child's stuffed bunny is important to Last Writes.


Last Writes by Sheila Lowe. Penguin Group (USA), ©2010. ISBN 9780451231109 (paperback), 304p.



13 comments:

Clarissa Draper said...

I have always been fascinated by handwriting analysis. I want to check out her books.

CD

Lesa said...

I hope you get a chance to check them out, Clarissa, particularly since Sheila made a point of saying they are psychological suspense, not cozy mysteries.

Marie said...

Great summary. I recently finished this book and loved it (review is in the works.) I found all of the handwriting stuff extrememly interesting.

That's very interesting about the cover. I hope the right readers find the book despite this. It's really a great book.

Chantelle Osman said...

It is a shame about the covers - but fortunately Sheila is a dynamic speaker and people will pick up her books for that reason, no matter the cover!

Lesa said...

Thanks, Maria. I'm glad you loved the book. I have a copy I'm looking forward to reading.

So, a few of us talking about the book might help get it to the right audience.

Lesa said...

Chantelle,

I think people will find the handwriting analysis aspect fascinating, so they will pick up Sheila's books.

Kris said...

I think handwriting analysis is so fascinating! I'll definitely have to check out this series now.

Lesa said...

Terrific, Kris. I'm glad I could provide that short recap so you could find out more about the author, handwriting analysis, and the book.

Forgery expert said...

I just love how you write. Reading your blog for me is like sitting down and having a conversation with you. You always make me smile and you have a way with words.

Just thought I'd tell you in case you didn't know. :-)

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Lesa said...

Thank you, Emma. I'm glad you stumbled across it.

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