Five For Friday

Happy Friday! It's been a (rare so far this spring) sunny day here at SiWC Central, and it has me a little giddy. Hope your day has been similarly sunny. I'd wager it'll get even brighter when you meet the Friday Five I have for you today.

Say hello to Margaret George, Eileen Cook, Nephele Tempest, Michael Slade and Ken Sherman.


Margaret George is the author of six biographical novels, set in the ancient world and Tudor England.  They are: The Autobiography of Henry VIII (1986), Mary Queen of Scotland and the Isles (1992), The Memoirs of Cleopatra (1997),  Mary Called Magdalene (2002),  Helen of Troy (2006), and Elizabeth I (2011).  All of these have been New York Times bestsellers, and the Henry VIII novel spent several weeks on the London Times bestseller list as well.  They have been published in twenty-one foreign countries. On a completely different note, she wrote (with a co-author) an illustrated children’s book about their pet tortoises, Lucille Lost (2006). She has been a ‘talking head’ on  A & E Biographies and specials about her characters, and a consultant for CNN’s special “The Two Marys” in 2004. ABC-TV made a $30 million miniseries based on The Memoirs of Cleopatra in 1999.

Although the epic novels are classified as ‘biographical’, she thinks of them as ‘psycho-biographies’ because she tries to expose the way the title characters think and what makes them tick.  Visit the author on

Margaret grew up in abroad (Taiwan, Israel, Germany) until she was thirteen; her father was in the U.S. State Department.  Following that she lived in Washington DC and attended university in Boston (Tufts University) and Palo Alto (Stanford University).  She worked as a science writer for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland for 4 years after college.  Since 1975 her main home has been in Madison, Wisconsin, but she travels a great deal.   She has a sexagenarian tortoise as a pet, who was featured in Lucille Lost. Welcome, Margaret!


Eileen Cook is a multi-published young adult and middle grade author with her novels appearing in six different languages. She spent most of her teen years wishing she were someone else or somewhere else, which is great training for a writer. Her latest release, The Education of Hailey Kendrick came out in Jan 2011 and received a starred Kirkus review. Her books have been optioned for film and TV, and while nothing has yet gone into production, she's already planning her Oscar speech.

You can read more about Eileen, her books, and the things that strike her as funny  Eileen lives in Vancouver with her husband and two dogs and no longer wishes to be anyone or anywhere else. Welcome to SiWC 2011, Eileen!


Nephele Tempest joined The Knight Agency in January, 2005, opening the Los Angeles office. As an agent, she works with a number of talented writers, assisting them to hone their skills and build their careers. In addition, she spends time developing the agency's Hollywood film and multi-media contacts. Nephele comes from a diverse publishing and finance background, having worked in the editorial department at Simon and Schuster, as a financial advisor, in the marketing and communications departments of several major New York investment firms, and as a freelance writer. Her experiences in sales, marketing, and writing provide her with insights into multiple aspects of the publishing industry.

Nephele belongs to the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), Romance Writers of America (RWA), and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She continues to actively build her client list, and is currently seeking works in the following genres: literary/commercial fiction, women's fiction, urban fantasy/paranormal, romantic suspense, contemporary romance, historical fiction, science fiction, and young adult fiction. Welcome back, Nephele!


Michael Slade, a longtime friend of SiWC, is a criminal lawyer and the author of 14 dark mystery thrillers, from HEADHUNTER (1984) to RED SNOW (2010). He'll be Guest of Honour at Bloody Words, Canada's crime writing convention, in Victoria in 2011, and was Guest of Honour at the World Horror Convention in Seattle in 2001. He has acted for both the defence and the prosecution in more than 100 murder cases. He argued the last death penalty case in the Supreme Court of Canada. He has been the subject of three documentaries by the CBC, including "Gzowski's People" and "The Fifth Estate." The Mounties invited Slade to their Red Serge Ball. He was guest speaker at three RCMP Regimental Dinners; the Canadian Librarians Convention; the Vancouver Magistrates Dinner; the Romance Writers of America's Convention; the Canadian Booksellers Convention; and this fall will speak to the Canadian Federation of University Women. For the past three years, he's taught "How to Write a Mystery" and "How to Write a Thriller" at Simon Fraser University and the Mystery Writers Retreat. For the past eight years, he's taught at the Surrey International Writers Conference, where he presents "Michael Slade's Shock Theatre." In the Morgue at the Slade Website - - he performs an autopsy on each of his novels to show how he plots. In researching those plots, he's climbed to the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, almost lost his life on safari in Zimbabwe and Botswana, and descended into the secret cannibal cave of the Cook Islands. Welcome back, Slade!


Ken Sherman is the President of Ken Sherman and Associates, a Beverly Hills-based literary agency. 

An agent for more than twenty years, Ken represents screen, television and book writers, and also sells film and television rights to books plus life rights.  A few of Ken's clients include Anne Perry, the world's best-known Victorian murder mystery writer and author of 50 books, John Updike (estate), David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars, Tawni O'Dell, whose first novel, Back Roads, became an international best seller and Oprah Book Club selection (and currently in development as a feature with Adrian Lyne set to direct and Andrew Garfield set to star), Starhawk, considered the best-known witch in the world, and the estates of Luis Bunuel, John Hersey, H.L. Mencken and Simon Wiesenthal.

A popular and accomplished speaker, Ken has lectured extensively at venues including UCLA, USC, Loyola University in both New Orleans and Los Angeles, The Santa Barbara Writer's Conference, Maui Writer's Conference, University of Oklahoma, Sherwood Oaks Experimental College, Santa Fe Writer's Conference and the Novelists, Inc. Conference/San Diego, The Aspen Institute, and The Aspen Summer Words Writer's Conference.

Since graduating from the University of California-Berkeley as a psychology major, Ken has returned to the classroom numerous times having taught his course, "The Business of Writing for Screen, Television and Publishing", at both USC and UCLA for more than six years.

Ken maintains strong community involvement as well. He serves as an Arts and Cultural Affairs Commissioner in the City of West Hollywood, is a founding member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts/Los Angeles (BAFTA) and is a member of both the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the International Advisory Board of the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Welcome back, Ken!


More soon!