Skip to main content

Libraries and Llamas with Author Sharon Owen

08/25/2017 11:00AM ● Published by Jon Lewis

Mystery, She Wrote

September 2017
By Jon Lewis
Photos by Jeannine Hendrickson


The mystery writer Sharon Owen spent the bulk of her career in the medical field, so it’s not surprising that the protagonist in her Aimee Machado series is a hospital employee. What makes the character unique, though, is her position as a forensic librarian. 

Aimee also happens to be multiethnic (Chinese and Portuguese), has earned a black belt in jujitsu and lives in a loft above a llama barn on her parents’ ranch in Northern California. 

“There’s nobody like that out there, and my publisher thought so, too,” says Owen, who is at work on her fifth book in the Aimee Machado series and is under contract for a sixth. Owen is published by Seattle-based Coffeetown Press under the Camel Press imprint. She uses the pen name Sharon St. George.

Owen says the idea for her series rounded into shape during the 10 years she worked at the Shasta College library. Her earlier jobs included working as a medical transcriptionist, serving as the medical staff coordinator at Redding Medical Center (now Shasta Regional Medical Center), and a volunteer stint in the library at a 400-bed teaching hospital in Connecticut.

Her first book, a hospital-based mystery, was not published but it did win a prize in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers contest. That motivated her to stay with her chosen genre. “I decided to stick with hospital-based books,” Owen says. “That’s the reason I ended up with a protagonist being a librarian. I wanted to do something I knew well. Who even knows hospitals have their own libraries?”

The character of Aimee is inspired by Owen’s granddaughter, Aimee Rose Santone, and her character’s martial arts prowess stems from Aimee’s father, Scott Redden, a sixth-degree black belt and assistant instructor at the Redding JuJitsu Academy. The llamas are based on the fact that Owen and her husband, outdoor writer John Higley, raise llamas on their property in Palo Cedro.

Owen says she’s not interested in gory tell-alls but would rather focus on stories where she can rely on her knowledge and background. “I know how much goes on to keep patients safe, and in order to keep patients safe, it’s important to know what can go wrong. I try to write my story where there’s an element of realism but not enough to scare people.”

Owen grew up in Red Bluff and earned an associate’s degree at Shasta College. She put her education on hold after marrying and starting a family. Some 30 years later, she seized the opportunity to complete her bachelor’s degree in English at Western Connecticut State University. 

Her three years at university also allowed her to pursue her interest in performing—which began as a child when her mother enrolled her in dance classes. “I gave up the dance lessons but I was still fascinated by being on stage, so in my late 30s I decided I wanted to get involved in theater.” That desire led to a role in the Riverfront Playhouse production of “6 Rms Riv Vu” in 1990. “It was me and Wilson Smith and I really enjoyed it.”

With some electives to choose from at Western Connecticut, Owen says she opted for an acting class that led to advanced classes in playwriting and literature for the stage, and ultimately a minor in theatre arts. “Everything I learned helped with development of character and expression. It was great the way the two dovetailed. It was perfect for a returning student; I got to major and minor in where my passion was.”

After returning to Redding, Owen reestablished herself at Riverfront, directed one play and then auditioned for the role of Helen Martins in Athol Fugard’s “The Road to Mecca.” The 1997 show “was the highlight of my acting career. It was just an incredible experience.” Owen and co-star Samantha Fork each earned best-actor “Arpee” awards for their performances.

Owen returned to the Riverfront stage 20 years later to take the role of Daria Chase in the January production of “The Game’s Afoot,” giving the community theater company the distinction of casting an actual mystery writer in the popular whodunit by Ken Ludwig.

Inhabiting the mind of Aimee Machado is Owen’s favorite role these days and the novels give her a foothold in the sprawling universe of mystery writers in a “huge, huge genre” that includes everything from police procedurals “to cozy mysteries where the cat talks to the old lady” to action and suspense stories like the ubiquitous Jack Reacher novels.

There’s one genre that outperforms ’em all: the romance novel. “They’re kind of like popcorn or potato chips. They’re just devoured by readers,” Owen says. But even in that field Owen is making inroads.

Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, a publisher of pocket paperbacks, has contracted with Camel Press to publish the first two books in Owen’s series. “One of the things my publisher likes about my books is that the protagonist is on the outs with her boyfriend, so there’s just enough of that romance kind of element. I even had a reader ask me if they’re ever going to get back together again. People like the mysteries and others follow that relationship role,” Owen says.

Owen’s longtime role with the Writers Forum was highlighted in March when a C-SPAN crew stopped in Redding to produce segments on local history and literary events/non-fiction authors. An interview with Owen and fellow writer Steve Callan (“Game Warden’s Son” and “Badges, Bears and Eagles”) aired on BookTV on C-SPAN2. Callan’s two books also were published by Coffeetown Press.

“Steve and I were on C-SPAN2, to the delight of our publishers,” Owen says.

Sharon St. George


In Print, Arts+Entertainment Sharon Owen
  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/24/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/24/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    02/24/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Havana Nights Gala

    02/24/2018
    06:00PM — 11:55PM

    Havana Nights Gala features appetizers, cocktails, dinner, live band, dancing, drawings and silen...


  • One Future at a Time Sing-Along

    02/24/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    A band of local musicians will lead an audience sing-along concert featuring the hits of the 60's...


  • North State Symphony's Masterworks #3

    02/24/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    This concert explores the sounds of Vienna with a collage of favorites from this famous musical h...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Yoga Nidra

    02/25/2018
    02:30PM — 04:00PM

    Yoga nidra is the art of conscious deep relaxation. You will be guided through progressive relaxa...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/26/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/27/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/01/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    03/01/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/23/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/23/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    02/23/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    02/23/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/24/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/24/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    02/24/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • Havana Nights Gala

    02/24/2018
    06:00PM — 11:55PM

    Havana Nights Gala features appetizers, cocktails, dinner, live band, dancing, drawings and silen...


  • One Future at a Time Sing-Along

    02/24/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    A band of local musicians will lead an audience sing-along concert featuring the hits of the 60's...


  • North State Symphony's Masterworks #3

    02/24/2018
    07:30PM — 10:00PM

    This concert explores the sounds of Vienna with a collage of favorites from this famous musical h...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/25/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Yoga Nidra

    02/25/2018
    02:30PM — 04:00PM

    Yoga nidra is the art of conscious deep relaxation. You will be guided through progressive relaxa...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/26/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/26/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/27/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/27/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    02/28/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    02/28/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Durable Power Of Attorney for Healthcare

    02/28/2018
    01:00PM — 03:00PM

    Joise will be covering: -Long Term Care - Special Needs Trust - Power of Attor...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Midweek Madness

    02/28/2018
    02:00PM — 08:00PM

    Visit either Wildcard location on Wednesdays and get $3 off a growler fill! Come by the brewery a...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/01/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • ART SALE at Pawz for a Cause Boutique

    03/01/2018
    10:30AM — 05:00PM

    Pawz for a Cause Boutique/ ResQ Animal Coalition will be having a 15% Off All Framed Art SALE for...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    03/02/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Market at Heritage Roasting Co

    03/02/2018
    09:00AM — 02:00PM

    It's Back! The weekly Market(formally known as Start Up Saturdays) at Heritage in Shasta Lake sta...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/02/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Annual Juried High School Art Competition

    03/02/2018
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    Join us for the 19th Annual Juried High School Art Competition show! Every year, as many as 14...


  • Wildcard Brewing Co. Foodie Friday

    03/02/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    On Fridays from 5pm-8pm, we bring you the best of both worlds: a frothy pint and a flavorful plat...


  • Redding International Folk Dancers

    03/02/2018
    07:00PM — 10:00PM

    Folk dance is for everyone and for all ages! Our motto is: If you can walk you can dance. We meet...


  • Bluegrass Music with Jeff Scroggins & Colorado

    03/02/2018
    08:00PM — 10:30PM

    "Jeff Scroggins may not be a household name, but he should be." -- Bluegrass Unlimited Jeff Sc...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    03/03/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/03/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • Wildcard Brewing Company's Brewhouse Tour

    03/03/2018
    04:30PM — 05:00PM

    Want to know more about what goes on behind the scenes at Wildcard? Join us for a tour. This is y...


  • 26th Annual Juried Photography Show

    03/03/2018
    05:00PM — 08:00PM

    The Highland Art Center is excited to present the 26th annual Juried Photography Show. This ex...


  • Sparrow's Landing Open to Public

    03/04/2018
    09:00AM — 04:00PM

    Furniture, plants, yard art and more! Most items made from repurposed, reclaimed materials. The ...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/04/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


  • B--Monthly Free Concert & Open Mic

    03/04/2018
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Redding - California State Old Time Fiddles Association, District 6 Free Old Time Fiddle, Bluegra...


  • Yoga Nidra

    03/04/2018
    02:30PM — 04:00PM

    Yoga nidra is the art of conscious deep relaxation. You will be guided through progressive relaxa...


  • Football Season Is Here!

    03/05/2018
    09:30AM

    NFL Ticket. Sunday all day starting 930am with breakfast! Mon night Football. Thursday night S...


Enter to win a free pottery class for three!

 

 

Enter to win!
Enter for your chance to win a $100 gift certificate to Wink Fashion and Salon! 

 

Check out our sister publication, Enjoy Magazine: South Valley Living

 

 

 

 

Wedding Style Guide 2017
Enjoy Magazine Facebook
Enjoy Magazine Instagram Instagram
Enjoy Magazine Pinterest Enjoy Magazine

Enjoy Our Sponsors