I'm the bestselling author of the 'Knitty Cat', 'Coffee Shop', 'Collie Dog', 'Movie Set Murder', 'Murder Once and Floral', and 'British Seaside' cozy mystery series to name just a few. I wrote my first cozy mystery 'Dead on Doughnuts' whilst working on the set of the Amazon Prime Video series 'The Romanoffs' in which an ill treated family member plots murder as revenge. After not realising that the books I loved to read had their own genre name 'cozy mystery' I decided to start an annual celebration day called #cozymysteryday to be celebrated on the 15th September in honour of Agatha Christie's birthday. The first event took place in 2019.
I added my middle name 'Jane' to my author name after a gaming company offered me seven figures to use my story for one of their games. Turns out they had mistaken me for a different author (also called Sarah Weldon) who had published a few erotic romance books long ago. I of course thanked them, explained the mixup, and offered them 'Dead on Doughnuts' but they declined. I thought long and hard (at least one cup of coffee long) about what to call myself to prevent any more mixups. I had three nicknames as a kid;' SJ', 'Thumbie" (I was a thumbsucker), and 'Titch' (I was very small for my age) but nothing respectable for a cool author like I wanted to be. I've always hated my name because I was a Tomboy and it was too girly for my liking, but after binge-watching the Dr Who spinoff ''The Sarah Jane Adventures' I decided I could live with it (at least until I could come up with something more acceptable). FYI, if do ever have the bad fortune of meeting me in person or writing to me, I'd suggest going with 'Sarah' rather than 'Sarah Jane' because the name still makes me want to vomit. But I suppose it could have been worse. Other baby names selected for me at my time of birth were 'Psyche', 'Aurora', 'Imagine', 'Lexie', and 'Storm'. Since I went on to become a Developmental Clinical Cognitive Neuropsychologist, the name Psyche could have been a bit weird for my patients, Storm would certainly match my Scorpio star sign, Imagine might have been appropriate for my author career, and I actually wouldn't have minded Aurora or Lexie at all. 1970s and maternity ward drugs, let's leave it at that shall we!! Oh, and something else weird that you might not know about me - I was born in the same ward as Titanic actress Kate Winslet 42 days later and my granny was once rude about her acting to her mum during a pub lunch. Apparently I once met Agatha Christie because she lived near my great aunt, and I was promptly sick all over her.
I often live stream my writing on YouTube where I'm joined by my three black and white cats Ozzy, Artemis, and Esa and a large pot of tea (you can take a tour of my tea collection here). Outside of my writing, I'm a keen ice swimmer and hope to one day swim an 'ice mile' and to swim in Antarctica.
At one time or another, I've been a member of the British Long Distance Swimming Association, the International Ice Swimming Association, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, Explorer's Club in New York, the Aerospace Medicine Association, a Royal Navy medic, the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, a Microsoft Innovative Educator, and a Wings Worldquest flag Carrier. I'm a professional School Speaker and I've been lucky enough to be a speaker on board Celebrity Cruises. Many of my cozy mystery books are inspired by my travels, life experiences and adventures. Poisoned in Paradise is based on a real life encounter with a NASA astronaut on a beach in the Caribbean (there was no romance since he was quite a lot older than me, but that encounter sparked the idea for the story I would write some ten year later).
Something else you might not know about my books, is that every month, I donate a percentage of my book royalties to my UK registered children's charity 'Oceans Project' which was founded with a group of Internally Displaced (IDP) and refugee children whilst working for the Ministry of Education, Science , Culture, and Sport in the former Soviet Republic of Georgia in 2010. The charity funds disadvantaged young people from all around the world to participate in environmental and STEM education expeditions with US-based non-profit Earthwatch. Expeditions include shark conservation in Belize, coral reef conservation on the Great Barrier Reef, climate change research in Canada, and rainforest conservation on the Amazon River. I hope to one day invite my patrons and readers to join me on the same expeditions as a thank you for reading and enjoying my books. UK readers can raise further funds for the charity just by shopping on Amazon Smile UK and nominating Oceans Project as the recipient of Amazon's donations.
Something I think is a bit cool is that I was born in 1975, the first year that 'International Women's Day took place, and the same year that Microsoft was founded. So it was a huge honour to be named by Microsoft for International Women's Day as a 'woman changing the world through technology' for my voluntary Skype in the Classroom (SITC) sessions with more than 100,000 young people worldwide each year through Oceans Project. Right now I'm using the Microsoft Hololens to try and create a virtual or 'invisible' museum of the British coastline so that a child or museum visitor can experience objects and places from around the coast as if they were there in person. I'm super excited about all things artificial intelligence, futuristic, holographic, smart technology, and to do with space travel so these things feature heavily in my less mainstream cozies which will be coming out towards the end of 2021. Back in 2014 I was even invited to take part in a special event at the Southbank Centre in London with the man who created the world wide web 'Sir Tim Berners-Lee' where we discussed all the things he wished he had done differently in creating the internet and about how to use it for good in the future. You can watch some of the sessions on YouTube here. Just think, if it weren't for him, there would probably be no authors or digital books to read, or pages like this one that you are reading now!
My love for nature and the water were previously filmed as part of an Ancestry DNA series for Channel 4 called 'My Family Secrets Revealed'