It’s #RIAuthor Month! Meet Claremary Sweeney

I just looked over my post from 2016 for Martha’s blog where I featured my first book, A Berkshire Tale – ten stories about ZuZu, a kitten born in a barn at Tanglewood.  I’d always intended to blissfully continue writing the ZuZu Series until people began to ask, “You’re a Rhode Islander? Why don’t you write stories set in RI?” (We are a parochial bunch here in the Ocean State.) Since I take my readers very seriously, I immediately tucked away all future Berkshire adventures swirling around in my mind and sat down to write a mystery set right here in South County.


Last Train to Kingston was launched this summer. It revolves around the murder of Thea Lorimar one chill, November night. In this first of a series set in South Kingstown, I introduce Detective Lieutenant Kara Langley, who investigates what brought Thea to Kingston and discovers the reasons behind the murder of this gentle recluse. The pages are filled with local references and places and I include photos of the historic settings within the chapters of the book.

I’m in the process of writing the second in this series, Last Rose on the Vine. It’s set at the University of Rhode Island and concerns  the untimely death of a professor who appears to be steeped in alleged misuse of college funds. Embezzlement is always a good motive for murder and not that far-fetched an idea, from my experience. And, I used to be a master gardener at the campus rose garden where the body is discovered – a very thorny place! Last Rose on the Vine should be out in the spring of 2018.

Murder does have a special attraction for me. My husband Charley is relieved that  I have a safe outlet for my overactive little grey cells. But my true love is writing children’s books. After doing a reading at a local school, a little boy jumped up and asked, “Have you ever written a book about bugs, and plants that eat bugs?!” It caused my imagination to go into overdrive, resulting in a verse book about Adonis, a baby pitcher plant living in the Roger Williams Botanical Gardens. He awakes one morning to find a fly in his digestive juices. The insect pleads, “Oh, please spare my life! I’m needed at home by my larvae and wife.” Adonis spits out the fly and declares he will no longer eat meat, causing much angst among the plants and creatures in the garden. “Not eating meat? That’s simply insane! You’ll starve,” said his mother, “you’ll wither and wane!” Everyone helps her try to find a solution to save her baby.

Although I usually use my own photographs in my work, I agreed to mentor an art student from URI, Zachary Perry.  It took us an entire year of working diligently together on the concept and translating it into the final illustrations. We both think our collaborative creation is the bee’s knees!  Carnivore Conundrum will be unleashed on the public this December.

If you’re interested in finding out more about my books, follow me at my blog. You can also friend me on Facebook.

Claremary author phoyo

Claremary Sweeney was an English teacher and high school administrator in Rhode Island for over 30 years. Retirement began another segment of her life. She married, pursued interests in photography, gardening, music, travel and writing.

Claremary book cover

GIVEAWAY! The author is offering a copy of The Pacas are Coming! ZuZu and the Crias to one lucky winner. All you have to do is comment on this blog post. Winner will be chosen at random and the author will contact you directly. Contest ends one week after publication. US residents only, please.

Meet over 100 local authors on Saturday, December 2! The Fifth Annual RI Authors Expo


T is for James Taylor

Photo from

John Mayer has called him “the blueprint” for singer/songwriters.  “Mud Slide Slim and the Blue Horizon” was the first album I ever owned, and I’m sure I played the grooves off the vinyl.  A lot has been written about the five-time Grammy Award winner: the drug addiction, his marriage to Carly Simon, the house on the Vineyard, summers at Tanglewood.

On growing up in North Carolina (Morgan Creek), Taylor said, “I tell my kids that we were pre-TV and there was a lot of empty time there, slow weekends when you just walked into the woods and found whatever you could to kill time.  There was this long, uninterrupted time to let your imagination grow.  I believe that was an important part of whatever creative life I’ve had.”

About his drug addiction, he said, “I’m lucky to be here.  I’m lucky that I didn’t die, or that I didn’t hurt somebody else more than I did or do more damage than I did.  I should have died about five times.  Overdoses, mostly.  Or traffic accidents, or being at risk because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

You know the hits: “Fire and Rain,” “You’ve Got a Friend,” “Shower the People.”  So many good songs.  It’s hard to choose a favorite, but this one is at the top for me (backed by the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, you’ll see Taylor’s wife Kim Smedvig, the blonde in the light blue sweater):