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So excited to have forensics handwriting analyst & author, Sheila Lowe, here today. Awesome!

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Hello Sheila. Thanks for stopping by today to talk about your writing. Could you tell a little bit about yourself?

Hi Brenda, thanks for the opportunity! I am lucky enough to have two careers, both of which I love. I’m a forensic handwriting analyst and author, and mystery novelist. I live in paradise, otherwise known as Ventura, CA with my cat, Lexie.

You’ve been working as a forensic handwriting expert for a long time. What drew you into this type of work?

Back in high school (long, long, long ago), my boyfriend’s mother analyzed my handwriting, which got me instantly hooked—I felt as though someone finally understood me. I went to the library and devoured every book I could get my hands on about handwriting analysis, but it wasn’t until ten years later that I discovered there were formal courses I could take. In 1981 I was certified by the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation and in 1985 became qualified as a handwriting expert in the court system. Helping people understand themselves and others better feels wonderful. And helping in cases of forgery feels pretty good, too.

Can you talk about any of the high profile cases you’ve been involved with or just give a sample of the type of cases you work on?

Most of the time when I’m commenting on high profile cases it’s because the media has asked for my opinion, rather than my being directly involved. However, a couple of months ago, I testified as an expert witness in the “Clark Rockefeller” homicide trial.

Ironically, although I believed him to be guilty of killing John Sohus, a young man whose remains were found several years after his disappearance in the mid-1980s, I was called to testify for the defense. The job of the expert witness is not to advocate for one’s client as an attorney does, but to be an advocate of the truth, wherever it leads you.

In the “Rockefeller” case—which is a strange and fascinating story (just ask Uncle Google), the question was, Did Linda Sohus, who disappeared in 1985 and never resurfaced, write some postcards? The man calling himself Clark Rockefeller (his real name is Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter) was accused of killing Sohus’ husband. He argued that if the handwriting was Linda’s, she could have killed her husband herself, then fled. In my opinion, and that of the Sheriff’s document examiner, the handwriting was indeed that of Linda Sohus. However, as the prosecutor brought out on the stand, I did not know when the writing was done, or under what circumstances. For all I knew, “Rockefeller” could have held a gun to Linda’s head and made her write it. He was convicted of John Sohus’ murder.

You are president of AHAF. What kinds of things does this organization do?

 AHAF, (ahafhandwriting.org), was formed in 1965 as a non-profit business organization to promote education and professionalism in the field of handwriting analysis. Today, we offer a certification program, conferences, education, and many other benefits to members around the world for a nominal fee. We’re also working to return cursive handwriting training to the core curriculum in public schools. Scientific research shows how important this training is for brain development. We have a dedicated website for this purpose: www.cursiveiscool.com

Once I started reading your books, I immediately wanted to know more about handwriting analysis. Do you have any nonfiction books on the subject?

As a matter of fact, I have two published non-fiction books: The Complete Idiots Guide to Handwriting Analysis, which is like an introductory course in graphology, and Handwriting of the Famous and Infamous, which contains the handwriting of 75 people through history and my analysis of them. I have also written many monographs about handwriting and personality, which are available on my website www.sheilalowe.com

What was the catalyst that made you decide to start writing mysteries that involved forensic handwriting?

I’ve always loved reading mysteries and I’ve always written, so it was a natural progression. However, it wasn’t until later in life that I actually started writing a full-length mystery for publication. A woman I knew had died under mysterious circumstances. The police determined that it was suicide, but many things didn’t add up. Although my first mystery, Poison Pen, was not about that woman, per se, several intriguing elements of the case lent themselves to a story of psychological suspense. So I borrowed them.

The characters and settings in your books come alive with detail. Do you think your study of handwriting gives you that edge in character and setting development?

Undoubtedly, my history in handwriting analysis informs my writing about character. But it was in a four-week course in creative writing that I learned about the “telling details” that make writing interesting. Instead of long, rambling descriptions, just one or two words to describe something unique about a place or a setting, can transport a reader to magical—or in my case, scary—places.

The protagonist, Claudia, is a forensic handwriting expert who testifies in court as you do. How much do you think Claudia Rose is you and you’re Claudia Rose?

This is a question I’ve been asked many times, and I always give the same answer: Claudia is much braver (or maybe more foolhardy) than I am. And she likes coffee and flying. I am not a fan of either. But, having said that, we are both in the dual practice of forensic handwriting examination and behavioral profiling through handwriting. So there must be some similarities somewhere!

You mention graphotherapy as a therapy to help a troubled teen in WRITTEN IN BLOOD. Could you explain a little about this therapy?

Graphotherapy is a system of “form drawings” done to music, along with affirmations to help change personality traits that are not serving the client. It’s a matter of anchoring an idea to a behavior (writing), supported by specific types of music. The client is the one who decides what they want to change, and the graphotherapist works with them over a period of weeks, monitoring their exercises and watching their handwriting change naturally, from the inside out. This is a much more effective method than changing pieces of handwriting and expecting personality changes to follow.

You have a new book out now. Could you tell something about it and where it can be purchased

My new book, WHAT SHE SAW, is a standalone novel of psychological suspense that follows a young woman through the terrifying labyrinth of amnesia, where no one is who or what they appear to be. This book is not part of my Forensic Handwriting Mysteries series, but Claudia Rose and some of her friends who populate my series play an important role in unraveling the web of mystery. This is the first book I am releasing straight to Kindle.

Wow ! That was fascinating. Thanks so much for taking the time to drop by. Can you give your contact links below?

Thank you, Brenda. My main site for handwriting analysis is http://www.sheilalowe.com/. For marriage and family therapists: http://www.superceu.com/. Mystery lovers can read excerpts from my series at http://www.claudiaroseseries.com/. And anyone who would like to try out the Handwriting Analyzer software free can visit http://www.writinganalysis.com/.

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 http://amzn.to/14DgMtj

Please feel free to post any comments or questions to Sheila below.

Thanks for stopping by.

Bren

2 Responses to “So excited to have forensics handwriting analyst & author, Sheila Lowe, here today. Awesome!”

  1. CD Hersh says:

    Interesting interview. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. I’m glad that you enjoyed it! Looking forward to seeing you two tomorrow!

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