Our upcoming guest on the Crime Cafe is Saralyn Richard.
She’s the author of a mystery series featuring Detective Oliver Parrott.
Along with her essay on the pandemic and her hair, she’s providing an awesome choice of giveaway items!
For more details, check out the end of this post.
And stayed tuned for the interview! 🙂
A Different Kind of Coming Out
by Saralyn Richard
Before the pandemic, I was experiencing some problems with my hair. No matter what I did to pamper and nourish it, the results were disappointing. My husband suggested that I stop coloring it. I believe his exact words were, “You’re killing your hair with chemicals.”
I scoffed, I resisted, and I turned a deaf ear. “Gray hair is for old people,” I said, “and I’m not old—yet.” I equated grayness with little old ladies, retired from working, sitting in rocking chairs and knitting. Not me!
When the pandemic hit, there was no way I was going into a beauty shop. As silvery roots began to wink at me in the mirror, I pondered what to do. I could always use home hair color treatments, and I invested in some temporary ones that washed out with the first shampoo. On the other hand, what better time to experiment, to test my husband’s hypothesis, than at a time when no one would see me for weeks or months or—heaven forbid—years.
So, I stopped coloring my hair. The decision was part-liberating, part-terrifying. I kept telling myself I could always go back to being a brunette, any time I wanted to. Thoughts about gray-blending, wigs, and specific hair products designed for “mature” hair began occupying my time, way more than necessary.
As the gray started growing in, I realized, yes, it was growing in healthier, thicker, and shinier. My angelic hairdresser, who gave me covid haircuts while I sat in a folding chair on the front lawn of my house, put in her two cents’ worth. “Your hair IS coming in healthier. If I were you, I’d let it grow out all the way.” Really? Why would a hairdresser pass up the regular income that comes from coloring a client’s hair, unless she honestly believed the color was damaging my hair?
Soon afterward, I began zooming for meetings. Outsiders were seeing my new hair color for the first time. “Oh, it’s my covid hair,” I said, still trying to convince myself that the gray was only temporary. Most of the time I received compliments, but a few people weighed in on the negative side. One of my colleagues told me I should “own it,” and that stuck with me, even when I shocked myself by looking in the mirror.
Sometime along the way, I began to think about my author photo. I still love that photo and continue to use it, but will people who see that photo and then see me in person or online post-covid recognize that we are the same person?
Next, I thought about women mystery authors who, despite advancing age, continued to color their hair. No, I chided myself, what you should be focusing on are the women mystery authors who embraced their gray hair. Going gray seemed to have worked for Agatha Christie and Toni Morrison.
I googled women mystery writers with gray hair. Wow! There were plenty to admire, including several of my favorites. Here, in alphabetical order, were a few: Sheila Agnew, Ty Alexander, Margaret Atwood, Elizabeth Berg, Susan Gregg-Gilmore, Laurie King, Anne Kreamer, Byron Katie, Louise Penny, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Lauren Rosenfeld, and Lynn Sloan. And now, Saralyn Richard.
After all, I think I’m in good company, and having gray hair just might’ve improved my writing. I’ll let you be the judge of that!
If you sign up for Saralyn’s monthly newsletter (subscription form is here) will receive your choice of a pdf booklet of recipes from the elegant gourmet dinner in MURDER IN THE ONE PERCENT, or Saralyn’s short story, “Sisterhood at the Laundromat.”
Award-winning and best-selling author, Saralyn Richard was born with a pen in her hand and ink in her veins. A former educator, she loves connecting with readers. Her humor- and romance-tinged mysteries and children’s book pull back the curtain on people in settings as diverse as elite country manor houses and disadvantaged urban high schools.
Saralyn’s most recent release is A MURDER OF PRINCIPAL. Look for her mystery/thriller, BAD BLOOD SISTERS in March 2022.
Visit Saralyn here, on her Amazon page here, or on Facebook here.
Thank you so much, Debbi, for hosting me. This is one of the bravest and most personal posts I’ve ever written, but you are such a welcoming interviewer, and I appreciate the warm, comfortable hospitality you provide at The Crime Cafe. I’m looking forward to talking to you very soon, and I welcome everyone’s comments, whatever they may be.
My pleasure, Saralyn! You look great, BTW!
Aw, thanks, Debbi. 🙂
You’re welcome! 🙂
You look terrific. It doesn’t matter what the color of your hair is. It’s what is inside your heart and brain that count.
You’re absolutely right, Daniella. I appreciate the reminder, and that applies to you, too.
Welcome to grey from your fan and SIL who has been here all along. Isn’t it fun?? You look gorgeous!
Thanks for the compliment, SIL! You showed me the way.
Oh, Saralyn, it’s beautiful! I can’t carry this off, but you’ve done a masterful job of it! I truly love it!
Thank you so much, Marilyn.
I love your new look! Your grey hair looks Beautiful on you. You’re an Amazing author with or without those grey’s. I’ll be patiently waiting for a new book. Because I know it’s worth waiting for.
Thanks so much, Anise. I know you’re going to love the next book…I guarantee it! 🙂
I’ve got salt and pepper hair these days. Completely natural. So I admire your new look. Come to think of it, I need a new photo too! Best always.
Thanks for the encouragement, Jacqueline. My best to you, also.
Misery loves company, or so they say. I love your new hair color. I am also getting use to mine, also almost entirely grey!
Thanks for the compliment, Jan. Gray hair won’t be the only thing we have in common, though. We have lots!
Great article, Saralyn. You look fantastic by the way. Welcome to the sisterhood, lol. I find it liberating not having to worry about hair colour anymore!!
Glad to be in any sisterhood with you, Liz–and this isn’t the only sisterhood we have!
I’m so glad that you “owned it!” You look beautiful, distinguished and now, you’re in great company! As a salt-and-pepper fledgling, I still go back and forth. Perhaps someday, I’ll follow your lead. 🙂
Thanks for the encouragement, Tracey. You are so wise. 🙂
Saralyn, I don’t care if your hair is black, grey, or ravishing rainbow, just as long as you continue to write great stories that I can enjoy.
Thanks for your supportive comment, Keith. You keep writing, too!
You look absolutely beautiful! I too have been on the bubble about the idea to color or not to color. After seeing how much healthier your hair got, I might just take the plunge!
Just please keep writing your exciting mystery novels.
Nancy, I appreciate your comment so much! It is pure joy to share these things with you!
I already receive your newsletter but I would still LOVE ❤️ to read your short story, “ Sisterhood At The Laundromat.”
Thanks for sharing this, Saralyn. I’m sure you’ve encouraged many to give up color and go natural. Your hair truly does look fabulous!
Very brave post, Saralyn. Gets me thinking about my hair. I think you look great!