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.