Tales from the Troubled-Woman Niche

July 2002
by Sharon Darby Hendry

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This spring, I published SoLiAh: The Sara Jane Olson Story–about the woman known as Kathy Soliah and her comrades in the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA). The SLA was the radical group that murdered an Oakland school superintendent and kidnapped publishing heiress Patty Hearst. Now that the book is out, people are asking me why I did this book and how I’m selling it.

The story behind the story began in June 1999 at a book club meeting where members were discussing my previous book, Glensheen’s Daughter, The Marjorie Congdon Story. It was the day that Sara Jane’s arrest had hit the local papers. “Sharon, this is your next book,” one woman said. I wasn’t that interested at first, but started cutting out newspaper clippings “just in case.”

By that time, I had already written two books about “troubled women,” and I seemed to have carved a niche, although less by design than by accident. My first book, An Element of Truth, is about a con artist from Minnesota whose doings came to my attention because she had been my husband’s secretary.


Con Artists for the Small Screen

Although the book was not published, it did become a CBS made-for-TV movie in 1995–eight years after I’d started it. When I was in Los Angeles discussing the teleplay with the writer-producer, he asked if I knew any more women con artists. “No,” I…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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