Sari Sikstrom, with her B.A. in Geography from the University of Alberta, has crossed the desert by camel, drifted in a hot air balloon, floated to earth under a parachute, bounced from a bungee, sailed the Pacific Ocean, taken underwater photographs with the Cousteau Society, bicycled through the Valley of the Kings, hiked the Great Wall and run a marathon. She has also self-published a debut novel about a forensic librarian. As someone drawn to leather-bound books, she credits second-hand bookstores as her main inspiration for the invention of her sleuth, Dr. Vela Ostofvold. "Like a pearl diver," she says, "I would lift the cover hoping to find treasure--an inscription or piece of ephemera. As a book is passed from reader to reader the physical changes create a secondary story about the readers."

Sikstrom's heroine in Watermark: The Truth Beneath the Surface (CreateSpace 2014) loves to interpret the ephemera, inscriptions and notations in books and letters in order to unravel mysteries. While visiting the Rome apartment of her mother, who is a renowned opera singer who she resembles, Vela and her best friend and fellow book enthusiast, Amelia, discover a suitcase jammed under the bed. It contains memorabilia of her mother Olivia's career and the influence of her first voice coach Miss Penelope Arthur. Captivated by a bundle of letters written by Miss Arthur during her assignment as a governess in India, Vela proceeds to find clues to solve the mystery her paternity--a secret kept from her all her life. 978-1497398740 / Amazon $10

[BCBW 2015]