Thursday, July 09, 2009

An Interview with Rosemary and Larry Mild

Welcome to a special Thursday author interview - Rosemary and Larry Mild, who are currently in the midst of their blog tour for their mystery novel, Boston Scream Pie.

Rosemary and Larry Mild have published award-winning short stories and essays. Members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Maryland Writers Association, the Milds divide their time between their homes in Maryland and Hawaii. Most of all, they treasure spending time with their five grandchildren in Hawaii and South Carolina’s horse country.

Enjoy their interview -- and yes, any comment you leave on today's post will also enter you into the One Night in Napa Blog Giveaway Contest! Plus, read through to find out how you can win an autographed copy of Boston Scream Pie as well. Take a peek at the synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Caitlin Neuman, a Maryland high school student, is plagued by a series of bizarre nightmares about a horrific car accident on a snowy road. The lone survivor of a car crash that claimed both her parents and twin sister years earlier, Caitlin was too young to remember the details of that fateful night. But are these present-day nightmares simply Caitlin’s mind working out the past, or is there more to these vivid images that haunt her every waking moment?

As the harrowing images escalate, Caitlin takes matters into her own hands and seeks out the one source she knows can solve the mystery of the nightmares: retired Baltimore detective Paco LeSoto.

For any other detective, such a case would seem impossible. But for Paco LeSoto, nothing is impossible. Paco, after all, has both a keen ability to solve mysteries, and the loving support of his wife and biggest cheerleader, Molly, a woman whose deliciously skewed language, exquisite culinary skills, and shrewd cleverness are equaled only by her girth.

As Paco and Molly set out to find answers, they’ll uncover a string of unsolved deaths and a case of mistaken identity buried deep in the past. As the clues mount and the tension builds, Paco and Molly are led to a nearby family embroiled in a crisis of its own.

Newlyweds Newton Boston and his blonde bombshell wife Delylah are mired in their own family turmoil as Delylah’s adult children churn up trouble that threatens this already-fractured family. But what Newton doesn’t know is that four dead husbands lie in Delylah’s past. When another Boston family member dies under suspicious circumstances, all clues point to murder.

Can Paco and Molly stop another killing, bring justice to the culprits, and right an egregious wrong from the past—before it’s too late? As they uncover the sinister clues, Paco and Molly will either shed light on a long-hidden secret, or stir up a recipe for disaster.

Congratulations on your release! Can you tell us about your latest writing project or published title?

LARRY: There are several things that come to mind. First, there is the finished novel, Cry ‘Ohana, A Young Hawaiian’s Search for His Family. It’s been around for awhile, mainly because of its epic length (470 pages). ‘Ohana means family in the Hawaiian language, and although its theme explores the wonderful multicultural nature of Oahu, it’s full of suspense, adventure, murder, despair, and romance. It’s the novel Rosemary and I cut our teeth on.

Second, there’s the novel Death Goes Postal, A Dan and Rivka Sherman Murder Mystery. Its theme traces printing artifacts from the time of Gutenberg to the present in a series of vignettes, while murder, kidnapping, and suspense accompany the search for the artifact cache. Third, we have a repertoire of short stories (dozens even). Many have been published in e-zines online. Our soft-boiled detective series (four Slim O. Wittz stories) will be published in four online issues of Mysterical-E, beginning in Fall 2009 .

ROSEMARY: Death Goes Postal is Larry’s personal baby, in about its second trimester.

How do you go about developing your characters?

LARRY: Rosemary agrees that I’m the more devious of the two of us, so I’m mostly involved with plots. The characters I create are mere skeletons fashioned out of essential story requirements. Rosemary takes my skinny runts and flushes real people out of them—appearances, personalities, attributes, emotions, reactions, and expectations.

ROSEMARY: Without Larry’s talent for inventing plots and characters, I couldn’t write fiction.

Who is your favorite author?

LARRY: My all-time favorite is Ken Follett. His Pillars of the Earth and World Without End are magnificent examples of the historical novel—plot, characters, suspense, excitement, and an education (12th and 14th century England).

ROSEMARY: I’m crazy about many authors, but not necessarily about every book they’ve written; quality often varies or the subject doesn’t turn me on. At the top of my list is Tolstoy for Anna Karenina (but not War and Peace). I, too, love Ken Follett’s historical novels—and Hornet Flight, about the Danish Resistance in World War II.

What do you find most difficult about writing?

LARRY: Re-writing the first chapter and its “hook”— I never know when I’ve done enough or too much.

ROSEMARY: Fresh descriptions of characters. I find it hard to be original describing hair, faces, gestures, etc. I’m still working on that, and trying a little poetry too.

How do you balance writing with the rest of your life?

LARRY: I write four to five hours a day, six days a week when we are at home. This leaves plenty of time for all our other activities. Ain’t retirement wonderful? It’s the queries, submissions, marketing, publicity, and other necessary evils that steal precious time from our lives.

ROSEMARY: Larry has a waaaaay longer attention span than I do. He has a high concentration ability no matter what he does, whether it’s writing, fixing our fence, or doing carpentry. He’s a jack-of-all-trades, master of just about everything. Me? I go to Jazzercise, which satisfies my suppressed desire to be a Rockette. I’m also an obsessive birdwatcher and commune with our resident birds throughout the day. What a happy distraction, and any time I spot a new visitor, it makes my day.

Do you ever suffer from writer's block?

LARRY: Mostly I walk around with what I plan to write before I sit down at the keyboard. So writer’s block is a rare ailment for me, but it does occur.

ROSEMARY: No writer’s block, but I also write nonfiction and am dealing with a tough subject: a second edition of Miriam’s Gift: A Mother’s Blessings—Then and Now, my memoir of our daughter killed in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

I'm so sorry for your loss. I remember that event quite vividly, as I was a teenager living in upstate NY at the time, and several Syracuse University students were on that flight.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

LARRY: My ailing back has curbed our love of tennis. We take long walks on the Baltimore/Annapolis trail a mile from our home. Swimming’s great, and so are crossword puzzles and reading. We also enjoy world travel—Japan, China, New Zealand, Australia, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Canada, Israel, Egypt, the British Isles, and most of Western Europe. Visiting the kids and grandkids in Hawaii and South Carolina is most cherished.

ROSEMARY: We watch my favorite show, Jeopardy! My comic essay about taking the test to get on the show appeared in Slow Trains, winter 2009 issue.

Thank you so much for being here today! Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

LARRY: I enjoy rubbing elbows with mystery fans and other mystery writers. There’s an important feedback connection to be made, so we attend as many genre conferences and conventions as are practical. Since October 2008 we attended Bouchercon in Baltimore, MD; Maryland Writers’ Association in Linthicum, MD; and sat on panels for Left Coast Crime on the Big Island, Hawaii, and Malice Domestic in Arlington, VA. We also favor our luncheon and dinner meetings with Sisters in Crime (both the Chesapeake and Honolulu chapters) and Mystery Writers of America.

ROSEMARY: I get a kick out of the pearls of wisdom from mystery authors like Harlan Coban (Tell No One):
“Isn’t every good writer full of fear and insecurity?”
“If someone tells me he never rewrites, I don’t want to party with him.”
“If an author is super-confident, he’s either over the hill or someone else is writing his books.”

Readers, for a chance to win a signed copy of Boston Scream Pie, simply go to Rosemary and Larry's blog tour page and enter the following pin #: 4415.

And have a great day!


misterreereeder said...

Enjoyed the interview. It sounds like the Milds have a lot to draw on for their book ideas.

itsamystery said...

Thanks for sharing the interview. What a wealth of material they must have accumulated through their travels! I'd like to look into some of the nonfiction writing as well.

Virginia said...

Great interview, I really enjoyed it.