Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
ROSEMARY AND LARRY MILD, cheerful partners in crime, coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction. Rosemary and Larry have published award-winning novels, short stories, and essays. They co-authored the popular Paco and Molly Mystery Series; Hawaii adventure/thrillers Cry Ohana and Honolulu Heat; and three volumes of short stories, many of which appear in anthologies. After forty-plus years in Maryland, the Milds currently make their home in Honolulu, where they cherish time with their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.
THE MILDS are active members of Sisters in Crime where Larry is a Mister in Crime; Mystery Writers of America; and Hawaii Fiction Writers. In 2013 they waved goodbye to Severna Park, Maryland and moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where they cherish quality time with their daughters and grandchildren. When Honolulu hosted Left Coast Crime in 2017, Rosemary and Larry were the program co-chairs for “Honolulu Havoc.”
Over a dozen worldwide trips to Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Cambodia, Burma, Great Britain, France, Italy, Israel, Egypt, and more have wormed their way into their amazing stories. In their limited spare time, they are active members of the Honolulu Jewish Film Festival committee, where Larry is the statistician and recordkeeper for their film ratings. Visit their website to find out more.
1. How many books, in total, have you written together?
Thirteen: ten novels and three books of short stories, with more to come.
We have also published three memoirs:
By Rosemary: Miriam’s World—and Mine, about our beloved daughter, Miriam Luby Wolfe, whom we lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988. And Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother.
By Larry: No Place To Be But Here, My Life and Times. It is not only my own story, but that of my family: how my two wives, three children, and five grandchildren have shaped my life as much as I have molded theirs. Tragedy is certainly no stranger as I dealt with death, cancer, murder, and global terrorism, not only on this written page, but in my own life.
2. How did you get started writing together?
Rosemary: Larry and I met on a blind date in October, 1986, at my house in Severna Park, Maryland. We came from rather different worlds. He had lost his wife to cancer. I’d been divorced for eight years, happily accustomed to having my own space, thank you. In the car, on our way home from dinner, he said, “When I retire I’m going to write a novel and I want you to help me.” Now neither of us had ever written fiction. I was an editor; he was an electrical engineer, and I’d only known this man for four hours. So I chirped, “Okay!” Instinct told me he was Mr. Right—and I‘d better not let him get away. True to his word, when we retired, he sat down and wrote Cry Ohana, Adventure and Suspense in Hawaii.
3. What is your process of writing together?
Rosemary: Larry inherited a creative gene from his grandfather Charles Gluck, who was an excellent artist. We have his paintings in our living room. Larry’s mind works in imaginative ways, so he makes up all our plots and writes the first drafts. Then he hands the manuscript over to me. I flesh out the characters and streamline passages to pick up the pace. I call it “judicious pruning,” an expression I learned as an assistant editor at Harper’s Magazine. Originally, Larry would reply, “I worked hours on those two paragraphs!” Then, with sleeves rolled up, we would negotiate. In our early days, I would not have received a doctorate in diplomacy. Today things go a lot smoother.
Larry: Our manuscripts are always better after Rosemary works her magic. She has this wonderful feel for people and human nature. She breathes life into my minimalist characters: physical appearance, sharpening the dialogue. Sometimes she adds a scene for more conflict. She’ll take an anecdote I told second-hand and turn it into real-time drama, like an ugly shouting match between two women in a crowded restaurant.
4. How do you get the ideas for your novels?
Larry: From life! From keen observation of people, from newspaper articles and books (I’m a voracious reader), from eavesdropping (Yes!) and from our own personal experience. We wrote Cry Ohana (ohana means family) when we were winter “snowbirds” in Honolulu, weaving in all the local places we knew, which gave the book authenticity and color. For instance, we have a chase scene in Chinatown during Chinese New Year, which we always attended, wading ankle-deep in firecracker paper. But we also leap into other times and places with our sci-fi novella Unto the Third Generation.
5. How do you get the ideas for the characters in your novels?
Rosemary: We draw many of our characters from real life. Most are composites of people we’ve known. When Larry and I started writing together, we hadn’t even considered writing mysteries—until we visited my psychoanalyst father, Dr. Saul K. Pollack, in Milwaukee. That visit set us on a happy new course. My father, a widower in his seventies, had a housekeeper/gourmet cook named Dorothy. She was sixty-three, with a beachball figure, waddle walk, honey curls, and good-natured, nosy-body personality. Dorothy had exquisite culinary skills and a unique way of expressing herself. “I have to take my calcium so I don’t get osteoferocious.” During our visit, my father pulled out a piece of paper from his desk drawer and handed it to us: his secret list of Dorothy’s 177 sayings. He thought we could submit it to Reader’s Digest. Back home in Severna Park, we decided Dorothy was too good a character to ignore. Forget Reader’s Digest. She belonged to us. We named her Molly, and her witty sayings Mollyprops. But we also needed a policeman, so Larry invented a semi-retired detective and named him Inspector Paco LeSoto. Larry actually met the real-life Paco when he was a field engineer for RCA. So Locks and Cream Cheese, our first mystery, was born. The lovable psychoanalyst Dr. Avi Kepple is patterned after my father.
6. Tell us a little about the process of writing your latest novel, Death Rules the Night. How did you come up with the plot? How long did the writing process take?
Larry: Death Rules the Night is our fourth Dan & Rivka Sherman Mystery. Dan and Rivka think they’re buying into a pleasant, predictable life. Instead, they become unwilling, frightened sleuths in the wake of a mugging, robbery, kidnapping—and murder. I chose to set the crime inside the bookstore. A tell-all hair-raising book about the prominent Atkins family has disappeared. The real focus of the book is the Atkins family’s eighteenth-century house in Annapolis. The ancestors of three unhappy sisters and a reprobate brother date back to the American Revolution. I delved into research—as long as it didn’t overshadow the plot—touching on the Revolutionary War, the Underground Railroad, and Prohibition. How long did the writing process take? About a year. We always send our final draft to our eagle-eyed proofreader friend. That takes her a month or so.
7. Your popular Dan and Rivka Sherman Mystery series is filled with charm. Are there any autobiographical components in these wonderful characters—and if so, what?
Larry: We made Dan and Rivka a lot like us, but much younger: a Jewish couple in their early fifties. They abandon thriving careers to buy the fictional Olde Victorian Bookstore in Annapolis, Maryland.
Rosemary: Physically, Dan is his own man. Tall and gangly, he sprawls when he sits. He has bushy black hair and eyebrows. The only thing that’s thin about Larry is his gray hair. However, Dan’s personality is very much like Larry’s: analytical and practical, a born problem-solver. Rivka is a lot like me. Affectionate, addicted to chocolate, and feisty—I came out of the womb arguing. In Death Rules the Night Dan secures a manuscript copy of the tell-all missing book. One night an intruder breaks into the bookstore. Dan thinks that’s what he or she was trying to steal. Rivka despairs. “Oh, Dan, do you think the intruder is violent? Are we in some kind of danger? Forget trying to discover the Atkins family secrets. You are being so pigheaded!”
8. What’s the best part of writing with your spouse?
Larry: We’re never working in a vacuum. We always have each other to bounce off our ideas. When Rosemary read my first draft of Death Rules the Night, she said the plot seemed a little thin. I was able to immediately come up with a juicy, seductive subplot and we talked out the details.
Rosemary: Larry’s my soul mate. I’m convinced we knew each other in a previous life. Writing together gives us daily structure and the joy of seeing our books in print. Larry also formats all our books for Kindle, and we even have a talking book. Death Goes Postal, our first Dan & Rivka Mystery, is available as an Amazon Audible Audiobook.
9. What’s the most challenging part?
Larry: She could work a little faster. We’re getting “behinder” by the day. And when she edits out some of my favorite paragraphs, I call it slash and burn. She replies with a quote by Stephen King: “To write is human, to edit is divine.”
Rosemary: I know it’s aggravating for Larry to have to wait for me. You see, I have another creative life of my own: writing personal essays. In addition to my memoirs, I just published my essay collection In My Next Life I’ll Get It Right, my quirky takes on everyday life from the hilarious to the serious.
10. What’s next for authors Rosemary and Larry Mild? Any new books in the works?
Rosemary: Yes, two. Charlie and the Magic Jug is a collection of mystery and suspense stories—plus some delightful fractured fairy tales and our own Hawaiian menehune legends. Larry is also working on a new novel called On the Rails, A Boxcar Bertie Adventure.
Sunday, September 5, 2021
I have a very talented lady here today to tell us all about her new memoir, My Feats in These Shoes: A Solely Original Memoir. Her name is Dr. Ronda Beaman.
Enjoy the interview!
First, find out more about Ronda and her hot new book...