The Writing Life with Rosemary and Larry Mild, Authors of 'Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i'



ROSEMARY AND LARRY MILD, cheerful partners in crime, coauthor mystery, suspense, and fantasy fiction. Their popular Hawaii novels, Cry Ohana and its sequel Honolulu Heat, vibrate with island color, local customs, and exquisite scenery. Also by the Milds: The Paco and Molly Murder Mysteries: Locks and Cream Cheese, Hot Grudge Sunday, and Boston Scream Pie. And the Dan and Rivka Sherman Mysteries: Death Goes Postal, Death Takes A Mistress, and Death Steals A Holy Book. Plus Unto the Third Generation, A Novella of the Future, and three collections of wickedly entertaining mystery stories—Murder, Fantasy, and Weird Tales; The Misadventures of Slim O. Wittz, Soft-Boiled Detective; and Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i.

ROSEMARY, a graduate of Smith College and former assistant editor of Harper’s, also delves into her own nonfiction life. She published two memoirs: Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother and the acclaimed Miriam’s World—and Mine, for the beloved daughter they lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. On her lighter side, Rosemary also writes award-winning humorous essays, such as failing the test to get on Jeopardy; and working for a giant free-spending corporation on a sudden budget: “No new pencil unless you turn in the old stub.”
 
LARRY, who was only called Lawrence when he’d done something wrong, graduated from American University in Information Systems Management. In 2019 he published his autobiography, No Place To Be But Here: My Life and Times, which traces his thirty-eight-year professional engineering career from its beginning as an electronics technician in the U.S. Navy, to a field engineer riding Navy ships, to a digital systems/instrument designer for major Government contractors in the signal analysis field, to where he rose to the most senior level of principal engineer when he retired in 1993.

Making use of his past creativity and problem-solving abilities, Larry naturally drifted into the realm of mystery writing, where he also claims to be more devious than his partner in crime and best love, Rosemary. So he conjures up their plots and writes the first drafts, leaving Rosemary to breathe life into their characters and sizzle into their scenes. A perfect marriage of their talents.

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.    

Interview:

What got you into writing?
LARRY: I have always had ideas running through my head. That’s what made me so creative in my former profession. Since I retired, it’s mainly stories wriggling around up there. There’s a strong need to get them on paper where they belong, to share them with others.

ROSEMARY: Writing comes naturally to me. I was an editor for over thirty years and also did some free-lance writing for the Baltimore Sun, Washington Post, Washington Woman, etc.

What do you like best about being an author?
LARRY:  To be perfectly honest, it’s when a reader strokes us with kudos for one of our books. During the writing process it’s the first draft where creativity is at max and even we don’t know the whole path to the end. Dynamic characters and circumstances have a lot to do with creating that pleasure. We also enjoy author camaraderie at our local meetings, conferences, and conventions.
           
When do you hate it?
LARRY: Hey! No one likes criticism, so I take it for what it’s worth. I suppose the drudgery of the umpteenth proofreading is the least likeable task of being an author.

ROSEMARY: It’s not hate, it’s frustration when I know I haven’t nailed my concept of a character.

What is a regular writing day like for you? 
LARRY: I mostly write five to six hours a day, six days a week, but the thoughts are always churning even when I’m away from my computer. We work in the same room, so it’s easy to collaborate and interrupt. Rosemary likes to call it dueling computers.

ROSEMARY: My writing day is more like broken field running. I’m good with distractions: calling a friend, answering a personal Facebook post, doing laundry, but also the never-ending (but necessary) task of whipping up items to promote our books. And bothering Larry to get me out of a computer jam or fix the vacuum cleaner. He’s a jack of all trades, master of many! 

Do you think authors have big egos?
LARRY: Only those with big agents and big contracts and possibly those who think their
big writing can’t be improved.

ROSEMARY: I like what Harlan Coben once said: “If an author tells me he doesn’t rewrite I don’t want to party with him.”

How do you handle negative reviews?
LARRY: After I finish sucking it in, I try to find something positive about it, something constructive, something workable.

ROSEMARY: Mentally I send them a big raspberry. Then I lick my wounds and decide if anything they’ve said has merit. Reviews are subjective and a matter of taste. Sometimes even  authors I truly respect disappoint me, especially if they kill off an innocent character gratuitously near the end of a book.

How do you handle positive reviews.
LARRY: We clip, cut, paste, and prune and find a way to promote our good fortune. One may find its way to our website, a banner, a blog, or a sign.
           
What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author.
LARRY: It varies from a gasp of great respect to “Oh, what do you write?” In either case, they get a bookmark whether they want one or not. Nobody escapes.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?
LARRY: There’s always family, films, sports, especially professional football. I look forward to my writing each day, unless I have a serious plotting problem. You can’t run away from it. Some part of it is always in your head.

ROSEMARY: Larry has a much longer attention span than I have, and I love the very physical side of my life. I’ve been going to Jazzercise for forty years; it satisfies my suppressed desire to be a Rockette! We live in the heart of Honolulu, so I do almost all our errands walking: to the market around the corner; Ala Moana Center (the largest mall in the islands); the bank, Sam’s Club for our prescriptions and meat—Larry’s a carnivore.  

Any writing quirks?
LARRY: Yeah, making the same mistakes.

ROSEMARY: Exasperation when I’m not coming up with a fresh phrase or description. 

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously, or see it as a hobby?
LARRY: I’d get some new people and get rid of the old ones.

ROSEMARY: Way to go, honeybunch!

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?
LARRY: Only to the ones who love writing. If you hate, you don’t write, simple!

ROSEMARY: No.

What’s on the horizon for you?
LARRY: Mostly short stories, I’ve roughed out seven or eight of them already. Of course, Rosemary still needs to add her magic to them. A few more and we’ll have enough to start another collection.

ROSEMARY: I’m beginning a collection of my personal essays, which will start this way: “If I had known when I was in the womb that I’d be born in the Chinese Year of the Pig, I’d have postponed my birth.” 

Leave us with some words of wisdom about the writing process or about being a writer.
LARRY AND ROSEMARY:
                  a. Be a reader in your chosen genre first and learn how it’s done.
                  b. Good or bad—put all your pertinent thoughts to paper. Edit later.
                  c. Have a reasonable grasp of where your plot is going before you start.                                                d. Choose a comfortable point of view (POV) and writing attitude.       
                  e. Create your characters complete inside and out, neither all good nor                                                      all bad. Keep a good record of their traits.
                  f. Put extra effort into crafting your first page.
                        g. Make your climax and ending worthy and relevant, even twisty.
           

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