JAN BROGAN: Slugfest, the fourth in the Dirty Business mystery series, takes your protagonist . Paula Halliday, out of Connecticut and back to her roots in New York City. I know you live in both places, but what made you decide to move Paula for this story? And what special opportunities to New York City backdrop offer you?
ROSEMARY HARRIS: This is the second time I've taken Paula on the road, the first time was in The Big Dirt Nap. The fictional town of Springfield, Connecticut gives me the opportunity to develop my main cast of characters - Babe Chinnery, Mike O'Malley, Carolyn Sturgis and others - and I've enjoyed watching them grow from acquaintances to friends, but taking Paula to a different venue allows me to have her rub shoulders with some types that aren't going to be found in a nice suburban town!
JAN: I love the title Slugfest. Tell me it's meaning in this book and how you came up with it.
ROSEMARY: Back in the day the working title for this book was Pest Management - which sounded a little clinical! Then, there was another title which I loved and everyone else hated - Bam-bi-no! (which was a play on baseball and Bambi, no! as in a deer repellant.) I thought it was terribly clever but there were fears that readers wouldn't get the joke. Slugfest, of course refers to a fight or confrontation and in the book, it's also the name of a supposedly foolproof pest repellant. There's a lot of money to be made (if such a thing existed ..that's the gardener in me answering) and bad guys have stolen the formula.
JAN: In Slugfest, you have a wide array of quirky characters from the high school black belt to the slick marketing guy. Tell us who is your favorite and how you came up with him/her.
ROSEMARY: Has to be Connie Anzalone. She doesn't let long nails, big hair and outlandish outfits get in the way of her garden plans. And if fact, if anyone tries to, she just might sic Fat Frank on him.
JAN: flower show is an unlikely, unpredictable setting for murder, tell us how you use this for comic and/or suspenseful effect? (contrast?)
ROSEMARY: Anyone who's ever been on the show circuit, whether it's dogs, cats or flowers, knows that jealousies, rivalries and egos can run wild. And in addition to the honors bestowed, there's a lot of money to be made from products and endorsements and that's when the garden gloves come off!
JAN: What is the most important thing Paula learns in this mystery, outside of maybe, never do your friends a favor?
ROSEMARY: Everyone should own a red dress!
JAN: Ro is on hand to answer any and all of your questions. In the meantime, Slugfest in now available in paperback and you can get it there: