Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yo Ro! You Go!

..a nifty puzzle that involves Native American casinos, mysterious Russians and a stinky, slow-blooming flower."
Publishers Weekly

Breaking news!

Breaking news? Well, we all knew about it, and probably most of you did, too. But we are all so proud of our dear Rosemary, whose new book THE BIG DIRT NAP is out this week.

We love the Lara-esque hat, so we couldn't resist.

Anyway, pub dates are always--fantastic. The nerves, the joy, the possibilities. And the--reality. That his book you loved and worked on and tweaked and basically, know by heart is about to be in the hands of the public.

So Ro and I had a little chat. Nostalgia. Hopes and fears. Past and future. And husbands, and being on the road.

HANK: Remember when we first met?

RO:I do indeed. It was at a Sisters in Crime meeting at Jan Brogan's house.

HANK: Yup! What, almost three years ago Can it be?

RO: Ah. Maybe. When the scheduled speaker failed to show up, the three of us were pressed into service on an impromptu panel. We were so good (she says modestly) and so in sync that it was as if we 'd been doing it for years.

HANK: Yes, it was quite a moment. Instant sisterhood. And such serendipity! Many thanks to the state cop who decided to stay home and watch football. Anyway--How did you come up with the name Paula Holliday? I know it isn't random...

RO: Paula is in honor of my sister who, unfortunately passed away before Pushing Up Daisies was released. I knew I wanted my character's initials to be PH - because the working title for Daisies was The PH Factor - and Harris was a no go. I think I stumbled upon an old Judy Holliday film one night when I was channel surfing and thought Holliday was a fun, memorable name. And Paula would have liked it.

HANK: What did you learn about yourself writing Pushing Up Daisies--and how did that change your writing of The Big Dirt Nap?

RO: I learned the writing doesn't have to be perfect the first or even the second time around. Just get the story down - you'll change it again later anyway.

HANK: Did BDN surprise you?

RO: It surprised me because I thought I had written The End at least twice before the story really ended. Unfortunately that meant I held on to the manuscript a little longer than my editor would have liked, but when she finally got it, she forgave me.

HANK: Ah, we can't resist. Tell us a little about it.

RO: In The Big Dirt Nap Paula's been invited to join her friend Lucy at a Connecticut hotel for some r&r and a bit of work - Lucy's researching a story and Paula has wangled a writing gig covering the imminent blooming of a rare corpse flower on display at the hotel. But when Lucy fails to show and a would-be suitor is found dead on the hotel's loading dock, the weekend junket turns into a wild and funny ride involving ersatz native Americans, Ukrainian mobsters, Harley Hogites and a group of college kids who know how to party. I had a lot of fun writing it.

HANK: Your promotion schedule is--beyond the scope of any mortal human. How do you do it? And--besides the Cheerios you keep with you at all times--what advice would you give us about touring?

RO: My husband says I have more energy than the average 12 yr old boy...and the diet red bull helps.

HANK: Yuck. Not a fan of Red Bull. But that's another story. But in every do a million things!

RO: I just hate to travel someplace and only do one thing! And whenever possible I like to balance the retail gigs with library events. Yes, it's ultimately about selling, but the library gigs are frequently filled with aspiring writers and it's great to have the writing conversation instead of just yammering on about me, me and the wonderfulness of me! Touring advice - take it seriously, but don't take it seriously.

HANK: So even when it's not SRO? (Though we know it usually is..)

RO: Even if just one person shows up, she took the time to come to see me. That's awesome, I LOVE her! And she deserves my best. But don't freak if you don't sell a lot of books.

HANK: Your wonderful husband has lots of publishing experience, to put it mildly. What advice did he give you--any that changed your life?

RO: He is wonderful, isn't he?

HANK: Yes, stellar. And really really smart. Does he travel with you?

RO: He just drove me through the pouring rain for an event at the New Haven Free Library. What a sweetie.

Okay...when I first got my book deal I was dismayed to learn that the book wouldn't be coming out for almost 2 years. Bruce helped me to be patient and to use that time well. He also told me that the business is all about relationships. He recently celebrated a big birthday and the room was filled with people he'd known for years and at least a dozen people he'd mentored early in their careers who still loved him.

HANK: The mystery community is such a wonderful place. Can you--believe all that's happened?

RO: I really can't. Sometimes I look at my own schedule and think "you're doing what?? where?? with whom??" If I had any sense I'd be nervous but I've met so many great people, it's really fun. The only downside is that it's cut into my reading time...I don't have the time to read everyone else's books. I leave soon for a 9 day west coast swing - Phoenix, LA, San Diego, San Francisco. In the past for a trip that long I'd have taken three books, but now it's just one. (I'm bringing Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein.) Wish me luck, and btw, please check my schedule at to see if I'm visiting a bookstore near you!)

Come say hi to Ro--and wish her well as her journey continues! She's president of New England Sisters in Crime; a Master Gardener (with special expertise in shade); a connoisseur of food, wine, movies and fashion; shockingly well-read and as hilarious as anyone has ever been. And finally, she's a loving and true friend. Yo, Ro. You GO!


  1. I was delighted when my copy of BDN finally arrived yesterday and I read on the inside jacket that Rosemary has been proclaimed "a rising mystery star." My husband and I are now fighting over who gets to read BDN first. I managed to capture it and read a few pages before he wrangled it away -- and I was hooked. Now I've got to figure out a way to steal it back. Congrats Ro (or should I say Lara?)!

  2. I can't wait to read the new one, Rosemary, and I just told my gardener friend in Santa Monica to head over to Pasadena (my birthplace, actually) next Wednesday to see you, so if you see a really tall woman with black hair named Sarah, that's her.

    Cheers and happy travels,

  3. Congratulations Ro! We're proud to have you as one of us. wishing you a great trip, may many friends turn out.

  4. Aww, you guys are great. I said it at my party - it's wonderful to have a good sendoff. Not just for the people who buy your books..but for the energy that's generated. I think I'll always have launch parties. I tried to find a gardenlike spot for this one but...not too many gardens I want to be in in February.

    Hi Edith, thanks for spreading the word! And Pat...I'm thrilled that your husband liked Daisies enough to want to read Dirt Nap - who says men don't read traditional mysteries??

  5. I hope to see you at book Passage, Rosemary. Safe travels and good luck with the new book

  6. It would be wonderful if you could make it, Rhys! Book Passage is planning a little wine and cheese party at 6:30, so come early..

  7. Ro -

    Okay - there's enough info in that blog post to reel me in! And, I'm not even a mystery fan!!!

    I'll have to get a copy of BDN!! Premise sounds interesting.

    Enjoy your tour!!

  8. Enjoy your trip, Rosemary, and I look forward to seeing you again soon on the east coast. I'm so happy I got my copy of BDN already (before they're all sold out...)