Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Wild Irish Rose Release Day!!! with Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

JENN: I am just thrilled to celebrate the release of Wild Irish Rose by interviewing our Rhys and her daughter and co-author Clare Broyles. Not for nothing, but it feels as if we've been waiting for more Molly for FOREVER :)

Dear Jenn: thank you for interviewing us. We’re so excited for launch day today. Clare, especially. It’s a big day for her—her first mystery novel, her introduction to the mystery community. I know everyone is going to be so delighted with her talent. I have to share that the story-line for this book came from her! 

JENN: As the mother of two sons, I can't imagine writing a book with them without blood being spilled and I'm not talking about in the book! How was the experience of writing together for you two? Easier than you expected? Or did you quarrel? If you did disagree, who won?


RHYS: Amazingly I don’t think we disagreed over anything. We gave each other comments and suggestions and these always made the story stronger. But Clare and I have had a very harmonious relationship from the beginning. She is sweet-natured and easy-going. When she graduated from high school we went around Europe together for a month and never had one cross word during that time, which is quite amazing. 

CLARE: Having read and taken notes on all seventeen of the previous Molly Murphy novels I had great faith in Rhys’ vision for the series. Her characters are so fun to write! My goal was to write this novel to seamlessly fit in with the other Molly Murphy’s. So I was much more likely to ask for advice than to argue. It has been such a gift to be able to work together because we have such fun. We would much prefer to make each other laugh than to disagree about anything. 


JENN: For Clare: Did you always want to be a writer like your Mum? Was it intimidating to step into the world of Molly Murphy that Rhys created or was it easier because you know her voice so well? 

CLARE: Writing has always been a part of my life. At the beginning it was mostly poetry and parodies. In college I handed my organic chemistry professor a poem that began, “The naming of molecules is a difficult matter/ it isn’t just one of your holiday games/ now you may think that I’m mad as a hatter/ when I say each organic compound has three names.” It went on to describe the different molecular names in verse, ending with, “The last is the name that the chemists keep secret, and this is the name that you never will guess/ for it’s not to be found in a book or a lecture/ and this is the name that appears on the test!” My professor remarked that I was more skilled at poetry than organic chemistry and suggested a change in major. Although I enjoyed writing, it was a daunting prospect to tackle a novel. My mother’s career made it clear that being a working author is a possibility, but also that it is hard work. It is a very rare day that she doesn’t write five pages. 
It was intimidating at first to step into Molly’s world. Every time Molly walked down a street I would have to stop and think, “What does this street look like? What is she wearing? What kind of traffic is going by?” There is an immense amount of detail in the Molly Murphy books and it is important to get it all correct. I do think that I had a huge advantage in having been one of my Rhy’s first readers since I was in high school. I know her voice and I know the parts of Molly that come from her personality. Molly has my mom’s sense of humor and her refusal to let anyone put her down. 

JENN: For Rhys: How hard was it to put the world you've created into your daughter's hands? Did you have any control freak moments? What do you think Clare brings to the series that is uniquely hers? 

RHYS: I have to confess I was hesitant when she first came to me with the idea that she wanted us to continue the series together. I knew she had the capability to be a good writer, but I was already doing two books a year and I wondered if I’d end up having to write and re-write a lot of the book. As it happened she got Molly’s voice instantly, came up with brilliant plot suggestions and hit the ground running. 

JENN: What did you discover about yourselves during the collaboration? Did you enjoy the experience?  

RHYS: I think I had to learn to let go of my character, my series and trust Clare to lead us into new directions. I think she’ll bring a freshness to the series. And we have had so much fun! We always laugh a lot together and this has been a joy. 

 CLARE: I learned I can be a working author. I didn’t have the luxury of writing only when I felt the inspiration. Since I teach full time during the school year I needed to write very steadily during the summer. Sometimes I had no idea what was coming next. Rhys taught me to begin with editing the work of the day before and let that lead into the new scene. I found taking a long shower or walk to be helpful when I’m stuck! 

JENN: Was it easier to collaborate on a world that is already established than starting a collaboration with a brand new series? 

CLARE: It was so much fun it is to write in a world that already has established characters. The world of the series already has its rules. When the writing is flowing, I have the same enjoyment that I do in reading a good book; a feeling of spending time with characters that I care about. And , as my husband and children can attest, the same tendency to completely lose track of time. It might be difficult if I didn’t like the characters. For example, if I had to write in the head of someone truly evil. Molly has a strong moral sense and a self-deprecating sense of humor, so it is fun to put myself in her head as I write. 

RHYS: We wrote a children’s book together several years ago that needed serious world-building skills. Lots of discussions. But Clare read all 17 books and came in with a good idea of Molly’s world so it was easy for us both to explore new plot options. Also, being Clare, she started reading the NYT for every day we were writing about to make sure it was all true to life. 



JENN: For Clare: Was this the first mystery you've written? Do you see yourself branching out to write a series on your own? Would it be historical or do you have other genre aspirations? 

CLARE: Yes, this is the first mystery I have written. I would like to write my own series and it will definitely be historical. I love researching the past. I think Rhys’ books have a fantastic blend of fictional characters with real people from history. I would hope to do something similar while perhaps drawing from my own background as a musician. 

JENN: For Rhys: Do you see yourself collaborating on other books and series or is one enough, for now? 

RHYS: Jenn, I’m doing two and a half books a year at the moment. You are the only person crazy enough to do as much as this! 


JENN: LOL. We are birds of a feather :)

RHYS: My hope and desire is that Clare can gradually take over this series and I can step back to just offering thoughts and guidance when asked for. I want Clare to branch out with her own writing career. 

JENN: What's next for Molly Murphy and your partnership?  

RHYS: We’ve already finished the next book, tentatively called ALL THAT IS HIDDEN. It deals with New York crooked politics, docklands and Bridie’s new school. Thank you so much. 

JENN: It was an absolute delight!

GIVEAWAY!!! We’ll be happy to send a signed copy to our favorite comment of the day!
 

All right, Reds and Readers, your turn! What questions do you have for Rhys and Clare? How excited are we all to have another Molly Murphy? Yay!!!

73 comments:

  1. Happy Book Birthday! And congratulations . . . this wonderful new Molly Murphy book is indeed a cause for celebration . . . .

    I’m curious to know what you found most difficult about partnering to write Molly’s story . . . Clare, is there anything you'd like to change about Molly? Rhys, sharing the writing with your daughter must a special joy for you . . . .

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    1. There was one thing I wanted to change - how Daniel never treated her like a partner. And you will have to see if you think we did change that :)

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  2. I'm so excited to pick up my own pre-ordered copy! So many congratulations to you both.

    Clare, what historical period do you think you'll choose to write in? (Also, the organic chemistry poem is pricesless.)

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    1. Thank you! In between Molly and Georgie. I love the 1920’s!

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    2. CLARE,

      Love the 1920s too. That was before the talkies. Deaf people had equal access to movies as everyone else did because the movies had no sound. And there were deaf actors like the Uncle of Cesar Romero (Batman's the Joker) in silent movies. Charlie Chaplin had a deaf artist / actor in his movies.

      Diana

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  3. Congratulations on the return / rebirth of the Molly Murphy series Rhys and Clare!

    From the moment this was announced, I've been eagerly awaiting publication day because I am such a fan of Molly and her sleuthing adventures. And having met Rhys at a signing in Boston a few years back, getting my copy of Book 1 signed was so great.

    Hard to believe I found such an entertaining series based on just glimpsing a mention of it in a St. Patrick's Day article in the local paper so many years ago.

    I guess my question would be are you planning for this revival of the series to be open-ended or are there plans for just a certain number of books and that's it?

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    1. I would love them to continue. So many exciting things happened in New York during that time period and there are so many aspects of the community still to explore. Molly won’t run out of things to investigate!

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    2. We’ve been discussing ideas for future books and there doesn’t seem to be a shortage. So for now Molly will keep going … unless she takes the Titanic in 1911!!!

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  4. It's a good thing I'd already swallowed my sip of coffee when I read your professor's dry comment, Clare! Clearly, you have inherited your mum's gift for storytelling!

    What a lovely, lovely experience, and joy, to collaborate this way. And we readers get to benefit from it. Thank you, and please accept wild congratulations on your mystery writing partnership debut. With a second one on the way, even better.

    My question is for Clare: how did you come up with the idea for this book? Was there a particular inspiration, and was it from Rhys's previous work, or an outside source?

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    1. Also, Rhys, how wonderful that you have a chance to spend that quality time with Clare. The photos of you two mugging for the camera say it all.

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    2. Karen, the poem, and even more your comment, reminded me that when I was young I worked for a year at a mortgage company where one of my tasks was to write a monthly letter to mortgage holders who were not keeping their property insurance current. Some had made their choice long ago and got a letter every single month. I had a colleague who started writing them a poem instead of a letter each month. I have often thought about that and a) the reaction of auditors who later found the copies of those in the files and b) whether those customers even opened the letters to see the clever poetry and if so, what they thought.

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    3. I thought that Molly was in such a different place in her life than when the series began. Rhys and I wanted the feeling of a new beginning since a good number of years have passed in the real world, though not in Molly’s world , since the last book. I thought those scenes in the first book of Molly going through immigration on Ellis island were brilliant and I wondered if we could take Molly back there.

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    4. Thank you, Clare. Can't wait to read this one.

      Susan, how wonderful. Those were the days, eh, when one could use one's personality and not just use form letters.

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    5. Susan, did the poems make more people pay up?

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    6. Oh Rhys, heavens no! In fact, I suspect by that time the recipients were just throwing away the monthly missive from their mortgage company unopened. But it made my colleague's life a bit more bearable for her, so that counts for something!

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  5. Congratulations! What a wonderful experience for both of you. Clare, I loved that organic chemistry poem, too.

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  6. RHYS and CLARE: Congratulations on writing your first novel together! I was very close to my late mom too. And we had a similar travel experience when I took we went to Europe for 6 weeks. It was her first time there and we enjoyed the whole Eurail, B&B/pension/hotel experience of visiting many countries and places on her bucket list.

    QUESTION for CLARE: Was there any character whose voice you found hard to write?

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    1. No, since we always have the filter of Molly’s thoughts every character is how she views them.

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    2. Grace, what a treat you got to do that with your mom.

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    3. EDITH: It definitely was a memorable trip! We started in Frankfurt, Germany and had no set itinerary. We just travelled in whatever direction my mom wanted to go, and I made it happen, booking train tickets and accommodation as we arrived.

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  7. What a lovely interview and thank you for sharing so much about the process of writing together. Mega congratulations on the publication of your co-authored book!

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  8. What a delightful post. Congratulations on the release of your collaboration! I have not read the Molly series, but may rectify that soon, so I can enjoy this book and those to come.

    I think the posed picture of you two strangling each other is the only photo I have ever seen of Rhys looking less than perfect and in control. That gave me quite a chuckle in itself.

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  9. Congratulations on Wild Irish Rose ! I love the title : who found it ?
    The cover is fabulous. I can’t wait to discover the result of your partnership in this book. Going to download it now.

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  10. I love that the inspiration for this book came from you, Clare, and Rhys took the chance offered. Congratulations to you both! I remember the snippets Rhys has shared with us here on JRW and can't wait to read the new book! You write it, Clare, and we'll follow you to the 1920s!

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  11. Congratulations on Wild Irish Rose! What a artistic cover. Spending precious time together is so meaningful and memorable and this collaboration is wonderful.

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  12. Reading about how much fun you two have together makes me miss my mother! We also travelled together for a month when I was 21 (all over Sweden plus Moscow and Leningrad in the then-USSR), and we had a great time. Could we have written a book together? Hmmm. I don't know. Anyway, I look forward to reading Wild Irish Rose. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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    1. Traveling together was a wonderful experience, wasn’t it?

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    2. We had such a good time together!

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  13. I enjoyed this beautiful interview and learning about the background and writing of this captivating novel. I was wondering what era is your favorite to explore and write about.

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    1. I am so captivated by history. I love reading about ancient Rome and Greece. I love the Middle Ages, Victorian, Edwardian, the 1900s. All of it! What is amazing is how people are the same in every century. We have letters from ancient Rome where people describe the library book they have checked out and the take out food they ate. So all eras - and future fiction- are interesting to me!

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    2. Have you read the Chronicles of St. Mary's series by Jodi Taylor, Clare? They are such fun and fabulous for history nerds!

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    3. I’ll add that to my reading list! Can’t wait! I also want to read at least one novel by every author I will be on a panel with so I have some reading to do:)

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  14. It was my mother who introduced me to Molly but she insisted I had to start at the beginning of the series, which I did and have adopted this as my own rule to follow. She was a big fan of all of Rhy's books and so I learned to love them, too. Can't wait to be reading this one - I'm sure my mother will be reading over my shoulder and urging me to turn the pages more quickly!

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    1. I love finding a book I like and realizing that there is a whole series. I am a very fast reader and often finish books too quickly. I love knowing there will be more. Wide words from your mom!

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  15. Congratulations Clare and Rhys! Clare, in a small way your experience reminds me of my own first efforts in writing. I didn't do it with my mother, sadly, but I started by writing fanfiction, stories set in worlds that had already been built with characters that had already been established. It gave me the confidence to develop my own writerly skills and the ability to come up with lots of different story ideas.

    I wish more people had the experience of writing with some guardrails in place; it's a terrific way to master all sorts of elements of fiction.

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    1. This was a bit like writing fan fiction for me! I was such a fan of Molly and then I got to play around in her world!

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  16. Not all mothers and daughters are on the same wave length. I am lucky!

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  17. Congratulations on the next phase of Molly's adventures, can't wait to wonder into my local to pick it up.

    Did you start writing before the pandemic? If so, how difficult was it to write in the remote settings that the pandemic caused?

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    1. We had a writers retreat the last week that anyone went anywhere or did anything in 2020. I remember super cleaning the hotel room “ in an abundance of caution”. The next week we locked down. Luckily our imaginations did not!

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  18. Congratulations Clare and Rhys on the book birthday of Wild Irish Rose. The cover is gorgeous! I am so excited for both of you and for all the fans of this fabulous series, including me. When Rhys told us about your collaboration, I cheered. Already a huge fan of Molly, it was terrific to hear that more stories were on the way!

    I have read all of your responses above and now I am very interested to see if you have enlightened Daniel or is Molly still going to have to work around him, except when he needs her to pull his cookies out of the fire, so to speak?

    It is obvious that you each have a great sense of humor. The Georgie books are always full of wry observations and hilarious antics and your interview with Jenn (and Clare's poetry) demonstrate that you thrive on mutual humor. Will the Molly Murphy books now have more humor than in the past?

    Clare, keep us in the loop about the historical series you are planning for the 1920's. That is such a juicy time to explore!

    Rhys, you must be among the best mothers ever to be rewarded with this amazing relationship with Clare. I love the clowning photos and stories about your process for creating this series together. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thank you! I’m very lucky to have such an amazing mother!

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  19. Congratulations on the new book! I love this series and sure hope I win it. I also love that picture of you strangling each other.

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  20. RHYS and CLARE,

    Happy book birthday! I was fortunate to get an ARC from your publisher and NetGalley. I loved it so much that I preordered.

    Question: Despite assimilation into America, did Molly and Bridie continue any traditions from their homeland?


    JENN, great questions!


    Diana

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    1. The food they eat. Lots of cups of tea and biscuits!

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    2. Clare, that sounds wonderful! I also loved that poem that you gave to your chemistry professor.

      Diana

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  21. Congratulations, you two! I read an ARC of Wild Irish Rose and really enjoyed it. You did a wonderful job working together. I can't wait to see what Molly does next. Hopefully she will take some of the starch out of Daniel!

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  22. Congratulations, Clare and Rhys!! I've been so excited for this book ever since I read the ARC. Your collaboration is seamless and has brought a freshness to the series. Love all the photos of the two of you together, and can't wait to chat with you both tonight at Murder by the Book! (Virtually, but maybe next time we'll get to do it in person!) https://www.murderbooks.com/Bowen-Broyles
    You can watch on YouTube or Facebook!

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  23. My father was known for writing doggerel.
    When my sister was in high school she had to memorize a poem for English class. She chose a family favorite, The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carrol. Since it wasn't Byron or such, they decided she needed an introduction. Dad wrote the following as that intro (sadly, this is all we remember of the poem):
    I wooed the muse, I did peruse the fat encyclopedia.
    I burned incense and thought nonsense, but could not find the media.
    He delighted in puns, too.
    So, I greatly appreciate the organic chem poem bits and give points to the prof for his (?)response.

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    1. I love the poem! We need more silly poetry in our lives.

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  24. Clare, I meant to tell you that I've been a longtime fan of the Molly series and Wild Irish Rose fit seamlessly into the series. Bravo! Such a delightful read!

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  25. I am THRILLED that Molly is back, as is my aunt. I mentioned it to her the other night, and you should have seen her face light up.

    And you captured Molly's voice and world perfectly. I hadn't read a Molly book since the last one came out, but I was instantly back in her world when I picked this one up.

    Looking forward to more!

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    1. Thank you, Mark! I’m also glad Molly is back and has a chance to continue her exploitd

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  26. Love this, and I can't wait to read the book. I am in awe of this mother/daughter relationship.

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  27. This sounds like a wonderful collaboration. I love the Molly Murphy series! And what a pleasure to write with your own daughter... Divine!

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  28. Congratulations!. Pre-ordered it a while ago and was pleased to see it in my Kindle library this morning. Looking forward to this.

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  29. I know it's very late to be commenting, but I honestly thought I already had. So, congratulations to you both, Rhys and Clare for your first writing creation together. I love the Molly Murphy series, and I'm so glad that there is now another one. Jenn, thanks for making for a great interview with your questions, and thanks to Rhys and Clare for your great answers. I love seeing the pictures of Rhys and Clare having so much fun together. I hope you do lots more writing together.

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  30. I thoroughly enjoyed reading (and reviewing) WILD IRISH ROSE, and I was impressed with the very productive, beautiful collaboration. I can't imagine sharing writing with another, and it says volumes about your relationship that you did it so seamlessly. More, please.

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  31. I love the new book! I love the new dynamic between Molly and Bridie. The relationship must have been so much fun to write. My favorite book is where Molly goes to San Francisco. Do you think you will be taking her out of the city again? Also, Molly wants more children how hard does this make writing the stories when you have to think about fitting their needs in?

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