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Interview: Rosemary and Larry Mild, Co-Authors of ‘Honolulu Heat’

Rosemary and Larry Mild co-author the popular Paco & Molly Mysteries and the Dan & Rivka Sherman Mysteries—and most recently, Unto the Third Generation, A Novella of the Future. They call Honolulu home, where they cherish time with their children and grandchildren. The Milds are members of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Hawaii Fiction Writers. Find out more about their books on their website.

How did you get the idea for Honolulu Heat?

The local paper was full of hurricane news and we thought Hurricane Iniki would make a great start for this sequel to Cry Ohana. It was then a matter of drawing a plot from the next generation of Cry Ohana characters. The orphaned boy came out of a later discussion.

Are any of the characters in Honolulu Heat based on people you know?

No one character in this series is intended as anyone we know; however, all our characters are composites of  people we’ve met. We feel the plot dictates the roles we cast in our stories—whatever is needed.

Why do you think Hawaii makes such a great setting for a mystery novel?

There is a fascination and a number of dreams associated with these islands, situated in the most isolated place on earth in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Palm trees, pineapples, and hula dancers add to them. The population mix, their diverse cultures, and rich legends provide grist for mystery’s mill.

Do you have a favorite character in Honolulu Heat?  If so, who? And why is he/she your favorite?

Noah Wong is an adopted Hawaiian teen, who after a troublesome—yet loving— upbringing,  finds himself teetering  on both sides of the law. He is complex, idealistic, lovable, and devoted.

Honolulu Heat is an exciting and suspenseful tale. What is your secret to keeping readers in suspense?

We keep shuttling between counter-characters with diverse points-of-view and goals. We reinforce our suspense with sensory atmospheres, threatening and destabilizing environments that amplify anxiety and fear, play on human frailties, and employ elements that promote time and space competitions with harm to the loser.
cover Honolulu Heat
Do you know how a book is going to end before you start writing?
In general we know where the book is going, but upon further thoughts and developments, it sometimes comes as a complete and mostly welcome surprise.

What is your process?

Once we have talked out the plot seed. Larry, being the more devious of the two, writes a ten- to fifteen-page statement of work and uses it as a guide to writing the entire first draft. Then Rosemary takes it through a second draft with much discussion between drafts.

Which do you enjoy more—creating the plots or developing the characters? Why?

Devious Larry is more plot oriented and Rosemary is more detail and people oriented, so Larry casts the skeletal characters and scenes, while Rosemary puts all the fine touches on everything. She is the one who provides color and personality. Mostly, we respect each others decisions.

Do you have a title in mind before you start writing, or does the title come later?

Honolulu is situated between the Pacific Ocean and the Koolau Mountains, so we started with the working title, Between the Mountains and the Great Sea. But, as time went on, and the book grew, we felt that it wasn’t strong enough. We wanted “Honolulu” in the title and eventually added the word “heat so we came to Honolulu Heat, Between the Mountains and the Great Sea.

Do you have other books in the works?  What is next in the queue?

All kinds of great stuff! We’re working on two collections of short stories, a collection of Rosemary’s personal essays, Larry’s autobiography, and a textbook on writing the mystery novel. We just haven’t decided which is next, but each of these projects has made significant progress so far.

One of our story collections is a series called “Copper and Goldie,” set in Honolulu. Mysterical-E, the wonderful quarterly on-line mystery magazine, has already published eight, with four more coming. “Copper” is Sam Nahoe, a disabled former HPD detective who took a bullet in his spine in the line of duty. He drives a Checker Cab, now has his private investigator’s license, and works with a partner who has gorgeous russet-blond hair—a golden retriever!

About Mayra Calvani

Mayra Calvani writes fiction and nonfiction for children and adults and has authored over a dozen books, some of which have won awards. Her stories, reviews, interviews and articles have appeared on numerous publications such as The Writer, Writer’s Journal, Multicultural Review, and Bloomsbury Review, among many others. Represented by Serendipity Literary.

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