Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Interview with Rosemary & 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 short 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 as a writer 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 and 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 on the Honolulu Jewish Film Festival committee, where Larry is the statistician and recordkeeper for their film ratings.   

Interview with: Rosemary and Larry Mild, coauthors of Copper and Goldie, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i

Tell us about your book! What is it about and what inspired you to write it?
LARRY: Homicide detective Sam Nahoe takes a bullet in his spine in the line of duty. Disabled, his career with the Honolulu Police Department shattered—what now? Jobless, lonely, and unwillingly divorced, Sam becomes a Checker Cab driver. Seeking a partner, he adopts Goldie, a rescue golden retriever—with a dollop of Doberman, and trains her to perform neat tricks like growling at a fare who doesn’t tip. He and Goldie cruise Oahu for fares, encountering thieves, kidnappers, vengeful wives, and even killers, compelling Sam to get his private investigator license. His Sunday visitations with his daughter, Peggy, can turn a magical park day into a hair-raising crime scene, but his shrewd little kid becomes a miniature sleuth in her own right. Sam’s Hawaiian heritage provides him with spunk and street smarts. With the bullet still in his spine, he hobbles around on two canes he’s dubbed Cane and Able as he orders Goldie to chase down the bad guys. His favorite snitch, card-sharp Sophie, asks him: “You still walkin’ with them giant chopsticks?” The book includes thirteen individual detective mysteries with pictures.

There really wasn’t any inspiration involved. Writing is a work of love. Copper and Goldie was the next book we were looking for. An ex-cop, a disabled native Hawaiian, and the darker streets of Honolulu produced the mix that mattered.

Tell us about your publishing process. What was it like? Did you go indie or the traditional way?
LARRY: We are Indie publishers. Rosemary and I prefer to write our first drafts using the Microsoft Works (.wps) word processor, because we don’t have to change screens quite so often as in MS Word or deal with its many quirks. When a story or book is text-ready in MS Works, I format it with Adobe’s InDesign software, which governs strict margins, headers, footers, pagination, images, and justification in accordance with a specific book’s trim size. I design the interior text. I transfer the .wps output into this software. The pdf interior text output is what we send to the printer. Using the page count, we obtain a cover template with the correct spine size from the printer, and purchase the bar code image from Bowker Identifier Services. We send the cover template, the bar code image, our preliminary cover design, and back-cover blurb off to our cover designer. After several proof exchanges, we wind up with a pdf of our new cover. We then upload this and the interior text pdf to our printer, Lightning Source, Inc., a division of Ingram, the largest distributor of English language books in the world. After at least one exchange of proofs, we order copies to sell locally. Others are sold through Ingram, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. I also use InDesign’s html output to format two types of e-books, Kindle and Nook, through Amazon Kindle Create and Nook Press.

How did you choose the title for your book? Did it come to you right away, before you started writing it or did it come later?
LARRY: We hadn’t even written the first story yet, but we had identified the ex-cop and his female golden retriever partner. Her color wasn’t brown or tan, it was gold; and so the name Goldie emerged. Goldie and the Ex-cop didn’t have a ring to it, but Copper and Goldie did, so it became our title. Our subtitle, 13 Tails of Mystery and Suspense in Hawai‘i, wasn’t added until we put the short story collection together. We used a friend’s dog named Tavi for a few of the book’s photos, Goldie’s stand-in, so to speak. In the book we quote Tavi as saying, or is it woofing, “….By the way, these authors do know that a tail is something that follows me around wherever I go, and a tale is a story told about a dog like me. Rosemary grew up with a golden named September Blaze. She devotes a chapter to him in her memoir Love! Laugh! Panic! Life With My Mother. Rosemary and Larry also immortalize a golden in Locks and Cream Cheese, their first mystery novel, where Shana helps catch a vicious thug….”

Tell us about your cover design process. Did you have a basic idea of what your book cover would be like?
LARRY: We knew the cover to Copper and Goldie had to have four elements: A classic Checker Cab, a golden retriever, a mention of police, and a palm tree as a symbol of Hawaii. We located stock pictures of the cab and I came up with the idea of using a picture of seated Tavi for the “I” in Goldie. To denote that Copper meant a policeman, the word was colored deep blue as the word Goldie was colored gold. We had all the elements for our cover. By the time we ship our cover suggestions off to the cover designer we know exactly what we want. Prior to becoming an Indie publisher, we had no say in what was on the cover. Our cover designer selects the font and font size, the background and the basic colors, and adjusts the layout within the confines of the printer’s template.

Who is your cover designer and how did you find her?
LARRY: Marilyn Drea, Professional Graphic Design Services, in Annapolis, Maryland, has designed our covers ever since we bought back our rights from our original publishers. She was referred to us by a friend in the Maryland Writers’ Association.

How was your experience working with the designer?
LARRY: Marilyn is knowledgeable, talented, and a pleasure to deal with. She’s a pure graphics designer, not an artist. None of our covers ever required specific artwork, so she was the perfect match for us.

What has been the readers’ response to your cover?
LARRY: The first batch of books arrived only two days ago. The first few friends to see it loved the cover and bought copies, so we have high hopes for Copper and Goldie. When all fifteen of our books are on display for signings and sales, we find even passersby are stopped in their tracks with titles like Locks and Cream Cheese, Hot Grudge Sunday, Boston Scream Pie, and more.

What tips would you give to authors who are looking for a cover designer?
LARRY: “Don’t judge a book by its cover” doesn’t apply here. Do check out the designer’s workmanship and experience. First, look at past covers. Decide whether you need an artist or a graphic designer. Discuss the technical aspects to determine whether the designer is easy to work with and compatible with what you are looking for. Check out pricing on former work before you commit to anything. Speak with a former customer if possible. Good luck!

Anything else you’d like to say about your book?
LARRY: We published ten of the thirteen short stories in an online e-zine. A recent email from the editor said, “Your stories are fun and a great addition to Mysterical-E—keep sending!” A reader of “Carnival Caper” wrote: “I loved the detail. ‘Spam musubi,’ ‘intentional shortage of gunpowder.’ I was rooting for Sam all along. Glad he got his man.” Author Lizbeth Hartz commented about “A Dead Man Isn’t Fare”: “Really enjoyed the story, Rosemary and Larry. Couldn’t stop reading from the first word to the last. Clever and engaging, Well done.”

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