If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Julie Mulhern Interview by E. B. Davis

Henery Press released the third book in Julie Mulhern’s “Country Club Murders” mystery series. Clouds In My Coffee (I hear Carly Simon and Mick Jagger, can you?), the third in this series is set in 1974, making it historical (oh my!), when I was a college freshman/sophomore. My memories are clear. Julie gets the era right.

In 1974, I remember feeling so progressive with the trials of the 1960s behind us. Julie’s main character, forty-year-old Ellison Russell, battles for her independence and career in an era when many women still sought the profession of housewife and mother. As I think back to how I felt then, reality sets in—like realizing your existence confirms your parents actually had sex—it provokes our feelings of naiveté. Ellison’s mother and aunt provide that smack of reality, showing the constraints on women of the previous generation and the consequences. The victory of WWII can’t overshadow the hard won equal rights our generation won. Ellison is a great role model, but then she also solves murders!

The book was an unexpected find and a fun read. Please welcome Julie Mulhern to WWK, and I hope not her last appearance here!                                                                                     E. B. Davis

What was the best advice you ever received on writing? 

Any new writer has heard the words “show don’t tell”.

Lord knows I heard them.

What exactly do those words mean? In a nutshell, She reached out to touch his cheek is telling. She reached out and touched his cheek is showing. One demonstrates intent, the other action. I have developed a list of “telling” words that I avoid.

And then there are filter words – thought, felt, wondered, etc… She thought he was handsome. Don’t tell the reader what the heroine thinks. Show them. He was tall with an adorable divot in his chin.

Your series is set in 1974. What drew you to that era?

I was a kid in the 1970s and I have such fond memories. I set my books in 1974 out of a sense of nostalgia and also because it was an era when things were changing for women.

You set the series in Kansas City. Are you from that city?

I am a fifth generation Kansas Citian.

In creating your main character, Ellison Russell, did you base her on your mother, an aunt, or an actress from the time?

Ellison, like all my characters except Max, is an amalgamation of people I know.

When you write do you put yourself in the context of the times—such as where you were then, what you were doing, and what was going on around you—or do you rely on old newspapers?

I was seven in 1974 so the things I remember aren’t entirely relevant to a murder mystery. I am the proud owner of a year’s worth of Gourmet, Vogue, House and Garden, and Glamor magazines. They are my primary sources. Being able to stream The Streets of San Francisco or All in the Family is also tremendously helpful. I’ve read the bestsellers, watched the top-grossing and critically acclaimed movies of the decade, and have my radio permanently set to 70s on 7.

Ellison is not an average woman of the era, who went to college to get an MRS as well as a degree she won’t use. Ellison has artistic talent, and she is pursuing a career. What function did you want that difference to fill in your storyline?

Ellison’s career started out as an acceptable hobby. Turns out she was really good at it. She married the man her mother wanted her to marry and has lived, in large part, the life that’s expected of her. Part of the fun of the Country Club Murders is seeing Ellison push against the expectations that hold her back.

People today seem to forget about the bohemia of the 1920s and 30s, thinking only of the 1960s, but Aunt Sis’s experience reminds us. Have we become a more forgiving society due to the 1960s?

Absolutely! Things that were edgy in the sixties went mainstream in the seventies. It was a decade caught between the sexual revolution and AIDS. It was a decade when women fought for equal rights. It was a decade that celebrated youth. In 1974, three of the top shows on television took on older men being challenged by younger, liberal men – All in the Family, Chico and the Man, and Sanford and Son.

I understand the Country-Club Mentality due to my grandparents. Is it elitism, a social network, or a community for a certain economic class?

I tend to think of it as a community.

I’ve known and avoided women like Ellison’s mother. Why does Ellison always refer to her as “Mother” rather than “Mom?”

Frances as Mom? Doesn’t work for me. There is nothing remotely informal about Frances. That said, Ellison, a woman pushing 40, still calls her father, Daddy.

Are sisters always “peas in a pod” and at the same time total opposites? When they finally grow up do they stop competing?

I will let you know if I ever figure that out.

Ellison has two eligible men vying for her attention. Give our readers the CVs of both men, if you would?

Anarchy Jones is a homicide detective whose father is a professor at Berkley. His mother is a fiber artist. The only way he could rebel was to be conservative (think Alex Keaton on Family Ties). He has a healthy respect for the rules—they should never be bent.
Hunter Tafft is a silver-haired, silver-tongued lawyer. He’s thrice divorced and considered a catch.
Unlike Anarchy, Hunter is willing to bend rules if the situation calls for it. With Ellison, it often does.

Dastardly dog? How did your dog earn that adjective? A model for Max? A picture, please!

Max IS Sam. Sam is dastardly. Sam’s vet bills have paid for whole semesters of college for our vet’s daughters. He ate what?
What’s next for Ellison?

Ellison will be back in October with Send in the Clowns. More murder, more mayhem, and more coffee!

Are you a beach or mountain woman, Julie?

That’s tough. Mountains in the summer. Beach in the winter. Says something right there, doesn’t it?



Julie said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

Jim Jackson said...

Welcome to WWK, Julie. I agree with your mountains in the summer and beach at winter. I want to be both places in spring and fall.

~ Jim

Margaret Turkevich said...

Looking forward to reading your books. I visited the DC Newsmuseum's Vietnam exhibit. Clips of television broadcasts and the music brought the era to life.

Shari Randall said...

Julie, your books are set during such a time of fascinating social change - and regrettable fashion. I was a child in the 70s, so though I lived through that time, I did not see it with adult eyes, (though I wore the bell bottoms)!
I especially like your titles. You must have fun coming up with them. Do you like 70s music or are you suffering for your art?
Best wishes with your wonderful series!

Warren Bull said...

Great cover art. I like your description of how to get into the mode to write historical mysteries.

vicki batman said...

Waving madly at Julie, my fellow Sisterhood of Suspense gal. And I'm with Warren, your covers are great! I'm a mountains in summer person!

Kait said...

I love this series and having survived the 1970s (graduated college in 1974) I can say with authority that they are true to life. Rock on, Julie.

Gloria Alden said...

Julie, I was a mother of four children in the 70s. It wasn't until the early 80s that I went to college and became a teacher. So I remember a lot about the 70s and look forward to reading your books.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks so much, Julie, for being my guest on WWK. I loved your series and will continue to read your next releases. When I find a series I love, I'm thrilled. Thanks for the interview, and please come back!

Julie said...

E.B. - thanks again for hosting me! I'd love to come back to Writers Who Kill!

Billie Jackson said...

I love the mysteries, adore the people, and enjoy revisiting the time through someone else's eyes.