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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Wednesday, April 6, 2016

An Interview With Maddi Davidson

by Grace Topping

This is the second in a series of interviews with writers who write as a team.

Maddi Davidson is the pen name for two sisters, Diane and Mary Ann Davidson. Living on opposite coasts, they have written three books in their Miss-Information Technology Mystery series and some short stories, and in their words, imposed complex technology on unsuspecting customers.

After reading the opening paragraph from Outsourcing Murder, the first book in the Miss-Information Technology Mystery series, I knew I was in for a hilarious read:

There are a lot of things you shouldn’t face in the morning until well-caffeinated: the bathroom scale; any small-bladdered French-named dog that fits into a handbag; trying on bathing suits; or explaining to friends and family that you are a murder suspect.

I had to find out how Diane and Mary Ann managed to work together three thousand miles apart, keep a sense of humor, and still speak at family reunions.

It is my pleasure to welcome Diane and Mary Ann Davidson to Writers Who Kill.

Grace Topping

Tell us about Emma Jones and the Miss-Information Technology Mystery series.

Diane Davidson
Emma is a 20-something IT consultant whose impulsiveness is both a virtue and a curse. Bad luck may be responsible for her tripping over dead bodies at every turn, but her actions subsequent to those discoveries lead to humorous, albeit dangerous, situations.

What was it about working in information technology that drove you both to write about murder? Have your co-workers accused you of writing about them?

The frustrations of dealing with technology regularly drive us all to near-homicidal rage, so it’s just a hop, skip and a jump to writing about the IT industry as a potentially murderous minefield. Some of the wackiness we’ve experienced (yes, we poach work experiences for our stories) are better than what we can make up (like the co-worker who wouldn’t take an online training class he claimed contained a Satanic symbol).

No co-worker has accused us of writing about them (and we haven’t), but we did sail close to the wind with a character inspired by a detested ex-boyfriend, albeit 80 pounds heavier and with 80% less hair. We enjoyed the effect, literarily speaking, of course.

What motivated you to write as a team?
Mary Ann Davidson

Sharing experiences about the lunacy we’ve experienced and seen in the technology industry. As long as technology remains imperfect, we have literary fodder. (Keep on putting software in household appliances: before long, some hacker in Bulgaria will hold your wet laundry hostage.)

We look at the world in the same way: through a demented sense of humor. We also feel we are much stronger as a writing team than as individual authors.

Besides living on separate coasts, what’s the biggest challenge you face working on the same project (novels and short stories)?

Time commitments. Diane is retired from the corporate world while Mary Ann still holds a demanding position with a technology company, which limits the time (and energy) she has for working on stories. Mary Ann tries to write in a timely manner and Diane tries not to push too hard for progress (even when Mary Ann moves slower than the average glacier).

Please tell us about your process? How do you divide up the work?

We toss around an idea until we think we have the makings of a good story. For a novel, we’ll each write sections for the first draft, with Diane managing the overall structure of the manuscript. On a short story, Diane will write the SFD (Sh#**y First Draft), consulting with Mary Ann on plot hang-ups or ideas that aren’t working.

For both novels and short stories, we throw a Word doc over the wall when one is sick of working on it and needs input from the other. Occasionally, there will be a specific request (can you write chapter X, tart up character Y?). Recently, we’ve been focused on short stories and have several underway at a time that we swap back and forth.

Do you bring different skills to the team?

Diane is the structural engineer – planning the work, ensuring it is sound and the rooms flow - and Mary Ann is the decorator – adding a pop of color (or a colorful phrase) and tarting up the interior. Having different skills makes two halves of a whole team.

Which one of you contributes the humor, which is hilarious?

We both do. Having grown up together – and had some of the same work experiences between the Navy and the IT industry – we have the same offbeat humor. In some cases, one of us is thinking about adding a particularly snarky comment to the dialogue only to find the other one has already done so.

Do you ever disagree? If so, who has the final say?

We try to be brutally honest with our own writing. No matter how clever we think a bit of writing is, if it does not advance the plot (or is bogging the pace down), it gets nuked. If we can use it elsewhere, great; otherwise it goes to “bit heaven.” In cases where we may not agree on a plot twist or a section of writing, whoever wants it the most (or has the best blackmail material on the other) wins. Our disagreements tend to be minor and are resolved easily (by the one who makes the last edits to the story). J

What advice would you give writers who plan to work together?

“Have your wills in order.”

Do either of you write separately under your own name?

Nope: we are two parts of a whole. We write better together than either one of us does separately. <Diane: Except I write the best parts.> <Mary Ann: As if! >

You have some wonderful characters in your books. My favorite is Magda Basilone, Emma’s landlady. An Army brat, who married a Marine killed in action, and later married to an Air Force officer, she is a firm supporter of the military. What inspired Magda?

I think she’s our favorite character, too. We have known a number of Magda-like women, oft married to big muckety-mucks in the military, but who were formidable in their own way. No shrinking violets, these women took on the roles of mom, dad, chief cook and bottle washer, plumber, mechanic, gardener, financial planner and more when their husbands were deployed for ten months or more. It’s been a privilege to know them.

Both of you served in the Navy. Was it a family tradition? Did serving with people from all walks of life and those hardship tours in Hawaii influence your writing?

Everyone in our immediate family (except mom!) served in the military (our father and brother were in the Air Force) and we did spend some of our formative years on a military post. One of us lived in Hawai’i and we’ve both traveled there extensively and been inspired by the beauty, people, waves, lovely music…and the hallucinatory effect of one too many Mai Tais.

You now have three books in the Miss-Information Technology Mystery series. I hope we’ll be seeing more. What’s next for Emma Jones?

Emma is going to join a startup and make a bazillion dollars by designing a mobile app that tracks the timing of labor contractions and emails the results to family members. Oh wait, that app exists. Darn. I guess we’ll have to keep Emma on hiatus while we explore other characters and technology-related crimes.

“Vehicular Homicide,” about a driverless car committing murder was published in the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of The Ghouls' Review. “Heartfelt” published in the Mystery Times 2015 anthology centers on a hacked pacemaker. In the works are drone killings and more technology mayhem. So much bad technology, so many deaths to plot…

Thank you, Diane and Mary Ann, for joining us at Writers Who Kill.

For more information about Maddi Davidson and the Miss-Information Technology Mystery series, visit them at www.maddidavidson.com

For additional information about writing with a partner, visit their blog entry:


Shari Randall said...

Thank you for stopping by, WWK! I am with you on the potential for tech mayhem. Shopping for a new car has made me long for an old one that won't be hackable. Haven't these people watched A Space Odyssey?
Keep doing what you do, ladies!

Warren Bull said...

Hey, as long as you two are stopping by, could you take a look at me computer? It's doing a weird thing and...

Julie Tollefson said...

What a fun interview! I think everyone has experienced at least one homicidal moment related to technology and can totally relate. I'm intrigued by the idea of siblings working together. Much as I love mine, I ... can't imagine it working well. What's your secret?

Gloria Alden said...

Welcome to WWK. I admire you both for team writing and still remaining friends. One of my sisters started a mystery together, and we only lived 50 miles apart. Needless to say, it didn't last past six or seven chapters. We both were teachers at the time, but she didn't get to the next chapter as fast as I would have liked. We brainstormed the book in the beginning and then wrote alternate chapters. Also, our voices were definitely different. It sounds like you have a good series going - something I'll put on my TBO list.

Margaret Turkevich said...

a fascinating look at your sisterly writing methods. I look forward to reading your books.