An interview with the author
We see that you are a husband and wife writing team. When did you decide that you wanted to write books together?
The Wife: For years, I'd been trying to get published on my own. I have a M.A. in English and spent my twenties at the post office mailing my short stories to various publishers with no success. About 3 years ago, on a lark, I began writing a murder/mystery about a group of librarians and what would happen if someone accidentally got crushed when the electronic compact shelving mechanism malfunctioned. How would my imaginary librarians react if they found the body? Would they accuse each other? Who would they think did it? I wrote about 6 pages and showed it to my husband. He liked it and that's how we started writing books together. The Husband: I got inspired when my wife started writing ebooks. She graciously allowed me to add my ten cents worth into the books she was writing and the rest is history. I'm so lucky she's allowed me into her domain.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The wife: I love bouncing ideas off each other. I am constantly amazed by some of the dialogue and ideas my husband comes up with. One of my favorite things to do is to sit out in our garden, have a glass of wine, and read to each other what the other has written that day. I always knew that my husband was a good writer (he seduced me with a poem he'd written about me). But I'm amazed by just how good of a writer he is and how much better he writes with each book. The husband: Forget what she said. She's the better writer. I'm just along for the fun ride. It's a joy to be creating our little works of art and then unleashing them onto the world!
Do you ever get into arguments when the other one wants to make changes?
The Wife: We get asked this question a lot. It's a challenge, I've got to say, because I look at it like "you're talking about my baby; I've spent hours writing that dialogue or scene." But, I must say, 99% of the time he's right. He keeps it real. The Husband: Never. I mean never. Sure, there are disagreements over a line or two but it always works itself out the best in the end. We're lucky to have the ability to look at a piece of writing and choose what works the best for each situation.
Why do you use a pen name and how did you come up with Lewis Hathaway?
We use a pen name for privacy. We had fun trying to come up with a pen name. My husband chose the name "Lewis Hathaway" because, when he writes about a detective in our stories, he always asks himself "What would Inspector Lewis say? Or how would he handle this?") We watch a lot of Masterpiece/Mystery on PBS, so we thought we'd combine the names of Lewis and his side-kick Hathaway into one person.
What are you working on now?
The Wife: I have just finished writing a time-travel novel about two sisters who live in the present time and find themselves magically transported back to the 1968 Newport Pop Festival in Costa Mesa, California. This is a concert my sister and I went to when we were teenagers (I was only 13 and she was 18). It was later referred to "Orange County's Woodstock". I describe the bands who played at the festival and what the audience was like. The sisters go back to their hometown and meet the ghosts of their parents and siblings. They even meet younger versions of their husbands. I tried to make it funny and poignant at the same time. The book is called: "The Summer of Love: A Trip Back to 1968."
My husband and I have just finished writing "Honeymoon in Savannah: A Detective Santy Mystery." When we wrote our other two Detective Santy Mysteries, we realized that Clarissa Santy is having a spiritual crisis at the end of both "The Tustin Chronicles" and "The Murder at the Abbey." She deserved better, so in the third book in the series, she gets married and goes on a honeymoon to Savannah, Georgia. It's part travelogue/ part homage to "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil"/ and part romance novel. Murder seems to follow Clarissa wherever she goes, and even on vacation, she finds herself involved in an investigation after her cousin, a famous chef, is killed. Each book in the series can be read alone, without having to buy another from the series.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
The Wife: We are both native Californians and I think it shows up in our writing. We like to think of our County as a main character in our books. Especially, when there can be such negative press and jokes written about people from Southern California (I'm especially thinking of "The Real Housewives of Orange County.)" That's so not us.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
The Wife: "David Copperfield". "Brideshead Revisited." "Leaves of Grass." "The Web & The Rock." "Rumpole of the Bailey." Why? Because I'm an English Major. The Husband: I'm a history lover at heart. She's introduced me to the great literature of the world and without her I would have never ventured to read such wonderful books.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
The husband: I work full-time. It's hard to find the hours to write as much as I'd like to.
What do your fans mean to you?
The wife: We love our fans. I've been so touched by all of the books my friends and family have bought. They are an amazing support system for me. What's really surprises me is how many people have bought them in Canada, England, Germany, Australia. Who are these people? We have been blown away by it.