Norm of Bookpleasures Interviewing Authors Rosemary and Larry Mild

Norm Interviewing Rosemary and Larry Mild,
authors of On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie.

Norm: welcomes husband and wife team Rosemary and Larry Mild. With a remarkable repertoire spanning various genres, they have coauthored an array of spellbinding mysteries, heart-pounding adventure/thrillers, and enchanting volumes of short stories. Their latest exciting work, On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie, is a testament to their storytelling finesse. Good day Rosemary and Larry, and thanks for taking part in our interview.

Norm: The transition from mystery and suspense fiction to historical fiction is intriguing. What inspired you both to delve into the 1930s era of the Great Depression for your most recent novel, On the Rails: The Adventures of Boxcar Bertie?

Larry: The Great Depression remains a vivid and fascinating era to me, having grown up in it some ninety years ago. On the Rails is definitely a Mulligan stew of memories, history, and invention. I have lived in a great portion of the settings and researched the rest. In fact, I grew up in New Haven. I remembered what was important to me then and I tried to fit that into the narrative. My inspiration was my desire to go back and take another look at the past. It's what the elderly do.

Norm: On the Rails features an unconventional and spirited protagonist, Bertie Patchet. How did you develop her character?

Larry: I can't ever remember having a teacher quite like Bertie Patchet. I had to create her from scratch. To do the things Bertie did, she had to be strong, spirited and definitely unconventional. She needed the happy home life with her real, principled, and loving parents of her early life to build her strength of character, but she also needed the abusive stepfather and drunken mother to supply the great push from house and home out into strictly a man's world.

Norm: On the Rails writing style allows readers to fully immerse themselves in Bertie's world. Could you share your collaborative process as co-authors in bringing her story to life?

Larry: I am the one largely responsible for the plot in all of our books, and Rosemary is the more polished writer-developing supporting scenes, building onto characters, and finishing descriptions. I actually write the first two drafts before turning the work over to Rosemary. We have developed a unified writing voice that makes it difficult to discern which of us wrote any given passage in the finished book.

Norm: The setting of a railway boxcar and the idea of female hobos are pretty unconventional for historical fiction. How did you develop this distinctive concept, and what significance does it hold in the narrative?

Larry: Story tellers are always looking for a unique ideas to write about. Usually, that means putting a character that doesn't belong in an unusual, dangerous, or comical situation and see what happens. As a youth, I remember playing in an abandoned ice house down next to the tracks where I saw hobos hopping and riding boxcars. I also remember them coming to our back door for a handout. Mom had a measured soft touch. Though the boxcars are taking Bertie farther and farther from her ultimate goals, she becomes strong enough to reverse her fortunes.

Norm: Romance is on the horizon for Bertie amidst her challenges. How did you balance the elements of romance and adventure in the story?

Larry: Bertie meets two special men while riding the rails and develops strong friendships, but nothing romantic comes of it, because neither one can offer a stable relationship. I confess, it's a tease. We conveyed the feeling that she wasn't even looking for romance, but if Mr. Right ever appeared, she just might be willing.

Norm: The Great Depression serves as a significant backdrop for your novel. How did you approach the challenge of capturing the atmosphere and emotions of that era within your storytelling?

Larry: One of my talents is an ability to envision where I'm going from where I've been in detail. I have trouble with names, but I can describe quite a lot from my past. Adding pertinent movies, books, and television tidbits to the memories, allowed me a pretty good grasp of the atmosphere. Oh yes, there were quite a few things we had to research.

Norm: The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its connection to President Roosevelt's New Deal initiative play a role in your story. How did you weave this historical context into Bertie's experiences, and what research did you undertake to ensure accuracy?

Larry: Inadvertently, Bertie finds herself in the all-man's world of the CCC. I had to create a special solution for her to even exist let alone remain there. The basic Bertie is a very adaptable protagonist. What would the era be like without the CCC, the National Recovery Act, the 25-cent haircut, a bit of poverty, and at least one fireside chat. I had to weave them all in.

Norm:Norm: Your previous works, such as the Dan & Rivka Sherman Mysteries and the Paco & Molly Mysteries, showcase a knack for mystery and suspense. Did any elements from your mystery writing background find their way into "On the Rails," even though it's a historical novel?

Larry: On the Rails is also an adventure novel with plenty of good old fashion suspense. In short, suspense is denying the readers what they really want to know. Mostly every chapter ends with Bertie's current adventures turning into dire conflict. The readers must turn the proverbial page to find out if and how that conflict is resolved. Suspense is grown slowly to a single climax in the mystery, a totally different technique with the same purpose. I'd have to say it's the story telling that's the common element in both

Norm: Where can our readers learn more about you and your work?

Larry: You are very welcome to visit our website at: or to email us at [email protected]. Rosemary's memoir, In My Next Life I'll Get It Right, and my memoir, No Place to Be But Here, tells quite a lot about the two of us. Another source is

Norm: What is next for Rosemary and Larry Mild?

Larry: I have recently passed the second draft of Kent and Katcha, a spy novel full of espionage, spycraft, and romance on to Rosemary for her editing and rewriting skills. Currently, I'm working on the second draft to The Moaning Lisa the 4th Paco and Molly murder mystery novel in the traditional cozy manner.

Norm: As we wrap up our interview, you coauthored several series and novels. What's your secret to maintaining a successful writing partnership while blending your creative voices?

Larry: The partnership starts with a solid marriage. You have to like and respect one another. You debate frequently, argue some, and most importantly, you negotiate. We each know we have a certain job to do and what we can do to promote a better end product. We keep working at it.

Norm: Thanks once again and good luck with all of your endeavors.