Interview with mystery author Vivian Rhodes

Mystery
author Vivian Rhodes joins me
today to chat about her new psychological thriller, If You Should Read This, Mother.
Bio:
Vivian Rhodes,
a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Communication, is a
published mystery novelist and two time Emmy-nominated television writer,
having written for daytime serials such as General Hospital and As the World
Turns. Her Lifetime movie, Stolen from
the Womb
airs frequently, most recently in May 2016. Her psychological
thriller, If You Should Read This, Mother
is available at www.Blackopalbooks.com, and Amazon, and can be ordered through
local bookstores as well. Her novel, Groomed for Murder is now available
as an e-book on Amazon,
Ms. Rhodes lives in Los Angeles, where she is an adjunct instructor at Cal Lutheran
University. She is presently completing work on her next psychological thriller, and writes about all things nostalgic
– from film noir to vintage toys – on her blog, Rhodes Less Traveled.
Welcome, Vivian. Please tell us about
your current release.
The
protagonist of my story, Megan Daniels, was only three years old the day John
Kennedy was assassinated, but flashes of that day begin to trigger other
disturbing memories that have lain dormant within her. At first they are merely
snippets, but as they begin to appear more frequently Megan has difficulty
separating what is real from what is imagined. When she sets out to find her
biological mother, she keeps hitting brick walls. No adoption papers exist, and
all she has to go on is her possible birthday: November 22. In the small town
of Meredith, Megan’s search takes on a dire, domino effect—one woman has
already been murdered as a result of her inquiries. As she digs for the truth,
Megan eventually unravels a sinister plot that began decades earlier, but in
doing so she places her own life in jeopardy.
What inspired you to write this book?
I
came up with the idea for IYSRTM one
November day when I realized that the number of people who could actually recall
where they were when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated was
diminishing. Today, it is safe to say, that only a small demographic, those in
their sixties and older, can vividly remember what they were doing when they
heard the astounding news.
What
about those people who were alive at the time, but who were very, very young? Surely,
they could feel that something was different about that day, even if they
didn’t know why. Few cartoons on television over the weekend, if at all. Adults,
both men and women, sobbing audibly. The look of disbelief in their parents’
eyes. Wouldn’t those memories remain with them somehow?
Excerpt
from If You Should Read This, Mother:
He never thought
that killing someone would have been so easy.
Of course, there had been times he wasn’t certain he’d
be able to carry it off.
First, he had to convince her to meet him in a remote
spot. That was an accomplishment in itself, but he’d done it. Then he had to
put her at ease. He had to make her feel as though he really cared about what
she had to say.
And then, when he was sure, really sure that she
didn’t suspect a thing, he took aim and fired. It was so deserted; he knew no
one would hear the noise.
The first bullet grazed her head, and before she had a
chance to scream, he shot again. This bullet caught her in the throat as she
turned to run, causing a frenzy of blood to come pouring forth. The third, and
final bullet, lodged in her skull, killing her instantly as it did.
Now to get rid of the body. He was determined to leave
no trace of it.
What exciting story are you working on
next
?
I am in the
process of editing my latest book, which is also a psychological thriller. It
deals with the idea of a woman’s obsession with a man she professes to love. Can
this sort of over the top obsession be caused by a particular hormone, and can
it lead a woman to commit murder?
When did you first consider yourself a
writer?
Ironically
enough, even though I had been writing stories, and putting words to music and
so on from the time I was a child, and was complimented on my writing by
teachers throughout high school, I never thought of it as a serious career
option. In fact, I didn’t really consider myself a writer until a professor of
mine in a film writing class in graduate school read a script I had turned in
and said, “Okay, so apparently you are truly a writer” that I began to identify
as one. Then, of course, having my first novel accepted for publication kind of
solidified things for me.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
Writing full
time is a luxury I don’t have at the moment. I’ve always loved the scenes in
old movies that show novelists holed up in a cabin by a lake, typing away on an
old Royal, without a care in the world. Unfortunately, the majority of writers
don’t subsist on writing careers alone. The trick is to find something one
enjoys to supplement the writing. I am a professional tutor and I teach
workshops that specialize in writing. My preference is to wake up very early to
begin writing. I’ve been fortunate not to have experienced writers’ block,
which allows me to get a lot done in an hour or two.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
I like to
come up with my ending first, so I know where I’m headed. Then I jot down a few
chapter ideas and leave it at that. Once I begin writing the rest usually seems
to fall into place.
As a child, what did you want to be when
you grew up?
Truthfully, I
didn’t think too much about it, although Carolyn Keene (author of the Nancy
Drew books) and Agatha Christie were both great influences on me in my love of
mysteries. In my freshman year of college, when we were permitted to choose one
elective, a cute guy, a junior, asked if I was thinking of signing up for
“Writing for Television”. When he told me he was, I signed up too, lol. It
turned out to be my path. I found out I was really good at writing scripts. The
junior? Not so much.
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
My favorite
authors are Jonathan Kellerman for suspense, Ken Follett for historical
fiction, and the late Maeve Binchy for sheer comfort. Maeve and I became friends
several years before her passing.
One thing I
do miss is writing lyrics. I wrote lyrics for my late husband, Rick, who was a
well- known Emmy award winning TV/Film composer (I was nominated twice, but
never won.)
If anyone
would like to know more about me, or about You
Should Read This, Mother
they can access a recent interview I gave at
www.kimpaganoshow.com.
Links:

Thanks for being here today, Vivian.

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