Today Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks visit us from New York City. Since we’re only about six hours upstate, it’s not too bad a trip. Welcome, Kenneth and Anne!
Brainerd & Fraser: As siblings, we have a lot of fun writing together. What’s it like to be a husband-and-wife writing team?
We’ve been at each other’s throats for about 44 years and we hope to be at each other’s throats for many years more! Seriously, we have been writing together for about that amount of time and have had a lot of fun along the way. We are sure you would appreciate that a little love and respect can go a long way when two people are working together on a project. We have found in our writing and in our marriage that it is also best to put your ego aside and listen to the other person, whether it is about a stretch of writing that seems “off” or a plot device that seems phony. Last but not least, our choice to work together has helped us stick with this business since when one of us feels a little fed up the other is there to provide encouragement. And when good things happen, it is very very nice to share with someone who knows just how hard it was.
B&F: It really is nice to share the joy of publishing with a writing partner. Can you explain your writing process to us?
We talk a lot about the book before we start to work. We don’t do a formal outline, but we will jot ideas down on paper and try to figure out the main movements and the kinds of characters who will be in the book. One of us will draft a chapter and the other will work it over, either as a line edit or, more often, a complete rewrite of paragraphs of prose or sections of dialogue. This is the point at which putting the ego aside becomes very important. It is also the point when having love and respect softens the blow. We go back and forth until we feel we are getting a good sense of the characters and plot. The development of plot and characters is often a very organic process for us. We do a lot of re-writing and adding and deleting before we get something we both like. We have learned to make sure we agree on everything before it leaves our apartment, whether it is a letter or a whole book.
B&F: Speaking of apartment-dwelling, we love visiting NYC, but both live across the street from farms (Dave dairy, Heather horses) and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Are you city-folks through-and-through, or do you have a secret country-dwelling fantasy?
Anne is pretty much a city girl through and through. Ken sometimes thinks he could live in the country, but would probably miss being able to walk to the Metropolitan Museum and the chance to take photographs of the weird and wonderful things he finds in the city. Also, we have a huge terrace attached to our apartment, which allows Ken to grow flowers, blueberry and raspberry bushes, and some vegetables (tomatoes, peppers and spices like basil). It also gives us a big view of the sky to the west and many sunsets to enjoy as well as an occasional rainbow. If you go to Ken’s Facebook page, you will see the view to the west from our terrace.
B&F: Wow, Ken, you grow more produce than we do, and we have almost ten acres between the two of us! Your books run the gamut from children to middle grade to adult to photography. Which is your favorite?
We really like whatever we are working on at the time. That said, our middle reader novel called Things Are Not What They Seem — about a person who was turned into a pigeon 150 years ago and is living in Central Park – was a lot of fun to write. It will be published by MuseItUp in 2014. We are looking forward to writing that sequel.
B&F: Aside from writing, what are a few of your favorite things?
We enjoy going to the theater, visiting the museums of New York, traveling, and spending time with our children. We have also put together two books of photographs and hope to do at least two more. If you were to stop by our web site, www.randh71producitons.com you would see some sculpture and jewelry that we have done. Ken enjoys birding in Central Park as well.
B&F: If you could have three wishes, what would you wish for?
Continuing, endless happiness for each of our three children. (We love this answer!)
And now for the rapid-fire round!
Uptown or downtown? We live uptown, but a lot of the theater we like is definitely downtown.
Yankees or Mets? Ken actually roots for both. Anne roots for neither.
Taxi or subway? Subway and bus. Best way to get anywhere is by subway, but if you’re not going too far, take the bus!
Neapolitan or New York-style pizza? We like pizza any way it is made.
Elvis or The Beatles? Beatles, of course.
It’s been great getting to know you both. Thanks for dropping by!
MIND ME, MILADY is a mystery set in New York City. As the book begins, the life of thirty-five year old Eve Petersen is in upheaval. She is an attorney who is in the process of winding up her recently deceased mother’s law practice, and she has just broken up with her control-freak boyfriend. She now has a new client to protect: a sweet but troubled young woman named Susan, who is struggling to understand both her foggy memories of the past and her constant sense of unease and danger in the present. And, as if all that weren’t enough, Kate herself keeps receiving unsettling phone calls from an Upper East Side serial rapist who has named himself “the Gentleman.” Each time he calls, the Gentleman casually discusses his latest victim in his eerily even, British-accented voice, hinting all the while that Kate will be the next one.
As the Gentleman continues his reign of terror, reprimanding each victim with his catchphrase, “Mind me, milady. Mind the Gentleman,” suspense and anxiety on the Upper East Side build to a fever pitch. A series of seemingly random women are brutally assaulted. Warring local political candidates fasten on these rapes as a pivotal dividing issue. Frightened and confused as to what to do, Susan undergoes hypnosis in an attempt to fill in memories that she had lost in the aftermath of a car accident years ago. Under hypnosis, she “remembers” living as an indentured servant in New York City during the period of the Revolutionary War and being raped by her Master while the Battle of Manhattan raged on the East Side. Whether these impressions are based in real memories remains a question, but as these bits of her past come to light, it seems more and more possible that Susan may be the Gentleman’s next target. With the Gentleman seemingly closing in on both women, Kate must try to put the pieces together and figure out the Gentleman’s identity so they can catch him before he strikes again.
Kenneth Hicks and Anne Rothman-Hicks, www.randh71productions.com
Kate and the Kid (adult fiction) on Wings ePress
Mind Me, Milady (adult fiction) on Barbarian Books
Stone Faces (middle grade) on the Apple iBookstore
Hearts (no flowers) Signs of Love in the Gritty City on the Apple iBookstore
Ken’s Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/kenneth.hicks.1004
Anne’s Facebook Page — https://www.facebook.com/anne.rothmanhicks?fref=ts
Ken and Anne’s Author Page — https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kenneth-Hicks-and-Anne-Rothman-Hicks/622272714477979