I’m a great admirer of Linda Richards. Naturally. I mean, she wouldn’t be here – On The Bubble – if I wasn’t, right? Right. She’s genuine, full of the devil, a wicked e-mail pal, a multi-talented reporter, stock trader – and one hell of a mystery writer. And I particularly admire those who take plunges. And Linda and David (life-mate and an extremely talented photographer and graphic artist) did – they took a chance on something they wanted to do – JANUARY MAGAZINE – and it quickly became one of the most respected internet stops for book lovers. But that’s just Success Story No. One.
Success Story No. Two? Three terrific mysteries with a protag – Madeline Carter – who is not only fun to hang out with, she’s wonderfully wry – and savy as hell! Madelines’ first appearance – as you already know – was in MAD MONEY. I loved that book! And then I met up with her again in THE NEXT EX. Now I’m tagging along with her in CALCULATED LOSS – which just came out. Grab it! You’ll thank me. Have I ever steered you wrong?
So get your morning coffee handy, or your afternoon whatever – and join me whilst I chat with Linda.
EE: Linda, at what point in your career did you find it necessary to break your addiction to watching back-to-back reruns of ‘I Love Lucy’?
LR: Who told you I had broken it? They lie like a bad rug!
Lie like a bad rug? Where’s my notebook? I gotta steal that one.
EE: Is it true you listen to Tchaiksovsky whilst you write? I hear your nearest neighbor is having a breakdown because you play Swan Lake over, and over and over.
LR: And over and over and…but it’s very aerobic, actually. Not the playing, of course. But the dancing. On my deck. In a tutu. It clears the mind.
It may clear YOUR mind, but what about the neighbor? Oh, wait. Maybe shes complaining because her husband is watching you dance? I mean – that tutu must be absolutely fetching.
EE: Okay, forget the neighbor. It’s her problem. So, tell me about your favorite retreat and what you do there.
LR: There are those who would say I live on retreat. I can’t help it: it’s the life I’ve helped build. But when I want to get away from my retreat-like life, I take a bath. Plots get untwisted when I’m floating in the tub with the intention of disengaging my mind. Go figure.
I can relate to that. Driving or a long shower does it for me. Besides-it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than flying to Cannes.
EE: Everyone has a Walter Mitty dream. Now, some of my guests have come up with some really goofy ones – but I’m sure your’s will be just terrific! So, Linda – what’s yours?
LR: I don’t dream about Walter Mitty at all. He’s not my type:too meek. And, anyway, isn’t he married?
That wasn’t the answer I was looking for. But what the hell. Oh, uh, no – he’s not married. He’s dead.
EE: Okay, Linda – here’s a hot one. Word on the street is that you’re ghosting Joan Rivers new biography. Care to comment?
LR: I didn’t realize that had gotten out.
Gotten out? All of Mysterville is on fire with the rumors! Hell, even Rush Limbaugh is talking about it…and Letterman! And I hear Penzler is foaming at the mouth. Did you know she rejected him?
EE: Okay, now that we can consider the rumors true, here’s the next one. Since Joan’s latest face lift didn’t work very well-I’m told she’s begging you to have plastic surgery to look like her so you can do her book tour. What’s the scoop on that one? You can tell me. You know I can keep it zipped.
LR: Yeah. Right. You’ll keep it zipped. You and your damned bubble. But, (ahem) seriously…I’m considering her offer. Can you imagine what Joan Rivers’ book tours look like? The limos, the line-ups, the general perks? It’s tempting. I tell you.
On my ‘book tours’ I’m lucky if they don’t mix-up my half-sweet mocha and bring me a cappuccino. And the last media escort they toured me didn’t have anything like a limo. I don’t know what it was except it looked like something out of the Flintstones: I had to poke my feet through the floorboards to help with the impulsion when we where going uphill. (Good thing I wasn’t wearing my Manolos.) And another thing…everyone keeps cracking wise about Joan’s surgery. But let’s be honest: don’t you think she looks fantastic for 112?
Ah, the life of a writer, huh? But if it helps to know – I didn’t get a limo either. But, Linda! Just think of what the Rivers tour will be like! And did you know she always has an assistant with her? I’ll be free soon, and I take quick notes. I can even carry a few books. Ohhh…I can see it now! The long line of fans, the guest appearances on TV, the five star hotels…the cover on People. Uh, all for you of course.
EE: My spy up your way tells me that the local Mycological Society is planning on naming you Woman of the Year! What an honor! But – is it also true that you’re supposed to provide proof of your culinary skills besides your foraging expertise? I mean, isn’t that a bit strange?
LR: OK: I know that’s supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, but it’s skating close enough to the truth that I’ll just leave it alone. As you know, I actually do enjoy collecting edible mushrooms in the fall and my skill at identifying edible varieties is locally renowned. (I don’t wear Manolos for that, either.)
Guests at my table know that my mushroom risotto might boast lobster mushrooms and chanterelles that I’ve collected with my own little hands. And no (I think I’ll head this one off right now) none of my future mysteries feature death by poisonous mushrooms. My mysteries are of a more urban nature than my current life. I write better outside of the landscape.
Linda and I have traded mushroom hunting stories and I wanted her legions of fans to know how very much accomplished she is in this most specialized and dangerous field. Knowing the difference between what’s good and what isn’t – ain’t an easy task.
EE: A new spy of mine (who may not last if this rumor proves to be untrue) tells me that Pam Anderson wants to option your Madeline Carter series, but you turned her down.
LR: It’s a lie. I didn’t turn her down. Pam Anderson would make a terrific Madeline Carter. OK: so Pam is about a foot shorter than I ever envisioned Madeline and slightly more…er…zaftig,. But…and here I go trying to pull the tongue out of your cheek again. I’m sorry ..Pam has a much better sense of comedic timing than people give her credit for. Something about being blinded by the boobs, I guess. People can’t seem to see past the upholstery. But she could do it, sure. It would just be very, very different than I ever envisioned it.
Plus Pam is Canadian so you hafta to know there’s a good girl under all that goop and plastic: the heart might be obscured, but it’s certainly there.
Well, in that case…? I mean, who would have thought, huh?
EE: I understand you have a bad habit of belting out ‘Singing In The Rain’ when you hit the nasty brick wall when you’re writing – and David (bless his heart) – claims you’re tone deaf and is begging you to find another tune.
LR: Oh but I already have! Now it’s ‘Creep" by Radiohead. It delivers a whole different vibe.
Uh, yes…I can see where it might. But hey, if you’re happy? And David’s happy? Why not?
EE: Who would be your ideal panel mates? Come on now, don’t be shy. Go for it.
LR: That’s too hard! The panel would be big enough to fill a whole conference. Seriously: I’ve enjoyed every panel I’ve been on. They’ve all been terrific panel mates.
Very diplomatic! But then, you are the epitome of discretion. I tell everyone I know that. Call me later, okay?
EE: Whispers are rampant that you’re not really Linda L. Richards, but the long-lost granddaughter of Al Capone and you’re hiding from Geraldo Rivera who is still looking for Al’s buried loot-and he swears you know where it is.
LR: Gack! But your sources are good. Only it’s Jimmy Hoffa and Katie Couric.
What?? Hold the presses! Oh, could this be the end of Katie’s new CBS job?
EE: Which writer would you love to have all to yourself in a cozy corner of the bar at the next ThrillerFest?
LR: Why you, of course, Elaine darling. We’ve many battle tales to swap over as many glasses of wine.
Oh, gosh. I’m flattered. Really, I am! I mean, of all the big names you could have mentioned? But hey, we could really run up a bar tab, huh? Remind me to tell you about….well, later.
EE: Which writer would be your ideal book tour mate?
LR: Joan Rivers. No wait…we already did her. Neil Gaiman, I think. Or Anne Rice. The two of them have the most interesting people turn up at signings. Gaiman told me he once had a woman ask him to sign her body.. I don’t remembe where. Some place not so subtle, I’m thinking. The intention was she was going to have the signature tattooed in place immediately after. I can’t remember if he did or not, though. I suspect he did. And Anne Rice has people come in costume: dressed as various characters from her many books.
Gaiman, huh? Hmmm. How nice of him to comply. Anne Rice’s characters in costume? Really? I mean, fangs, and blood and…Oh my..I think I can miss that.
EE: You’re having six guests for dinner. Who would they be, and what would you serve?
LR: The possibilities are too vast, the combinations too inviting. Let’s try this just for fun: Otto Penzler and Paris Hilton (wouldn’t they be a cute couple?), Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Jennifer Aniston (just so we could watch them throw things, maybe food) and you, Elaine. Because you wouldn’t want to miss all the fun.
And what to serve? Well, (she said modestly) I’m a fabulous cook, so the choices here are also vast. The whole cooking thing surprises people who meet Madeline before the meet me because Madeline does not and can not cook anything beyond rice cakes and toast. And I…well I reverse engineer things I try in posh restaurants just for kicks. I’m a kook that way. And nothing relaxes me more like making a good bernaise. I’m a fairly serious foody. And I’m not a blonde ex-stockbroker, either, so I don’t get the big confusion.
So…what to make…I seem to have mushroom risotto on the brain now, so that seems to be a good place to start. And risotto is a good dinner party thing, because you can bring it close and then just leave it alone in the kitchen while you enjoy drinks and canapes with your guests, then you can scurry back to the kitchen and finish the risotto in the last 15 minutes before serving.
Penzle & Paris?? A match made in heaven! Pitt, Jolie and Aniston? And moi?? Oh, I can’t wait!! I wouldn’t miss that for the world. I’ll even wash the dishes to get in on that one. Besides, mushroom risotto is one of my favorites. Uh, could you do a show and tell with the bernaise? I never could get that to come out right.
Well, see what I mean about being multi-talented?? Not only does Linda put out a premier review site, she has a blog, she’s one hell of a mystery writer, she’s an expert on mushrooms in the wild, and she COOKS?? Oh, but I feel so unaccomplished. But even so, I still think the world of her. So visit Linda at: http://www.lindalrichards.com And January Magazine at: http://www.janmag.com
And while you’re at January Magazine-don’t forget to click on THE RAP SHEET – with J. Kingston Pierce. And DON’T FORGET TO PICK UP CALCULATED LOSS!!
Thanks to Linda Richards for being a terrific guest – and for putting up with me. She didn’t have to, you know? But then, I only invite the best and the brightest. And next week? Ah…a big surprise is in store for you. He’s a debut writer who is already the talk of Mysteryville!