Monday, 12 June 2017

Interview with Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks

I have two guests joining me today...  Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks.

Anne and Ken have been collaborating on books for forty-six years. Their first joint effort was a student project while Anne was at Bryn Mawr College and Ken attended Haverford. Since then, they have written over twenty books together. They live and work in New York City, where many of their books are set.

Their Jane Larson series of mystery/thrillers involves a high-powered New York City attorney with a penchant for getting involved in situations that she would be better off leaving alone. These novels have been praised by reviewers for their gritty portrayals of city life, lively characters, fast action, surprise endings and highly polished prose. Jane is cynical and rebellious, but she finds herself drawn to the simple life her deceased mother lived as an attorney who served women unable to afford legal services. Weave A Murderous Web. Praise Her, Praise Diana, and Mind Me, Milady have all been published by Melange Books, LLC.

I'd like to welcome you both to Just Books, and kick off by asking you when and how your interest in writing originated...?
       Ken: We were both early, avid readers as children. The idea of writing stories like the ones that we read came naturally from that.

...and what gets your creative juices flowing?
       Anne: We both like scenes in which the reader is surprised by what the characters say and do.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
Ken: Writing brings us to a different world, which can change infinitely, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in larger ones.

Would you walk us through a day in the life of Anne Rothman-Hicks and Kenneth Hicks?
Anne: We are usually up and out of bed very early. We take a walk to do the day’s shopping at the supermarket, have breakfast and then get to work writing. Generally, what one of us has written is given to the other, and it is worked over. This process continues back and forth until the text reaches a level that satisfies us. We will take walks during the day around our neighborhood in New York City to discuss problems and solutions.

What inspired Weave A Murderous Web?
Ken: We wanted to do a book about a woman who has a somewhat selfish streak, but who is induced, albeit unwillingly, to help a friend. The woman learns a great deal about herself as she is drawn deeper and deeper into the lives of her friend and her problems.

So did you use your personal experiences in your writing?
Anne: Ken is a lawyer who sometimes does matrimonial work and my father was a matrimonial lawyer. Although the story did not spring from any case that Ken has ever had, it does use situations and problems that recur in matrimonial law and in law in general.

Tell us about the cover of Weave a Murderous Web and how it came about.

Ken: We previously published a Jane Larson thriller called Praise Her, Praise Diana, which had a striking cover of the face of a woman that was done in grays and reds. We wanted to use the same grays and reds in the cover for Weave A Murderous Web, but also have the city skyline to let people know that the story takes place in New York City. Many have commented that it sometimes feels as though the city is another character in our novels.

For those of us who are thinking of reading your book, could you tell us what to expect?
Anne: The book is written in first person, so you get into the head of the sharp-tongued, intelligent main character very quickly as she describes the people she is forced to deal with when she takes on a matrimonial case at the request of a friend. There are many twists and turns as she struggles to keep her new client and her young daughter safe even when people begin to die all around them.

I wish I’d known … when I was younger. (fill in the blank)
Ken: We both love to travel and wish we had known how much we enjoy traveling when we were younger. (We are now making up for lost time).

So what country would you both like to visit?

Anne: We have plans to visit Greece. I have already traveled there, but that was many years ago. Ken has never been, but has read a lot of classical history and philosophy and also wants to see Athens and the islands as well as sites on the mainland.
Ken: Anne is also obsessed to visit Morocco, probably in a vain attempt to recapture her lost youth.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Ken: Anne likes to do yoga and go to the nearby Y for exercise classes. I like to take photographs. We both love to read, walk, watch movies, and play ping pong.

What did you do this summer...?
Anne: We just got back from a trip to France. We flew into Nice and spent 3 days in Arles and 7 more touring much of Provence. Afterward, we traveled west and north through the medieval cities of Carcassonne and Sarlat, and further into the Dordogne area. Then we went to Amboise and the Loire Valley, and ended our trip in Paris.
Ken: We visited Roman and Greek ruins, medieval cities, beautiful chateaus, and museums and drove over 3,000 kilometers. We both especially liked seeing the caves in the Dordogne where there is artwork that is 15,000 years old. Anne particularly savored the troglodyte cave villages from thousands of years ago. Other highlights were seeing Cezanne’s studio in Aix-en-Provence and the asylum in St. Remy where Van Gogh did some of best work.

...and how did you celebrate last Halloween?
Ken: Last Halloween we took a plane in the morning from Palermo Airport in Sicily to Rome where we spent the next four days seeing some of the sights that we missed the last time we were in that fair city, including the Borghese Gallery and the vast ruined palaces of the Palatine Hill.

What would constitute a "perfect" day for you?
Anne: A perfect day would be when we finished one book, thought up an idea for another, and had a few nice reviews pop up out of the blue. Also, a trip to a local vegetarian Indian restaurant for dinner would complete the mood of celebration

What are your biggest fears?
Ken: My biggest fear is developing memory loss, which happened to my mother.
Anne:  I'm fearless!

And finally what are your favourite books?
Ken: My favorite book is Bleak House, by Charles Dickens. The story and characters are amazing.
Anne:  Mine is Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut.

Thank you both for joining us today, have a great day!

See more of Ken and Anne on their blog and on Facebook.

Buy links

Weave A Murderous Web:

Mind Me, Milady:

Praise Her, Praise Diana:


  1. Thank you for hosting us today. We appreciate it!

    Ken and Anne

    1. You're welcome.
      Thank you for the interview :)