An Interlude with Rhys Bowen

Rhys Bowen is the New York Times Bestselling Author of the Royal Spyness Series, Molly Murphy Mysteries, and Constable Evans. Won the Agatha Best Novel Award and nominated for the Edgar Best Novel. Rhys’s titles have received rave reviews around the globe.

Rhys currently writes two mystery series, the atmospheric Molly Murphy novels, about a feisty Irish immigrant in 1900s New York City and the funny and sexy Royal Spyness mysteries about a penniless minor royal in 1930s Britain. Her books have made bestseller lists, garnered many awards, nominations, and starred reviews. She was born in England and married into a family with historic royal connections. She now divides her time between California and Arizona.

I’m thrilled to welcome one of my favorite authors, Rhys Bowen, to Buried Under Books today.

cncbooks: Did you read mysteries when you were a child or teenager?

Rhys: Oh yes. I was a huge fan of the Famous Five–the English equivalent of Nancy Drew. Then I found Agatha Christie and never looked back.

cncbooks: Is there one author (mystery or otherwise) who has really influenced your writing career?

Rhys: Yes, Tony Hillerman. It was only when I found his books that I realized what I wanted to write… that perfect blending of character, story and sense of place. Tony took me to the Southwest. He made me feel I was there. That was what I wanted to achieve.

cncbooks: Do you write to please yourself or Jane Q. Public?

Rhys: Oh, definitely myself. Every book I’ve written has been one I’ve wanted to read but wasn’t on the shelf.

cncbooks: What do you read for pleasure when you’re writing?

Rhys: When I’m writing I can’t read fiction or I tend to pick up the style. I love to read travel books.. intrepid journeys that I couldn’t want to take myself. You know leeches and quick sands and all that jolly fun.

cncbooks: You’re heading for a week-long solitary retreat.  Other than writing tools, what are the five items you simply must take with you?

Rhys: Sun screen because I’d definitely be outdoors. iPod touch with my music on it, ranging from opera to Mama Mia. A pashmina for cold evenings. Watercolors and pad because it would be somewhere beautiful and the fifth a no-brainer. Dark chocolate. (oh, and can I have a sixth for a bottle of good wine?)

cncbooks: Do any of your characters clamor to be heard over the others?

Rhys: When I’m writing a Molly book my other heroine, Lady Georgie always nudges and says “What about me? You can’t like her better.” and then the other way around. When I’m writing one book, I’m always dying to write the other.

cncbooks: What would Molly and Lady Georgie think of each other?

Rhys: To begin with Lady Georgie would think that Molly was a little too lower class, I suspect, and Molly would think that Georgie’s upper crust accent was too refined, but once they started talking they’d get along beautifully as they both have the same goals and ideas of justice.

cncbooks: How difficult is it to keep up with the rigors of two series?

Rhys: It’s the stuff around the writing that’s hard. I write 2 books a year but I’m also touring, speaking, signing for each which cuts into my writing time. When I’m writing one series I am totally focused on it.

cncbooks: “They” say write what you know about so, tell us, how many bodies have you come across?.

Rhys: I’ve come across plenty of people I’d like to kill so this is a good outlet! And no, I’ve never seen a dead body, but I have stayed at country houses owned by British aristocrats. I have had tea with the queen. I know enough of Georgie’s life to feel comfortable writing about it. And I am a frequent visitor to New York. And I have a strong sense of Justice like Molly so I want to right wrongs.

cncbooks: What has been the toughest criticism you’ve been given as an author? What has been the best compliment?

Rhys: The only really bad review I’ve ever been given came from a Welsh newspaper that said I knew nothing about Welsh police procedure. Since I’d been to North Wales police headquarters just before I wrote the book and it was quite clear they had no procedure in place for what to do with a body on top of Mount Snowdon I felt this was unfair.

The best compliment I get again and again is from New Yorkers who thank me for recreating the New York they remember from their childhood. Then I know I’ve done a good job.

cncbooks: I first met you years ago with the charming Evan Evans series—have the ebook editions rekindled any interest in publishing a new book?

Rhys: I get messages every day asking me when a new Evan book is coming out. So I’ve promised to write an e-novella from time to time to keep fans up to date. I have no time to write a whole book right now, but I’m glad the books are finally available on Kindle and Nook.

cncbooks: What’s next for you?

Rhys: I have a new Lady Georgie book coming out in November called The Twelve Clues of Christmas. It’s the traditional ye olde English Christmas and I had great fun writing it. But before it, in October, Penguin is bringing out an e-novella, a prequel of Lady Georgie with a Halloween theme called Masked Ball at Broxley Manor. Then there is a new Molly book next March called The Family Way, and I’m already writing the next books. Busy lady.

Thanks for inviting me, Lelia.

And thank you so much for stopping by, Rhys!