RHYS BOWEN: Last year when our first book came out I was doing an interview and the person asked, “So how did you find your co-writer?”
My answer was “I made her.”
Because Clare Broyles, my co-writer is also my daughter. I had put the Molly Murphy series on hiatus after seventeen books, reluctantly, but I simply could not write three books a year and the Royal Spyness series and stand alones were thriving and more important to me. Clare came to me one day and said, “I think I’d like to write the Molly Murphy books with you.”
I was a little hesitant. I knew she was a good writer. I knew we had a smooth and easy relationship, but I wondered how much extra work I’d be taking on. I thought I’d have to walk her through the first books together, do a lot of re-writing and I balked at that amount of time. Also, I wondered what would happen if I found it wasn’t working out. How would it change our relationship if I had to tell her no thank you?
But I gave it a go and it was pure joy from day one. Clare reread the whole series. She got Molly’s first person voice right away. She came up with great fresh ideas for the plot. Instant success! And now we celebrate book two together published this week. It’s called ALL THAT IS HIDDEN. So Clare, will you say what it’s about and how you came up with the idea?
CLARE: Molly is happily being a wife and mother at her darling house in Patchin Place when Daniel surprises her with the news that he is getting into politics. He is running on the Tammany Hall ticket and moving them into a house on Fifth Avenue! This novel deals with the Tammany political machine, corruption, the docks and a murder! When we started, all we knew was that we wanted a locked room mystery and a highly placed politician involved. In researching 1907, I was delighted to find a political fight between William Randolph Hearst and Tammany Hall. That was a gift that shaped the story. Another article led to a scene in the novel. A boat caught fire on the Hudson river and had to try to dock at several places before it could finally make fast. The crew threw passengers off the boat to save their lives. And the small dock they moored to was completely engulfed in flames. That had to make it into the novel, with Molly on board!
RHYS: Isn’t it interesting how a small spark can lead to a whole plot. Clare has found the New York Times archives is a goldmine of story ideas for us. Sometimes the smallest story leads to the best plots. It was Clare reading about a mail bag mishap and letters strewn across the track that led us to the clever twist in this story, and of course the ferry fire for bringing the characters together. So tell readers how we work together:
CLARE: According to our husbands’, we are constantly on the phone with one another! We talk through the plot and where we think the story is heading. Then we both write the scenes that we can visualize the best. We read and edit each other’s scenes. By the time we’ve finished neither of us can remember which parts we have written. It’s an organic whole! It really helps that we both work the same way. We have a direction, but not an outline. We work on building strong characters and situations and let the characters respond naturally to what is going on.
RHYS: The book is published on March 14 but we have had a launch party at the Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale on March 11 and there are plenty of signed copies if you’d like one. As to what we’ll write next: we’ve just finished Molly book 20 and it takes place in the Catskills, right at the start of the Jewish bungalow communities there. A refreshing change from city life!
Molly Murphy #19
"Retired" detective and police captain's wife Molly Murphy Sullivan tangles with Tammany Hall in the next in Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles's New York Times bestselling historical mystery series.
New York, Autumn, 1907: Former private detective Molly Murphy Sullivan is happy with her place in the world. She and her policeman husband, Daniel, have built quite a life for themselves in Greenwich Village, in their modest-yet-beautiful-home in Patchin Place, filled with family, friends, and laughter. Molly and Daniel have a good marriage, a true partnership where they value each other’s opinions in all things.
So when he tells her they’re moving to a fancy home on Fifth Avenue—and that he’s running for the sheriff of New York—Molly is left reeling. Daniel begs Molly to trust him, but why would he run for sheriff on the Tammany ticket? A party known more for kickbacks and quid pro quo than anything else, it used to be everything Daniel despised. So what’s changed? And why didn’t he discuss it with her beforehand? Molly can’t help but wonder what Daniel’s got himself tangled up in… and whether he needs her help to get out.
In this next installment in this beloved series All That Is Hidden, the incomparable Molly is drawn into the dangerous world of politics, forced to navigate through the webs of lies and deceit which are hidden behind a veil of vast wealth and grandeur.
Mystery Historical [Minotaur Books, On Sale: March 14, 2023, Hardcover / e-Book, ISBN: 9781250808097 / eISBN: 9781250808103]
Rhys Bowen is the New York Times bestselling author of fifty novels, including six stand alone historical novels. Among them are The Victory Garden, The Tuscan Child, and the World War II-based In Farleigh Field, the winner of the Left Coast Crime Award for Best Historical Mystery Novel and the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. 2021’s The Venice Sketchbook was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel of the Year. Bowen’s work has won over twenty honors to date, including multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards. Her books have been translated into thirty languages and she's now writing the Molly Murphy series with her daughter Clare. She has fans around the world, including over 60,000 Facebook followers. A transplanted Brit, Bowen divides her time between California and Arizona.
CLARE BROYLES, who is Rhys Bowen's daughter, is a teacher and a musician. She has worked as a composer and arranger in the theater for both Arizona Theater Company and Childsplay and was nominated for an Arizone "Zoni" theater award. Clare is married to a teacher and they have three children.
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