Friday, October 16, 2009

A Crime Fiction Couple Tells All to Kaye Barley

At midnight an unnamed source provided the Stiletto Gang with a copy of the following interview, conducted by Kaye Barley, owner of Meanderings and Muses - one of those subversive blogs mentioned only in hushed whispers behind closed doors. The Stiletto Gang reprints this interview in the interests of justice and as a public service. Note: No names were changed to protect anyone. (Because of the late hour we were unable to reach Kaye Barley for confirmation that these are her words and that the meeting described below actually took place. Calls to her residence elicited only a "no comment" from an individual identified only as Harley.)

Two-on-Two Interview of Crime Fiction Couple by Kaye Barley

I, Kaye Barley, being of sound mind and body, caught up with Robert W. Walker and wife Miranda Phillips Walker in Kill Devil Hills, NC in a shady, seedy dark dive that specialized in exotic drinks and an ocean breeze, as the bar amounted to a garage door that opened and closed on the sea. You know the type of place where seagulls and pelicans pick apart the leavings from your table? Where paper towels stand in for napkins? Where tattooed servers look like meth heads? The Walkers were doing research, and it was the only time I could see them for an interview before they left NC. I found them in a jolly, receptive mood here at Buck’s Gunshop and Oyster Bar.

My initial question broke the ice as I sat across the picnic bench from the infamous crime writing duo, asking, “So how have you two managed to only kill off fictional characters with two crime novelists under one roof?” Rob, whose latest is DEAD ON, Five Star Books and Mianda;s latest and first is The Well Meaning Killer from Krill Press, turned to one another and smiled wide.

Rob sardonically replied, “Both our books are enjoying rave reviews. No reason for any ahhh…in-house bloodshed, right dear?”

Miranda nodded appreciatively. “The wonder is that the dogs in both our books also managed to survive.”

I asked, “I understand your son, Stephen, did the artwork and cover design for Dead On, and it is a fantastic cover.

Rob perked up at this. “The kid’s got his own graphic arts biz, and he’s a genius at it. How many publishers do you know who go with a cover designed by the author’s son?”

Miranda smiled proudly. “Stephen’s helped us with promotion material and business cards as well. It’s all in the family. And while my cover art is not designed by Stephen, it’s pretty hot, too!”

Recording the answers, I next asked, “What’re you two hoping to find here in the Outer Banks? I understand you’re doing research for your next book?”

Miranda shouted, “Oh, oh—this one’s for me. My sequel to The Well Meaning Killer is set here, and while we’ve visited the area before, Rob says there’s nothing like firsthand research for a book—especially if I’m footing the hotel bill.”

Rob leapt in with, “She’s seriously researching, and I’m seriously on R&R—came for the beach, the sun, surf, Buck’s Oysters, the Wright Brothers museum, the nightlife. But I think a setting with the name Kill Devil Hills in itself tells a reader to be on the look-out.”

“I see, so this will be a continuation of Megan McKenna’s FBI casework, eh?” I asked.

“That’s right, and I bring on some new characters to kill off! Bringing back some characters, who didn’t die in The Well Meaning Killer.”

Rob piped in with, “I think only Max, the dog, survived that last one, hon.”

“Nooooo! Some people survived that book as well.”

“Here I thought you were trying to trump my body count,” Rob joked and sipped at his Blue Moon.

At this point, I felt I should ask another question or order a drink. I did both. “Rob, you don’t intend to use Kill Devil Hills in a sequel to Dead On or another title?”

“When I set a book in New Orleans, I do NOT use Anne Rice’s cemetery, and I also steer clear of anything smacking of James Lee Burke, so as to make my New Orleans unique. Using Kill Devil Hills on the “heels” of Miranda Phillips Walker, no way. Colorful place but no way.”

Miranda muttered in his ear, “That’s OK, Rob, if he wanna use the location in the future sometime.” Rob pouted and said it was spoiled now for him.

“Will you two ever collaborate on a book?” I asked and man did this break up the bit of bickering.

They looked like two deer caught in the headlights. And both said at once, “No, no, no,” as in a chant. Then they added, “Maybe, maybe, maybe.”

“We love one another too much for that,” Miranda suggested.

“Family is far more important than fame, fortune, or any of that sort of nonsense,” added Rob, the two of them talking over one another in a rush. “However,” added Rob, “never say never. If the right idea came along, and if we can put our egos on the shelf, who knows?”

“Stranger things have happened,” added Miranda. “But honestly, we do read over one another’s work, and we do take good direction from one another.

“Yeah we do help one another throughout the process,” added Rob, “but more importantly, we maintain a respectful relationship toward one another in all we do.”

“Well this has been splendid but time’s run out for me.”

“That sounds like a line in a gangster movie…Curtains for ya…time’s run out for ya, Blackey,” joked Rob and Miranda grabbed him by the arm and tugged him to her. I left the couple in high spirits and laughter amid the music of Buck’s Gunshop and Oyster Bar, but the partners in crime fiction insisted on walking me safely to my car. Outside, the three of us strolled along a thumping, withered old wharf, surrounded by sea oats, below a huge moon over the ocean. At my car, we said our good-byes.

“ I surely wish to thank you and it’s wonderful you two know how to enjoy yourselves in wonderful North Carolina! I never knew this place existed.”

“You gotta go so soon?” asked Rob.

Yeah, the night’s young,” added Miranda.

I slipped into my car with photos taken and recording done wondering if I could sell this thing on eBay or even to Writer’s Crack Me Up Journal, unsure really what I had just faced, but on waking the next day and reviewing my notes, I realized wow, an interesting review overall and I figure Meanderings and Muses could use an infusion of the Walker mystique

For more info on Robert find him on the web where writers hang out and at

For more info on Miranda find her on the web where writers hang out and at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much Rhonda for having us and Kaye in Boone at Stilleto Gang. We had a blast.