Monday, May 27, 2013

Interview Monday with Mary Jane and Vicki as Victoria Abbott

Please welcome to ‘Jamie Tremain-Remember the Name’ the always funny, author Mary Jane Maffini and her daughter Victoria Maffini as Victoria Abbott 

MJ: Thank you, Pam. We are really happy to be here at ‘Jamie Tremain. We will remember the Name’ and we’re looking forward to airing the family secrets.

       PAM: Thank you both for the opportunity to speak with you about your collaboration. I have read “The Christie Curse”, and without giving anything away I found the book to have seamless writing. It’s fast paced with interesting characters. There is an undercurrent of humour in all your writing Mary Jane, sometimes tongue in cheek. Victoria comes by her humour honestly. When you’re writing together, and with the knowledge that some relationships can be fraught with danger, especially mums and daughters; was there more crying than laughing? 

MJ:  There was a certain amount of crying from laughing too hard, but no real weeping. Of course, we kept the tissues close by in case. As we’re sure you know, it is an adjustment to write together, but there was no lasting emotional trauma from the experience. 

Pam: What do you like most about the writing life? Is it the plotting, the first draft, the rewriting and revising, the marketing? Or being your own boss?

Victoria: I hope one day to be promoted to “the boss of me’.

MJ: I really love not getting up early in the morning. Plus I get very excited about the idea for the plot of a new book. The worst part is sweating out the first draft. I love rewriting and revising. Hate (not too strong a word) proofreading. And really, there’s nothing like the thrill of holding the finished book in your hand.

Pam: When starting a new book- Character or plot driven?

Victoria: It’s fifty-fifty for me. What would these characters do in this horrible situation I’m about to drop them into?

MJ: I enjoy a good plot (reading or writing), but my first love is character. The right characters can make any situation interesting – say, a trip to the mailbox, opening the fridge, you name it.

Pam: As this experience was a learning curve for both of you what did you learn most about the other that you will treasure?

Victoria:  She's my Mom, so I would like to think I already treasured quite a lot about her.  I've always loved reading her books, but it's nice to have her guidance while writing my first.
Mary Jane: I learned that Victoria is even funnier than I realized (although I’ve known her for ages) and very quick with ideas even under difficult circumstances. She’s a bit wicked too. Shhh.

Pam:  Many authors use music as a theme throughout their books. Cooking and recipes, and food in general play a big part in yours. Who is the better cook?

MJ, Victoria: MJ really loves to cook. Check out her recipes every second Saturday on

Victoria would rather grow the food and eat it. She’s in charge of all greenery in the book collector mysteries.

Pam:  Jamie Tremain is also a collaboration; can you give us some insight into your writing process?

MJ:  So far it’s been whatever works whenever we can fit it in. There’s been a certain amount of drama in the last couple of years and we’ve had to be flexible to get the job done. The main thing is that the book doesn’t belong to either one of us, so it’s key to listen, accommodate and compromise.  What works best is sitting across the table from each other (or on speaker phone) and working through scenes, plot points and character development together. We each have our domains: Victoria does all the research on antiques, vintage wear, locations, and big old houses. MJ reads the biographies of the author we’re focusing on (Christie, Sayers) and rereads their books. Well, maybe not all the Christies!

Although we create many scenes together, Victoria writes the action with Jordan’s friends, Lance, Tiffany, and, of course, Walter the Pug. MJ writes the literary fantasy scenes, the meals, and (for her sins) scenes with Vera Van Alst.
Our process is a work in progress and who knows what we’ll do in book three.

Pam:  Your next book in the series is coming out this December. Does this mean you have started on the third? 

MJ:   Yes! The Sayers Swindle will hit the shelves (and e-readers) in December 2013. We’ve just seen the cover. What do you think? Hint: we love it.

We have started on the third book collector mystery. The Wolfe Widow (an outing for Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin) is scheduled for September 2014.

Thank you both for being our guests today. We wish you well with your new series.

Victoria Abbott is a collaboration between the always very funny and creative artist, photographer and short story author, Victoria Maffini and her mother, Mary Jane Maffini, award-winning author of three mystery series and two dozen short stories. Their miniature dachshunds are understandably outraged that a pug and some Siamese cats have wiggled their way into the series.
The first in their new book collector series is The Christie Curse, March 2013 and The Sayers Swindle, the second in the series, is due out in December 2013.

Find Victoria on Facebook
Or follow them on twitter @abbottmysteries  They’re dying to tweet you. 

If you've enjoyed this interview please subscribe to the blog by leaving your email address at the top of the page. Stay tuned for next months surprise author interview.

Talk soon,

Pam and Liz


Liz said...

A doubly terrific interview Pam - well done :-)

Libby Dodd said...

A wonderful book. A great read.

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