Weave a Murderous Web


Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks

You work as a team writing books together. Do you ever disagree on the plot, where to take a character or a storyline? If so, how do you resolve the issue?

Anne: We do argue about all of these things, but we usually work them out by—

Ken: No, no, no, Anne. Give them drama! We slap and punch. We kick and bite. We fight each other with knives—

Anne: We have never done that. We take a walk. We talk and talk until we each understand what the other is saying. Just like in the rest of our marriage.

Ken: Want to see my scars?

Anne: Pull your shirt down, Ken.

What inspired you to write “Weave a Murderous Web?”

Ken: We met this attorney in a bar. Her name was Jane Larson, and she said she had a story to tell. Six hours and a bottle of cheap bourbon later, she had dictated the entire book to us.

Anne: Why are you lying? Jane Larson is the main character in three novels we’ve written. In Weave a Murderous Web, she is also the narrator. She’s a smart and sometimes sarcastic woman who doesn’t take any guff from men, or women either for that matter. But she’s a fictional character. We made her up. Without us, she wouldn’t exist.

Ken: Jane is made up? She seems so real!

Anne: Let me talk from now on, okay?

Ken: Will you put the knife away?

You have written books in various genres. Do you have a favorite genre that you prefer to write (i.e. mystery vs. young adult, etc.)?

Anne: You want to do this one? It’s almost impossible to mess this one up.

Ken: Sure. What’s a genre?

Anne: (Rolls her eyes). We write for middle readers, tweens, and adults. We write fantasies, mysteries, thrillers, and mainstream novels. Which is your favorite?

Ken: Yes.

Anne: That’s not an answer. Which do you like to write the best.

Ken: I like whichever one we are writing at the moment.

Anne: Okay. That’s an answer.

Ken: High five!

How do you decide who writes and who comes up with the ideas?

Anne: We do a lot of talking. Once we start writing, whatever is written is given to the other person to re-write. It is then given back to the first person and so on, again and again through several drafts until we are happy with the result.

Ken: Then we work it over some more.

Are the two of you currently writing a new book?

Anne: Yes—

Ken: No— Wait we are?

Anne: Sort of. I’ve been working on a new Jane Larson novel. It hasn’t gotten very far. Just a few pages. I…what’s the matter?

Ken: You live with a person for forty-five years and you think you know them… And then one day…

Anne: Calm down. I was just about to show it to you. I promise…Ken, are you crying?

Ken: It’s just some dust. No, dirt. Forty-five years of dirt!

Anne: Next question, please.

Who are your favorite Authors?

Anne: Kurt Vonnegut, Charles Dickens, Colleen McCullough.

Ken: Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, William Penn Warren, Norman Mailer…wow.

Anne: Wow, what?

Ken: Forty-five years and poof!

Anne: Let it go, Ken.

What are your favorite books?

Ken: Is this a trick question?

Anne: Why do you ask?

Ken: Wouldn’t the answer have to be the books written by our favorite authors?

Anne: I think she wants some actual titles. Like The Thorn Birds, or Sirens of Titan, or Bleak House.

Ken: That’s gotta cost extra, right?

Anne: I…never mind. Let’s move on.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what is it?

Ken: Let me do this one. I write something and give it to Anne. She rewrites and gives back to me. I rewrite and give back to her. She rewrites and gives back to me.—

Anne: I think she gets the point, Ken.

Ken: I thought I knew you after 45 years. No…wait…more like 47. That’s how long we’ve actually known each other.

Anne: Let it go!

Before you started writing, what fields did you work in?

Anne: We have been writing together since we were in college.

Ken: So, technically, we started writing before we worked in any field.

Anne: Nice point. But way back when, I worked as an editor for a publisher and you went to law school.

Ken: That’s where I met Jane Larson. What a beauty she was.

Anne: What are you talking about?

Ken: I have my secrets too.

When you are writing your book, do you know how it is going to end or does the writing process lead you to the end?

Anne: Always—

Ken: Never—

Anne: Shall we try again on that one?

Ken: Sure.

Anne: Never.

Ken: Always.

Anne: Much better that time.

You have written several books. Do you have a favorite book out of the ones you have written? If so which is it?

Anne; Good question. I think that I would—

Ken: No, don’t answer! It’s like saying you like one of our children better than the others. They are all special to us. We love them all. They are part of us.

Anne: That’s actually semi-intelligent.

Ken: Plus, they might hear you and start to cry?

Anne: Our children?

Ken: No, our books. Isn’t this whole interview about our books?

Anne: Almost done, Ken. Stay focused.

Are your characters ever based on people in your life? If so, how do people react to that? If not, have you ever named your characters after people in your personal life?

Anne: We’ve actually never done a character based on someone we know.

Ken: Not completely true.

Anne: Jane Larson doesn’t count, Ken. She is a made-up character.

Ken: Larson is also my Grandmother’s maiden name. Tindall (in Things Are Not What They Seem) is my great-grandmother’s maiden name.

Anne: What’s in a name?

Ken: I just told you they belong to my grandmother and great-grandmother.

Anne: Never mind. Sorry. I forgot them.

Ken: I forgive you.

Do you ever have a period of time where you do not write at all so you can rejuvenate?

Anne: You mean getting away by myself, just to be alone with my thoughts, solitary, free?

Ken: you have this glazed look in your eye, Anne. Are you okay?

Anne: Just a short daydream. I’m back.

Reading is an escape for me. I find it to be very relaxing. What do you do to relax?

Anne: Yoga, exercise classes, reading, walking, cookies, watching old movies, travel, photography.

Ken: I like to follow Anne around.