Suspension of Disbelief – an interview with author Rita Lakin
So, Rita, what drove you to write a totally unbelievable series?
Purely by accident. When I left “show biz”, I decided to finally write a novel after 25 years of churning out television scripts. I wanted to write about my mother and aunts and other relatives who retired to a condo in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. But as I started to write it, I knew it wouldn’t sell; not a novel about old people getting older. Definitely depressing. Because I was so ingrained with writing and selling “commercial,” ideas, I decided to turn them into elderly private eyes. And because my relatives were so unknowingly funny in real life, I knew it had to be a comedy. Ergo – a humorous crime series. And to my surprise, I found that I had written a parody of the PI genre.
Tell us about your characters and plots–in what ways are they unbelievable?
I realized that I didn’t have to make things up. Florida turned out to be rich in totally nonsensical craziness. For an example of the outrageous: my senior citizen characters go to the pool for their morning swim, only to find, after jumping in, a lost alligator terrifying them. True story.
Example – This made the news. A woman stopped a thief from robbing her by hitting him with her cane. Within a few weeks, “Cane Fu” shops blossomed, teaching seniors how to protect themselves with canes. True story.
So my plots were easily believingly unbelievable, and wonderfully funny. Like the case of an 86 year old woman who hires our girls to stalk her 89 year old husband to find out if he was cheating on her.
My elderly ladies on stakeout are hilarious. What with “ blankies” for comfort, cards, knitting, and enough snacks for a month. And when they need to go to the bathroom…
Picture a chase scene: the perp is driving 90 mph on the freeway; my elderly ladies are pursuing him at 35 mph on the city streets. They don’t go on the freeway. Not them. Especially at night.
The plots are funny, the characters are funny. And easy to come up with loveable “villains” like the 80 year old Grandpa bandit who robbed banks.
The alligator in the pool, Cane Fu, Grandpa bandit – All these stories were true, unbelievable as they might seem. A wealth of story material waiting to be harvested.
Your Getting Old is Murder series is still going strong. What’s up next for Gladdy and her girls?
Books eight and nine are soon to be available: GETTING OLD CAN HURT YOU and GETTING OLD WILL HAUNT YOU. In the first novel, an angry grandchild comes to wreak havoc on the condo and in the second, Gladdy and her girls deal with a most amazing client who demands they solve a murder. Funny stuff.
Author Rita Lakin worked in Hollywood as a script writer and then a producer of her own shows. Some of the shows she worked on were: Peyton Place, Mod Squad and Dynasty. Lakin wrote her memoir of those years spent in that world: THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE ROOM – Episodes in My Life and Career as a Television Writer.
GETTING OLD CAN HURT YOU
Life in sunny Fort Lauderdale’s Lanai Gardens is turned upside-down when Ida’s long-lost granddaughter, Tori, gate-crashes the ladies’ deli lunch, demanding protection from men she insists are out to kill her. Determined to assist Ida and her granddaughter, Gladdy Gold’s Detective Agency is on the case.
But the stubborn and secretive Tori is not easy to help, regularly sneaking off to the puzzlement of Gladdy and her girls. A series of family secrets leaves a grudge heavy in the air between Tori and Ida: will Gladdy’s gals be able to reunite the warring pair in time to figure out who the sinister men chasing Tori are?
(PUB DATE 10/1/18 SEVERN HOUSE)
GETTING OLD WILL HAUNT YOU
While the men of Lanai Gardens are off on safari, Evvie and Gladdy worry about their grumpy PI partners. The girls are bored. No cases in such a long time! So when a caller in Key West wants to hire the team to solve a murder, Gladdy says yes—maybe too quickly. The girls are thrilled. Key West: a great place to sight-see, too.
Sadly, on the day they leave, Ida is too ill to travel. Suddenly their annoying neighbor, Hy, has gone missing and Ida, feeling better, has to tackle this on her own.
Gladdy’s case is fraught with strange goings-on, a bizarre client and a murder that nobody believes happened. Meanwhile Ida has to deal with Hy’s awkward secret life. Will the girls, in each of their situations, muddle through their hilarious misadventures?
(PUB DATE 6/19 SEVERN HOUSE)