We have a special treat today, an interview by author Rory Tate. Tate questions the protagonist of the new thriller JUMP CUT, television reporter Mimi Raynard, about the events portrayed in the novel.
Mimi: Oh, you’ve noticed. The problem is that I am a very good editor and all the other reporters want my help putting together snappy, compelling stories. And the anchorwoman is always needing something at Nordstrom’s. There is also the problem of my boss.
Tate: You don’t get along with your boss?
Mimi: You might say that. We were married for nearly five years. We met in Spokane, where I worked at a TV station. Corey sold Toyotas back then but wanted to get into TV. So I helped him.
Tate: That was nice of you.
Mimi: Wasn’t it? We both got new jobs in Seattle at K-POW. Then he, well, we split up. Then the worst thing happened. He became news director.
Tate: Your boss.
Mimi: So he can decide what assignments he wants to give me. It was a slow summer. I did a live feed from the funnel cake booth at the fair. Big whoop. Then a bunch of reporters got sick and I got a plum assignment. It was a triple homicide, pretty awful stuff, but for a reporter it was, you know, smoking hot. Heroin overdoses. I was so excited. But somehow I blew it.
Tate: Was it on the air, live?
Mimi: My grandmother, who raised me and is very elderly, had fallen down and just before I was set to go on live, the Ukrainian housekeeper, Sveta, called me. I was so worried about Gran. Then I lost the notes. Then… well, you get the picture.
Tate: Back up. Your grandmother raised you?
Mimi: My parents broke up when I was little. My mother died when I was nine and my father, well, he was busy traveling the world as an engineer-for-hire. I hadn’t seen Buck for fifteen years when he resurfaced.
Tate: He sounds like a free spirit.
Mimi: That’s putting it mildly. He got kicked out of Stanford for building a bomb to blow up the ROTC building. Things have pretty much spiraled out of control ever since for old Buck.
Tate: Do you think you inherited some of that free spirit?
Mimi: Not too much, I hope, because Buck is not exactly good-human material, if you know what I mean. I do like to travel. Strange places don’t scare me. Strange men sometimes do, but not the exotic places. I get myself into some dicey situations sometimes. But I use the old noodle to get myself out of trouble, as the Ukrainians would say.
Tate: Are there a lot of Ukrainians and Russians in the Seattle area?
Mimi: It’s just a hop over the pond from Vladivostok. There are Russian Orthodox churches and great Russian pastries and whole families who have emigrated.
Tate: So you might find a Russian “babushka” like in the book?
Mimi: Oh, sure, a granny complete with headscarf who speaks no English. The kids or grandkids bring her over with them. Some of them came before the fall of the Soviet Union, some after.
Tate: But your babushka in the book is… ah…
Mimi: Fake? Yes. One of my more clever blunders. I can do a great Russian accent. I had a part in Fiddler on the Roof in high school. For awhile I thought I might be an actress but I came to my senses and went to journalism school.
Tate: Why did you fake your babushka?
Mimi: Well, remember what I said about my ex being my boss? I needed a new job, badly.
Tate: Let’s talk about this narcotics detective.
Mimi: Mmmm. Shad Mulgrew. Yeah, he has his problems too. He got suspended from the force for allegedly stealing drugs from evidence.
Tate: Are there a lot of drug problems in Seattle? I mean, I’ve heard about Kurt Cobain and all that…
Mimi: Heroin goes up and down. Sometimes there’s a rash of deaths, then things cool off. But yes, there are plenty of drugs in Seattle, easy to get, easy to smuggle in with all the fishing boats and cargo ships. It’s a big problem.
Tate: And Shad Mulgrew is working on it?
Mimi: Until he gets framed. Then he has to figure out who framed him. That’s a big puzzle. I don’t want to give too much away but we end up working together so solve both our problems.
Tate: Can I ask if you’re back on the air?
Mimi: You can ask. But I don’t have to answer.
Tate: One last question: What were you for Halloween this year?
Mimi: A fat Russian grandma with three chins, of course. I had the costume. Whose idea was that? Remind me never to drink Cosmos, okay?
Tate: Martinis only for now on. Oh, what is a jump cut anyway?
Mimi: It’s an editing term for a rough transition that makes an object look like it jumps. Could be a rough transition in life though. I’ve had a few of those and they’re no picnic.
Read about Mimi in JUMP CUT, out now from Thalia Press. Check out the trailer and first chapters at rorytate.com.