I’m also delighted to have Jode Millman with us on Meet the Author today. We’re chatting about what happened when she met Denzel Washington, all things creative, rock’n’roll, her most recent book, The Midnight Call and much more….
Crime Fiction, Romantic Suspense
What inspired you to start writing and where do you get your ideas?
My debut novel, THE MIDNIGHT CALL, was inspired by a brutal homicide that occurred in my hometown of Poughkeepsie, New York in 1979. Similar to THE MIDNIGHT CALL, the true crime was committed by a popular teacher who maimed and butchered a student who was randomly trespassing through his yard late one night. The actual incident was personal to me because I had been one of the real killer’s students. Also, I knew the victim’s family, the judges and the attorneys involved. To this day, our community still remains in shock over this tragedy.
For some reason, our small city has its share of bizarre murders, and my series draws upon those murders for inspiration.
How many books have you written and published?
I have written three non-fiction books – SEATS guides to Broadway and the Chicago theater scene, which were published by Hal Leonard Publishing. My debut thriller, The Midnight Call, was my first novel and I was fortunate to have it published by Immortal Works Publishing. They discovered me through a Twitter Pitchfest!
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
Growing up, I always loved the movies, so I wanted to be a movie director. I wanted to tell stories through the medium of cinema. When I was accepted into the Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, I opted to attend the Maxwell of Public Policy and I became an attorney instead. Interestingly, lawyers communicate their client’s stories to the judges, juries and decision makers, which then lead me to become a fiction writer. I guess that I really wanted to be a storyteller all along, and finally found my medium in crime fiction.
What other jobs have you done other than being an author?
As I mentioned, I’m an attorney and my strong interest in literature led me to obtain my Masters in English Literature from Easter Michigan University. With that degree, I was able to teach Law and Literature at the University of Detroit Mercy Law School, which was terrific. We examined everything from Dickens to Harper Lee to Elmore Leonard.
And while I was in law school in the 1970’s, I was a rock’n roll DJ on WPDH – “The Home of Rock and Roll.” I had a weekend shift and got to meet everyone from Tony Bennett to the Beach Boys to Elton John. And most importantly, I met my husband at the radio station, where he was one of their “star” DJ’s. We’ve been married for 38 years and we still know how to rock’n roll.
Other than writing, what else do you enjoy doing?
Of course, I enjoy reading, and do read all genres. I’m fortunate to be able to write book reviews for Booktrib.com, so I’ve been exposed to great writers outside the crime genre like Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Terry McMillan, as well as outstanding crime writers like Tana French and Louise Penny.
Aside from the written word, I’m a watercolour painter. My husband and I love to travel, and we combined our hobbies of golf and photography with travels around the globe.
This year, we put in a vegetable garden, so I suppose you can add gardener to the list.
Due to the pandemic, I’ve had to forgo attending concerts, cinema and theatre, but I’m hopeful that we’ll all be able to enjoy those activities soon.
Describe yourself using three words only……
Perseverant, Creative, Family-oriented
If a movie was made about your life, what genre would it be, who would you want to play you and what would its title be?
It could definitely be a comedy called “You can’t make this shit up.” There would have to be several actresses playing each decade. Among the group would definitely be Rachel Brosnahan, Susan Sarandon, Jennifer Lawrence, Christine Baranski and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Meryl Streep would be welcome in the group as well.
If you could travel anywhere (world/universe etc!) where would you go and why?
Right now, I’d travel somewhere where I could see the Aurora Borealis. That could be Finland, Iceland or Northern Canada. I’d love to capture photos and video of the majestic night sky as it changes colour. It’s definitely a natural phenomenon that I’m going to see before my time on earth is done.
What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you (that you’re willing to share?!)
My husband and I went to see Denzel Washington on Broadway when he was staring in “Julius Caesar.” After the production, we were able to meet Denzel (who happens to have the same birthday as me – day and year). My husband shook Denzel’s hand, and said, “You’re shorter than I thought you were.” To which Denzel replied “That’s your problem.”
That was an embarrassing exchange, especially since my husband knew that I adored Denzel…However years later, we were watching Denzel in the remake of “The Taking of Pelham 1-2-3.” The villain, played by John Travolta, addresses Denzel’s character and says…
“You’re shorter than I though you were.” You can guess Denzel’s reply! We were stunned!
An embarrassing situation became Hollywood gold!
What is something you can’t live without?
My family. And Dark Chocolate. And Wine.
And finally, tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it?
Late one night, Attorney Jessie Martin’s mentor and popular high school teacher Terrence Butterfield calls, admits he’s killed someone and pleads for Jessie’s help. She rushes to his aid, unaware that she’s risking her love, her career, her life and her unborn child. When the police arrive, her presence raises questions concerning her role in the slaughter of the teenage boy found in Terrence’s basement. Did Terrence call her as a lawyer or a friend? Was she somehow responsible for the murder? To prove her innocence, Jessie must untangle the web of betrayals and the shocking truths behind the homicide.
thank you so much for coming and chatting with me jode – what a fascinating interview!
If you have any questions or comments for Jode, make sure you. get in touch.
Enjoy the rest of your day lovelies.