ABOUT THE BOOK
Springtime in the Hamptons comes late, but it’s worth it! Brisk walks on the bright chilly beach, cinnamon buns at tea time, blooming forsythia and . . . murder?
Innkeeper Antonia Bingham has hit her stride as the proprietor of East Hampton’s Windmill Inn. After solving a series of murders, Antonia has taken on more work as an estate manager, giving her entree her into some of the area’s most glamorous homes. Once inside, Antonia checks the heat, looks for leaks or damage, and finds the occasional dead body. As the police can’t be trusted, it’s up to Antonia—a modern day Miss Marple, with an overly enthusiastic adoration of carbs and a kamikaze love-life—to put her skills of deduction to use. Nestle in with a steaming mug of your favorite tea and get ready to peek behind the gates of the mansions of the Hamptons, as Antonia Bingham solves another shocking and devastating murder.
In the second book of the “Hamptons Murder Mystery” series, bestselling author Carrie Doyle Karasyov (The Right Address; Wolves in Chic Clothing) has brought to life a lovable character with whom readers of all ages will be dying to spend time.
INTERVIEW WITH CARRIE DOYLE
Carrie, how did you get started writing?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t write. As a child, I always kept thin blue spiral notebooks where I wrote (depressing and dramatic) poetry. I also remember reading a short story my older sister wrote and stealing the first line for a book I wrote in second grade called "Me and the Lucky Rusty Roller Skates." I still have it. The line was: “I decided to go out roller skating. I could because our road is so deserted you could skate on it for practically an hour and no cars will come.”)
In addition, my aunt was in publishing and in charge of Doubleday Book Clubs, and she paid my sister and me to write reviews of kids’ books.
What's your favorite thing about the writing process?
I really enjoy writing when I’m "on a roll." There are certain characters that just flow out of me and don’t require any work, so when I am working on them that is the most fun. In the Hamptons Murder Mystery Series, that is Larry Lipper. I feel like he is a (short) person living in my head, and I just channel him; he totally writes himself. But that is so in character for him anyway, to boss people around.
Do you have a writing routine?
I work at the New York Society Library on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It’s steps from Central Park. I work on the fifth floor quiet room where everyone is pretty serious and wants to be a writer.
Do you write every day?
I wish, but no. Never weekends.
What do you wish you’d done differently when you first started the publishing process?
I wrote my first five books with a friend, Jill Kargman, which was a blast and hilarious. But at the time, there was an editor who asked me to write an account of the time I lived in Russia, and I wasn’t yet confident to write on my own. I wish I had, because I think it would have been a good book.
Also, I really regret a missed opportunity I had in college. I went to Barnard at Columbia University, and the well-known writer Mary Gordon was my professor spring of my junior year. I did well in her class. She always asked her best students to babysit for her kids and then she would mentor them. At the end of the year, she asked me to reach out to her in the fall of my senior year to babysit for her kids. I never did because right after I returned to school my father became very sick and he died in October of my senior year. I was too distracted to follow up. But I think it would have been great for me to have been mentored.
What do you think is hardest aspect of writing a book?
I hate starting books, but love the middle and find endings satisfying. When I wrote with Jill Kargman she always wrote the first chapter.
What’s more important – characters or plot?
I think the plot is more important because that’s what keeps you turning the page. In general readers are usually on the side of the protagonist and even when it’s an unreliable narrator it takes the reader some time to realize that. So you can keep a reader with you longer if the plot is good.
How often do you read?
I go through reading binges. It all depends if I have read a good book or not. When I read a good book then I keep going and going until I read a boring one. I am currently reading two books at the same time, which is working because one is boring and the other is riveting. So I would say all the time.
What is your writing style?
Contemporary with humor.
What do you think makes a good story?
A good story is one that keeps you guessing.
What books do you currently have published?
I have eight books published. Three are teen books that I wrote with Jill Kargman, two are women’s fiction that I wrote with Jill Kargman. And three on my own (two mysteries.)
What do you know now that you wish you knew then?
I wish I knew that publishing would be hit hard in 2008 or I would have written way more before then to take advantage of the bigger advances!
Do you have any secret talents?
I speak fluent Russian. I took it in high school after I was sick of taking French, and then I majored in it at college. I spent a semester and summer in Russia in college, and then I lived and worked there for three years. My husband is Russian.
I am pretty good at tennis, golf and paddle tennis.
I love 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles.
I think I am a pretty good cook. I worked at the Barefoot Contessa for Ina Garten in college.
Is writing your dream job?
Yes, but I would love to write on the staff of a television show.
What is the worst job you’ve ever had?
I worked in the sandwich section of Mad Martha’s ice cream parlor on Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks, and I was fired. There were so many college students who wanted summer jobs that the owner was on an ego trip and would fire people every two weeks, just because he could. I also insisted on chopping the vegetables for the sandwiches, and I wasn’t supposed to do that, they said it was too time consuming. But it looked weird to have these giant chunks of vegetables in tiny pita pockets! After that jerk fired me I went to East Hampton and worked at the Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten was a class act. If you watch her show or read her cookbooks and wonder if she is really that amazing the answer is yes! She really respected her staff.
If you could only watch one television station for a year, what would it be?
Amazon! I am loving Bosch and The Americans, and they have Downton Abbey and every movie.
How often do you tweet?
How do you feel about Facebook?
I love Facebook. I am on it multiple times a day, mostly because I am addicted to Lexulous and play it every time I need a break.
For what would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as a good mother and the world’s best selling author.
What scares you the most?
Something bad happening to my children.
Would you make a good character in a book?
I think my years in Moscow would make a pretty good story. I moved over there when I was 23 to help launch the Russian edition of Harper’s Bazaar Magazine. Sharon Stone was on our first cover, and I said "Hey, it would be a great idea to have Sharon come to the launch party!” Be careful what you wish for. I organized her tour, and she behaved very, very badly. Her demands were endless (at the time she was nominated for an Academy Award for Casino), and I had to secure landing rights for her private jet in the center of Moscow and a police escort to the hotel (actually all it took was a bottle of vodka at the time). The two owners of the hotel where the launch party was taking place were battling each other and vying for her attention. One was American and one was the leader of the Chechnyan Mafia. I had to be the intermediary for that, which was very dramatic. They both had bodyguards because they were trying to kill one another (six weeks after the party the American was gunned down by one of his own bodyguards). Needless to say it was high drama. I was rewarded by my boss, though, and became the founding Editor-in-Chief of the Russian edition of Marie Claire Magazine. I was twenty-four, and I was being jetted around first class to Milan and Paris to all the fashion shows and having dinner at the palace in Monaco and meeting Prince Albert. It all feels like a dream now. But it was super fun.
What five things would you never want to live without?
Well, I hate to admit it, but a TV! I’d also have to say a super long jigsaw puzzle to keep me occupied.
What’s one thing you never leave the house without?
What do you love about where you live?
Well, I live in both NYC and East Hampton, New York. I much prefer East Hampton. I prefer living in a house where I can spread out. It is quiet, I have a yard. I can cook or do puzzles or write. The town is beautiful, there are great beaches and farm stands. I have a lot of friends there. I can hear the ocean from my bedroom.
What’s your favorite thing to do on date night?
I like to go out to dinner on a date night. Italian preferably.
What's your favorite treat for movie night?
What’s your favorite fast food?
I love pizza. I could eat pizza all day long. Every day. But if you mean fast food from a chain, I love the veggie burger from Burger Fi. I have never had one like it. It’s delicious.
What’s your favorite beverage?
Red wine. Then seltzer, coffee, tea, beer, and water. I don’t like soda. Oh, I like the occasional margarita.
What drives you crazy?
I absolutely cannot stand it when people cut lines. I freak out. I could wait on the longest line as long as it is done with organization, but I cannot handle cutters.
Name one thing you’re really good at and one thing you’re really bad at.
I am really bad at singing and have a terrible voice. I am also really bad at dieting. I am good at eating carbs! I am very good at writing speeches and college/business school essays. I love writing them! I could start a business doing it, I guess.
What do you wish you could do?
I wish I could travel more often.
What is one of your happiest moments?
I really loved living in Moscow, it was so fun. I met my husband there, and I had a great job, and I felt like I was really in the middle of things as history was happening. I loved having my kids when I lived in LA. It was a happy time living there when they were little.
What do you like to do when there’s nothing to do?
I like to do my jigsaw puzzle or read a Sue Grafton book. I like to watch TV. And I love playing tennis or paddle tennis.
Where is your favorite place to visit?
I love the Dominican Republic and have gone there every year for the past ten years.
What’s your least favorite chore?
I hate walking my dogs. One, Scruff, does not like to walk. He just wants to sit there and feel the breeze in his hair. And Boo is very nervous and hates to walk and is always dragging me home. So I have one who won’t move and the other who won’t stop moving. It’s tedious. Plus, Boo often embarrasses the family by barking at other dogs, which we (my husband, kids, and I) all find so tacky.
Would you rather be a movie star, sports star, or rock star?
Movie star, because I think it’s the easiest of the three. Although having been on a lot of movie sets, it is super boring, and there is a lot of sitting around. The perks are incredible. But it also would have been fun to be a professional golfer or tennis player.
Do you give your characters any of your bad traits?
Like me, Antonia can’t diet. And she is super nosy like me.
What’s your favorite Internet site?
Facebook and Dailymail.co.uk—also nypost.com and ehstar.com
What’s in your refrigerator right now?
I always have Parmesan cheese, it goes with everything! And lemons and limes, hoping that someone will make me a margarita. But really, lemons go with everything. I also stock almond milk, whole milk, and vegetables at all times.
What is the most daring thing you've done?
I think it was bold to quit a good job in magazines in Manhattan and leave an amazing apartment to move to Moscow to start over when I knew not one person there.
What is the stupidest thing you've ever done?
I guess see above?
What choices in life would you like to have a redo on?
I would have thought out my writing career a bit better. I wish I had a good agent. My first book agent was fired by my agency and left the biz, and I had quite liked her. Then I had two who were very nice people but not right for me. I finally found one who was perfect for me and it was very exciting but, tragically, she died. I wish I could have had one agent that I just stuck with and who would have helped to shape my career.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
"To whom much has been given, much will be expected." From the Book of Luke in the Bible. I say that to my boys all the time.
Where is your favorite library, and what do you love about it?
I love the East Hampton Library! I am actually a Committee Co-Chair for Author’s Night, which is their biggest fundraiser. Every year we invite between 90-100 authors to come and sign their books, then many of them go to people’s houses for fund-raising dinners. Anyone can buy tickets to the dinners and meet the authors. I am involved in finding authors to participate and hosts to open their homes for the dinners. The money is spent on outreach programs because the library also acts as a community center.
Who is your favorite fictional character?
Elizabeth Bennett! Pride and Prejudice is my favorite book. I just love Elizabeth. She is so quick-witted and smart, but she also gains self-awareness.
If you had a talk show who would your dream guest be?
Stephen F. Cohen. He is an expert on Russia. I find the American press very biased against Russia, and I think he is very thoughtful and impartial.
What’s one thing that very few people know about you?
Here’s a few, take your pick:
In high school, I went on a class trip to Uzbekistan, which I think is kind of random.
I lived in Europe (Moscow, France, and London) for six years.
Gwyneth Paltrow was a bridesmaid in my wedding. We went to school together as kids and we’re still friends.
In college, I read Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina in Russian.
I was a comedy writer in Hollywood for years. I only had one movie made—Intern, but I sold several scripts to Paramount, Showtime, Oxygen Network, and Nickelodeon amongst others.
I was interviewed by Ann Curry on the Today Show.
You have a personal chef for the night. What would you ask him to prepare?
I think about this all the time! My favorite show is Top Chef, and I have a fantasy of them showing up at my door asking if they can prepare dinner for me. I would love it!
Okay, first some lightly seared tuna thinly sliced on a wonton or potato. Then I’d love some white truffle pasta as well as butter poached lobster. A really good salad—inventive, one that I could not make myself, followed by panna cotta with berries. Or maybe a butterscotch pudding.
How do you like your pizza?
Plain! I also sometimes like it with mushrooms, green olives, and capers when I am feeling racy.
What is the wallpaper on your computer’s desktop?
A photo of my dog Boo. My son set it up. My dog Scruff is on my phone.
What’s your favorite song?
"Lose Yourself" by Eminem.
What’s your biggest pet peeve about writing?
That it is solitary and stationary.
What is your favorite movie?
When Harry Met Sally.
Do you have a favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice but I also love The Secret History by Donna Tartt and most everything I have read by Tolstoy. I also LOVE Michael Connelly and have read every single book he ever wrote. And American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is another fave. Vladimir Nabokov is my favorite writer. I did my senior thesis on him and his niece was my professor and thesis advisor! I love Sue Grafton and Agatha Christie also.
What are you working on now?
Death on West End Road, the third Hamptons Murder Mystery Series!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Connect with Carrie:
Webpage | GoodReads | Amazon | Publisher Page
Buy the book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo