Leslie O'Kane is a happy empty-nester who lives with her one-and-only husband in Boulder, Colorado. Here, Leslie and her alter ego, Molly Masters, interview each other.
LESLIE: Today I'm interviewing Molly Masters, a thirty-something, happily married mother of two who creates humorous e-Cards for a living, and who has a propensity for turning up dead bodies. Thank you for consenting to this interview, Molly.
MOLLY: Does that mean I had a choice?
LESLIE: Actually, no. I was just being polite. So tell me, Molly, what is it with you and murder? How do you keep managing to stumble across all of these dead bodies?
MOLLY: I fail to understand that myself. It all started when I moved back to my hometown in upstate New York, and my least-favorite high school teacher was murdered a few days later. Since then, two of my neighbors have been murdered, as was the former owner of my house. That's part of the reason I went away on a nice vacation to Colorado...a working vacation, actually. I'd decided to run a greeting-card workshop in the mountains. Want to know what one of the very first card ideas from an attendee was? "Violets are blue. Roses are red. One of you bitches will soon be dead!" And then guess what happened?
LESLIE: Someone was killed?
MOLLY: Exactly. I'm developing a complex about people dying in my presence. To be honest, Leslie, it seems as if every time you get annoyed with someone in your life, I wind up finding a dead body! You're turning me into the Lizzie Borden of the greeting-card industry!
LESLIE: Sorry about that. Tell me about your children, Molly. You have a daughter who is twelve and a ten-year-old son, right?
MOLLY: I sure do. Karen and Nathan. They're the greatest kids in the world...bright and articulate, though Nathan is both a compulsive cleaner and a consummate pessimist. Karen is happy and fairly easy-going, though she's showing signs of teenage-ness creeping up on her. In fact, have you ever noticed how similar they are to your own children?
LESLIE: Yes, although the publishing disclaimers about all characters being fictional is a fallback position that I fully embrace. Plus, my kids are now grown. My son is an officer in the Air Force. He recently returned home, safe and sound, from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. My daughter is a data analyst and is a team leader within her company.
MOLLY: Is that true of the other people in your life, Leslie? Were your friends, husband, and parents the models for my friends and family members?
LESLIE: No, not really, although they do share some of the same personality traits and physical characteristics of the people in your life. Every character I've ever created emerges from a combination of both my memories and my imagination. Which is true of you, as well, Molly. Although, if I were to discover a dead body, I'd call the police and steer clear of anyone I suspected of being a murderer. You, on the other hand, seem to keep poking at things, even when that means putting your own life in jeopardy.
MOLLY: At some point, I always do seem to be all but engaged in hand-to-hand combat with the killer, fighting for my very life. That's generally because there's some compelling personal reason for me to investigate, which winds up taking precedence over my own safety.
LESLIE: Final question: What's next for you, Molly? Are you happy living in Carlton, New York? Are you going to rejuvenate your business in some way, or perhaps try your hand at something else? Do you think you'll be able to avoid those darned murders from now on?
MOLLY: Time will tell, as they say. Although some people I know seem to get really crabby when I use clichés. And that was four questions, by the way. Frankly, I see myself as an everyday, average middle-class soccer mom, doing the best she can, and who firmly believes that a good sense of humor is a precious commodity.
LESLIE: I agree with you for the most part, but my sense of humor once nearly got me killed. As it turned out, telling myself a joke while I was being taken hostage in a robbery wasn't wise. The robber smacked me with his shotgun and told me to stop laughing.
MOLLY: Aha! So I'm not the only one whose life has been jeopardized by a criminal!
LESLIE: No, you aren't. That happens to you on a much more frequent basis. Ironically, bad news for you is good news for me and my career.
MOLLY: So I've noticed. If you were one of my drawings, I'd erase you.
LESLIE: Well, just for that, I'm giving myself the last word.