On Writing had fun interviewing Jane Larson form the novel "Mind Me, Milday"
Tell us a little about yourself? Where do you come from?
I was born and raised on the Upper East Side, before it became gentrified. In those days, it was a far more gritty place to live. There were Irish bars on every other corner of Third and Second Avenue. Small businesses lined the streets. I remember we had a store where the guys fixed TVs and would lend you one until yours was done (before cable of course). And there was a lawyer who sat in a flannel shirt in his storefront office on Third Avenue, selling insurance and doing notarial work to make a buck. No nail salons. God, I wish it were like that today.
Tell us a little about your home, what are your feelings towards home?
I’m a bit conflicted on the subject. My mother, Martha, was a lawyer with a storefront office on 92nd Street in the same building where we lived on the third floor in a rent-controlled apartment. She was a crusader for women’s rights, and she represented women who needed support for themselves or their children, or were battered by men, or otherwise victimized by the system. Growing up, I was always the daughter of Crazy Martha, when I just wanted to be a kid and fit in. Plus, these types of people can pay almost nothing, but she took their cases on anyway and worked all kinds of hours. I often felt I had to make an appointment to see her. Sometimes women slept on our floor because they could not go home. I swore I would never be like her, but then life happens. I quit my job in a major law firm where I was doing very well (check out Weave A Murderous Web). Now I am working out of Martha’s old office and representing some of the same people she once did.
What motivates you along your journey?
Wow. Paying the rent. Buying food. I’m not the crusader Martha was, but when I see someone down on their luck or who just had been dealt a bad hand by life, I feel the urge to help them. There is a lot of injustice in the world. Martha used to say that she could not fix the world, but that she would not tolerate bad things happening to good people within her reach. It’s sort of like Voltaire telling us to mind our own garden.
How do you see yourself/ how do you see yourself in relation to the rest of the world?
One thing I learned from Martha was that I should not worry about what other people thought. She taught me to think for myself, examine a problem thoroughly, and if I felt I wanted to fix the problem, to let nothing and nobody stand in my way. She was a bull in a china shop. One day, I hope to write about some of her cases.
What is most important to you in this world?
Being able to sleep at night without the ghost of Martha perched on my bed in the middle of the night, waiting for me to wake up and realize that I’ve done something that is not right. It used to happen a lot when I worked for a big firm and made lots of money. Not so much anymore. It seems she might like the way things have turned out.
What characteristics do you consider important in a person? What kind of people do you try to surround yourself with?
Loyalty, honesty, and the capacity to love. I’ve found that a few times, but again, life intervened. I will keep looking.
What do you see for yourself in the future? Where will you be? What kind of person do you want to become?
It’s getting a little late for me, but I think I would like to have a kid. If a man came with the package, that would be okay, as long as he was loyal, honest and loving. If I just had the kid, that would be okay too. Martha raised me as a single parent. In fact, she never told me who my father was. It used to bother me. It still does.
To learn more about the writing duo of Ann Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks, click here.
To purchase their book "Mind Me, Milady" click here.