While Denny battles demons of his own and Cookie and Clancy disappear, a pregnant Fina Fitzgibbons investigates the death of her friend’s husband and in doing so lands in the middle of a group of art and drug traffickers.
Q: Susan Russo Anderson joins me today to talk about her latest Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn Mystery, Death and Disappearance. Susan, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about Fina?
A: Hi, Frankie. Thanks so much for hosting me and the hero of my series, Fina Fitzgibbons, a twenty-something detective. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her used-to-be boyfriend and now husband, NYPD patrolman, Denny McDuffy. Like all of us, Fina has her issues. Hers center around her conflicts regarding a woman’s role, and those conflicts are augmented by fears of her loved ones leaving her. And it’s not hard to understand why, given all that life has dealt her—the abandonment of the family by her father when Fina, an only child, was a young girl, and later, the murder of her mother whom Fina adored. But if her anguish sometimes bubbles to the surface, she soldiers on, despite a discernment which is sometimes flawed. Beyond that, she has a fierce need to help others, to right wrongs, and she never, ever gives up. Flawed and with a contemporary point of view, she is, at her best, a modern day saint.
Q: How much of you is in Fina? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
A: I’d love to have Fina’s tenacity, the boldness of her strokes, her unshakable faith in humanity, so I guess that makes me a Fina-wanna-be. When I was her age, I had the same fears of losing my identity if I allowed myself to fall in love; and I don’t think I’ll ever lose the fear of my significant others leaving me: they already have. In the end, though, I’d love to meet Fina in real life. If you look closely, there she is, just around the corner. Oops, she’s disappeared. Elusive, except in my imagination, she is never far away.
Q: Do Fina and the other characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: I’d say so, yes. Fina has gone from a fear of commitment to love to finally letting love transform her into being a mother, into thinking first of her children while holding on to her own center. And her view of others is deepening. She sees complexity now, and has learned to listen. She and Denny no longer have their knock-down-drag-outs. Not that they don’t always agree with each other; not that they don’t have their moments, but in the end, Fina realizes that it’s time to talk. Denny, too, although in the latest book, the one I’m just beginning to write, he has a line in the sand, and it’s a difficult one. Like most marriages, they have a lot to talk about. Bottom line? I think Fina is growing into wisdom.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: That’s a tough one. I’m trying to be honest, here. I know I’ve never planned a killing, even of a character who shares traits with someone I know in real life. But I’m glad when my antagonists are caught. Glad for Fina’s sake; glad for the victim. The last antagonist committed suicide, though, and I was really sad about that.
Q: How realistic is your Brooklyn? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: For the most part, I’m true to life, especially with Brooklyn’s landmarks—like the Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge, some of the streets in Brooklyn, and some of the restaurants my husband and I used to visit. As I answer this question and write scenes in Fina’s Brooklyn mystery series, I feel myself transported to the neighborhoods I love. But I also bend reality. For instance, Brooklyn General Hospital and Elaine’s exist only in my imagination. So when my need is there, I create places. And of course all my real places are used in a fictional sense.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: Great question, Frankie! Definitely Kate McKinnon is Fina. Meryl Streep is Lorraine. Leonardo Di Caprio is Denny. And Melissa McCarthy is Cookie, no matter her current dress size.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: The worst?—Never use adverbs. The best?—Create your own process. Bend the rules. Remember that the Sentence Cop is dead.
About The Author
Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.
TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN, the first in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series published December 2013. The second book in the series, MISSING BRANDY, published September 2014, and WHISKEY’S GONE completes a trilogy. Fina’s fourth book, THE BROOKLYN DROP, published August 2015, and her fifth book, DEATH AND DISAPPEARANCE, published in May 2016.
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