Interview with Rosemary Mild, Author of IN MY NEXT LIFE I’LL GET IT RIGHT

Rosemary Mild is an award-winning essayist whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Chess Life, and countless other outlets. When not dreaming up outrageous essay ideas, Rosemary Mild and her husband, Larry, wallow in crimes and clues that include their popular Paco and

Molly Mysteries; Dan and Rivka Sherman Mysteries; two Hawaii suspense/thrillers; and three gripping story collections. They have two stories in the 2021 anthology Kissing Frogs and Other Quirky Tales. Rosemary has also authored two memoirs: Love! Laugh! Panic! Life with My Mother; and Miriam's World—and Mine, in memory of the beloved daughter they lost in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Learn more at

Q: Congratulations on the release of your book, IN MY NEXT LIFE I’LL GET IT RIGHT. What was your inspiration for it?

About fifteen years ago I was in an elevator with two fortyish women. We exchanged a few pleasant words and—I’m not sure why—I happened to mention something silly I’d done that morning. Then I added, “In my next life I’ll get it right.” They both laughed. As I left the elevator, I thought, Hey, That could be the title for a collection of my essays, which I’d already been writing for a while. I’d touched a chord with those two strangers.

Q: Why was the writing of this book important for you? 

I’d been a career editor, starting at Harper’s Magazine and ending as a writer for a major defense corporation. In 1993 Larry retired early as an engineer so we could spend winters in Honolulu with family. I agreed, but I suddenly realized I was no longer a professional editor/writer—I felt I’d lost my identity. So I began writing and publishing personal essays, which gave me my own special voice. Writing this book is a culmination of my thoughts, ideas, research, and experiences, all with a goal of entertaining readers. 

The essays range from the hilarious to the serious. In “Character Floss,” published in the Washington Post, I reveal a ridiculous encounter I had in a parking lot.

My last chapter is called “Miriam.” How could I write this book without telling the world about my only child, Miriam Luby Wolfe? We lost Miriam in the terrorist bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, on December 21, 1988. I had already published two memoirs about her, and I’ve included some key essays here, plus fresh recollections. Some about being a single mom are funny. I’ve included color photos that readers will appreciate to help them get to know her.

Q: How was your creative process like during the writing of this book and how long did it take you to complete it? Did you face any bumps along the way?

I’ve been writing the essays for twenty-five years, on and off. 

Bumps along the way? More like Mount Everests along the way. As I related in “Life with Larry,” he inspired me to join him writing fiction. We’ve published six mystery novels, two suspense/thrillers, a sci-fi novella, and three books of mystery and fantasy stories—with more to come. Novel-writing is a daunting, all-consuming, even years-long project. Writing together, which I also describe in my book, is great fun—and challenging. Fitting in my essay-writing is tough.  

Q: What is the one thing you hope readers will take away from your book? 

Readers’ Favorite Reviews nailed it: “Rosemary’s superb storytelling ability highlights how pivotal moments and people can change the direction of your life or just bring a smile to your face when you need it most.”  

Q: What discoveries or surprises did you experience while writing this book?

I had a hard time finishing it, because I kept wanting to add more and more. And now that it’s out, I’m scribbling notes of things I wish I’d included. For instance, my essay “Stumbling in the Shadow of the Pyramids” is about being accident-prone in Egypt, of all places. But recently I recalled a moment that I wish I’d added. In a restaurant in Cairo, I rushed to the ladies’ room. I had the runs! Sitting on the toilet I dug the little box of Imodium out of my purse. But for the life of me, I couldn’t open the individual sealed-up pills! You’d think they were gold from Fort Knox. The directions said, “If you’re having trouble, use a scissors.” (Huh?) 

Q: How do you define success as an author? 

Selling zillions of copies, being on the New York Times best-seller list, which we’re not. But we get great satisfaction from our happy fans, and at each book signing, pick up new ones.

Q: Could you talk a little bit about your publishing process?

Our original self-publisher did absolutely nothing for us and had the reputation (we found out later) of publishing the telephone book if you submitted it. For Boston Scream Pie we did have a reputable commercial publisher, but, sadly, we submitted it at the time her business was falling apart. 

We’re our own  “indie” publisher now, under the imprint Magic Island Literary Works. For printing, we use Lightning Source, Inc. in Tennessee (owned by Ingram). For Lightning Source we submit the book already formatted. Larry does the formatting using InDesign; he's a retired engineer, so he's excellent at using the LS program, which is all in code! (I could never do it.)  We like their printing quality. We have a close friend who’s an excellent proofreader; she proofs all our final drafts for us.

Q: What advice would you give to aspiring nonfiction writers? Could you offer some tips or resources that have been helpful to you?

“Nonfiction” covers a huge range of topics and approaches. My book jumps from sharp observations on everyday life to research-based essays. My “Donkey Tales” are personal grocery store moments. “Close Encounters of the Fleeting Kind” (about famous people I’ve met) and “Renoir and Raphael” involved research. Years ago, for the Baltimore Sun, I wrote four articles on “Artists of the Chesapeake,” which involved interviews with the artists in their studios. 

I suggest subscribing to The Writer and/or Writer’s Digest. They’re both full of good advice. The Writer also lists specialized markets for writers, plus writers’ conferences, workshops, etc. 

If possible, take a community college class on writing, targeting nonfiction if it’s offered. Many writers like to join a local critique group.  

Q: Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?

(1) Read, read, read. Read the genre(s) that especially interests you and see how the professionals do it. 

(2) Think of who your audience will be. 

(3) Become keenly aware of people and places. Carry a small notebook with you and accumulate observations and ideas. Listen to conversations. Eavesdropping is good! Tune into both the unusual and the commonplace.

(4) Above all, get something, anything, down on paper. Your story, essay, or article is the primary concern. Save the rules for writing until you have a complete draft.

(5) Good luck! You have a great adventure ahead of you.

Find out more about Rosemary's book HERE.