Monday, June 23, 2014


Maxine O'Callaghan's ground-breaking Delilah West PI stories and novels are widely credited as being the first to feature a female private eye--- blazing the trail that Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller and others would follow.  Brash Books ( is republishing them all, including a collection of the short stories that began her series...

Tell us about your book / books that Brash is publishing. 
Brash is republishing the entire Delilah West series.  Currently that will be the first, DEATH IS FOREVER, and second, RUN FROM NIGHTMARE.  They are also publishing a collection of my Delilah West short stories as BAD NEWS AND TROUBLE.  The collection includes A Change of Clients, the story that introduced Delilah in Alfred Hitchcock's Magazine.  This story appeared before Marcia Muller's first book.  Marcia jokes about that, saying that if she's the mother of the female detective in fiction then I must be the grandmother.  All three books will be available Sept. 2nd in both digital and paperback.

Can you give us a sense what you are working on now?

Right now I'm working with Lee and Joel on getting the series up and running again.  I'm also working with my son, editing a book for him on Jerry Goldsmith's film music for Planet of the Apes.  In addition, I am babysitter-in-chief for my three-year-old granddaughter, who was a wonderful surprise from my son and his wife who finally heard the reproduction clock ticking.  And, I have to admit, I'm playing with ideas for a new Delilah West novel.  Always planned to write it, but have had some major health battles, some ongoing.

What is the greatest pleasure of a writing career?  

Well, the creative part of course, but really:  Having written!  Nothing like seeing those pages pile up and the sense of accomplishment in knowing that it turned out better than you'd hoped, that you'd captured and revealed the characters and made the story and settings come alive.  

What is the greatest displeasure?  

Has to be dealing with the business side, especially the emphasis on the what's-hot mentality of publishing.  I understand it, but I don't have to like it.

If you have one piece of advice for the publishing world, what is it?

Get back to relying on the editors more in choosing books rather than the sales people.   As if...

Tell us about selling your first novel. Most writers never forget
that moment.

I remember the sale of my first story even more vividly that the first novel.  “Sorry, Frank,” was the first submission I ever sent out.  The acceptance came a few weeks later.  The kids were at school, and I was home alone.  I think I did a few dance steps and waved around the letter with glee. Just the thought that somebody was giving me money for something I wrote. I really was a writer.  Of course, the sale of my first novel was a thrill, although a bigger thrill was seeing it on the shelf at Crown Books.


No comments: