Alex Pate

Alice Holman
The Last Days Murder List

Interviewed by: Lauretta Pierce
May 2002

1. Who is Alice Holman?

A wife, mother and grandmother who loves to read and write.

2. What inspired you to write a mystery novel?

I always read mysteries and so that is what I wanted to create - one of my own.

3. How did you come about your storyline?

It evolved on it's own. At first I was writing sheer comedy with Billiemae thinking she had killed somebody. It was actually kind of a relationship book. Then I realized it could be developed into a real mystery, something I would like to read.

4. How did you come about the title "The Last Days Murder List"?

I have such a hard time coming up with titles that in sheer frustration I snatched that title from Amelia's list...the one where she kept notes on who she would kill if she knew it was her last day on earth.

5. Did you know when you begin writing "The Last Days Murder List" who the killer of Amelia Benson would be?

No, I thought I did but then it turned out differently. The characters decided who did it.

6. Why did you choose to make the character Rick so abusive to his wife Maris?

There are unfortunately more abusive men out there than we like to think about. A friend of mine was married to an abusive man and I wanted to explore the "whys" of an abusive relationship.

7. How did you came about the characters Billiemae and Pharaoh?

They are both composites of people I have known over the years.

8. Why did you choose to have a strain between Maris and her mother Eugenia?

All mother/daughter relationships are not smooth. As a matter of fact, many of them are strained. As young women grow up they do question their mother's actions. And in exploring why Maris took the abuse that she did, I had to explore what kind of home life she had, what she had witnessed as a child that made her think that domineering males were acceptable people.

9. Will there be a sequel to "The Last Days Murder List"?

Yes, it is in the works right now.

10. How did you come about the funny scene with Rick, Ken and Glory?

I let my imagination run away with me. I thought how scared a philandering husband would be if his lover's husband suddenly confronted him but in such a way that he had no reason to shoot Rick or something else awful.

11. How did you come about Nikki's character and the reason she was living with Tosheeda?

In building the character of Nikki, she had to have a reason for disliking her mother as much as she did. Ordinary circumstances wouldn't have caused the kind of venom she exhibited.

12. What type of atmosphere do you require to write?

Any place, any time, anywhere.

13. What message would you like readers to receive from reading "The Last Days Murder List"?

Just enjoyment. Don't know that I had any messages in mind.

14. Are there any of your personalities in your characters?

Gosh, I hope not!

15. What were the requirements for you to win the Chester Himes Black Mystery Award?

I don't know that I ever saw any requirements. I attended the conference, I was asked to be on a panel when some other author wasn't able to attend and they shocked my pants off at the end of the day when they announced the winner and it was me!