Frankie Bow says that her experience in academic publishing—which is done under her real name—has taught her to take nothing personally. Like her protagonist, Professor Molly, she teaches at a public university. The Perfect Body is the eighth book in the Professor Molly Mystery series.
“To me, the greatest compliment is when something I’ve written makes you laugh out loud,” Frankie said. “That’s what I’m going for. But I think it’s possible to entertain the reader by shining a light on serious issues. One of the themes I keep coming back to is that because public universities are being pulled in so many different directions, they have to do absurd things to survive. So absurd, in fact, that all I need to do is describe what really happens. As one reviewer put it, ‘The academic staff have … suffered the indignity and frustration of losing all authority over students. Heaven forbid a student be upset, offended or reprimanded lest they should leave, taking their uni fees with them!’ Another reviewer observed, ‘The pressures and constraints that most small colleges work within dictate much of the behaviors and challenges that Bow characterizes so well. A small number of tuition-paying students are ‘worth’ more to administrators than high-paid, over-stuffed, self-impressed faculty… For those believing that Mahina State is an over-the-top caricature, sadly, not so.’”
Frankie also said there is an issue she’s been wanting to address for a while—breastfeeding. She said, “Professor Molly is happily married now. She and Donnie have just had a daughter. Books and movies have no shortage of dramatic childbirth scenes, but you see very little about what happens afterward: Mom can spend months or even years serving as the personal dairy for a tiny, demanding tyrant. This stage of life is messy, unpredictable, and occasionally hilarious. The Perfect Body doesn’t shrink from the realities of postpartum life. I’ve read only one other mystery that has a breastfeeding sleuth, and honestly? Mine is funnier.”
Frankie pokes fun at higher education in her books, but says she really does enjoy her job. “I’m lucky to work where I do. Any disgruntlement you might detect in my writing is there only because I know we could do so much better.”
And, of course, there’s always the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Frankie espouses that completely. “If you come across something in my books and you think, ‘no way, that’s totally made-up, there’s no way it could have actually happened that way,’ that’s how you know it actually happened.”
Learn more about Frankie Bow at frankiebow.com.