Updated: Jun 17
Author Rima Ray was recently interviewed by the BBC for The Paul Franks Show for her bestselling debut novel Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls which was posted on the BBC site on 13th June, 2022. Below is the interview link and transcript from the BBC interview (which starts at 38 minutes): https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p0c8ff43
Here is a mp3 link with author Rima Ray's interview section on the show where she talks about her debut novel: https://static.wixstatic.com/mp3/ac0ef1_2107bc51147b4222893ed4572f7d3b13.mp3
Below is the transcript of Rima Ray's interview with Paul Franks:
Paul Franks (00:06)
Now there's a new book out. It's an Amazon bestseller. It's been written by Rima Ray, it's Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls, and it's about Doctor To Ruby Roy, who's an academic, also pretty accident prone. Rima Ray, how are you?
Rima Ray (00:20)
I'm good, thank you, Paul. Thank you for having me.
Paul Franks (00:22)
It's a pleasure. This is your first book. It's an Amazon best seller. So there's going to be more, I presume.
Rima Ray (00:29)
Yes, definitely. I think… hum…, and the response I've been getting, I was so elated that it was an Amazon bestseller. I just released in May, so this has been a very short period of time and I've been getting very good reviews, so I'm excited to start working on the next book. I've already had some pages written too.
Paul Franks (00:49)
Before we talk about your life and career, the origins of the story. So the inspiration for Ruby Roy comes from where?
Rima Ray (01:00)
I'm embarrassed to admit it actually comes a lot for me. I myself am at the time when I was writing this, I was a third year assistant professor. So I live in upstate New York and I work at a university here, pretty close to the falls. I mean, it's accessible and I just felt like I've been a mystery buff all my life, ever since I got the first copy of Sherlock Holmes from my granddad in India. And I've just loved reading Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Father Brown and all these different stories. And I just felt like, hey, there hasn't been any mystery leads or protagonists that are female or women of color like myself. My parents are originally from India, so I'm Indian American, and none of them in an academic setting, you don't have a professor very often become an amateur sleuth, so why not explore this sort of gap, which I felt could be interesting, and that was sort of the inspiration. And also we were stuck in Covid. All of us have been through in 2020 - 2021, so I had a lot of time to work on this.
Paul Franks (02:14)
Doctor Ruby Roy accident prone. Are you Rima accident prone?
Rima Ray (02:18)
Yeah. So that I need to provide a disclaimer. So I guess loosely based on me, and she's definitely absent minded and accident prone, but thankfully I have not landed up in those types of embarrassing situations like her.
Paul Franks (02:34)
You've also not discovered any dead bodies, I presume?
Rima Ray (02:37)
No, none of those two.Thank God.
Paul Franks (02:38)
Because that's what happens in this story. She discovers I mean, Professor Peter Malcolm found dead.
Rima Ray (02:45)
Right. So this is the interesting part. So Ruby Roy, like you were saying, she's accident prone primarily because she doesn't like wearing her corrective lenses or her prescription glasses, which I can kind of relate to because in my teens and early twenty s, I was a little more self conscious about wearing glasses. But yes, she ends up in a couple of embarrassing situations, but nothing as bad as one day when she's coming back to her office, she's returning to her office to pick up her backpack and she sees the light on in her chair's office, which is just down the hallway. And so she's coming down and Dr. Peter Malcolm, just to give a little teaser to the listeners. So he looks a bit like Hugh Grant in his 50s, salt and pepper hair. His office is right down the hallway and she sees the light there and she's like, he's not supposed to be in. So she's walking down and she knocks on the door and goes, Peter Malcolm or Dr. Malcolm? And no answer. And then she knocks again, goes Pete. And as she opens the door, yes, she discovers his body. He's dead.
Rima Ray (03:45)
Sort of a knife to his chest. And, yeah, very soon after, someone hits her on the head and she faint. So that's a little bit of a teaser.
Paul Franks (03:55)
It's a who done it? And you mentioned Poirot and Agatha Christie and Father Brown and Sherlock and all that. So your previous reading is a bit of an inspiration. And there's fun in there as well. So it's a who done it? But it's quite a sort of fun who done it.
Rima Ray (04:12)
Yeah. I would say the comedy is very big in it, and I think it was very intentional on my part because, like you said, obviously there is humor in Agatha Christie's Poirot and there are moments of humor, but this is very strongly a comedy mystery or kind of trying in the intersection of the genres of humor and mystery. Because I just felt like after the Covid 19 pandemic, we've been through so much and now with what's happening in the US. The greaves and all these tragedies, I just thought people need to laugh a little. And as much as I love the mystery genre, being a huge fan of the genre, I feel like sometimes things can get very dark and depressing when you're exposed to the evil in the world in mystery fiction. So I thought you need to laugh a little, too. So this is very much a comedy. And I think if readers like Bridget Jones's Diary, there is a little bit of that vein in Ruby Roy as well.
Paul Franks (05:10)
Your background, because you're in America, you're in New York, but you've spent time in Kuwait. You grew up there, Qatar, India, the Philippines, Japan, Canada, and of course, now America. And you've survived a few things over the years.
Rima Ray (05:24)
Yes, I have to say I've had a very colorful background. My dad, much like Ruby, Roy's father, he still is a diplomat. And so we moved around to several countries kuwait, Qatar, India, Philippines. Like you mentioned, when I was around five or six years old, the Gulf War broke out in Kuwait, so I was just school going age. And then one night we come back home from Pizza Hut and we are in Kuwait City in our house. And the next day, they're, like, shootings outside and helicopters flying, and the whole city has just transformed into a war zone. And so for a brief time, my family and I were refugees at the Jordan Azrac camp until the Indian government airlifted us. And I think it's in the Guinness Book of Records of the largest airlift by a nation. And then I was like, Okay, that happened to us. And then we kept moving to Qatar, Philippines, et cetera. Then in 2011, I got a job as a research assistant in Japan, in Tokyo, Japan. And I was working on a paper, coincidentally. I mean, you'll see the irony there on the aggregate impact of natural and manmade disasters.
Rima Ray (06:34)
So this was with an economics professor in Tokyo. And lo and behold, in 2011, I'm sitting in the 10th or 11th floor of a building in Tokyo and there is a Richter Nine earthquake. The tsunami preceded it, and then the nuclear power plant Fukushima, that exploded. So this whole thing happened in 2011, and I was, like, telling my parents, okay, I've had enough. Now I'm heading for a PhD for a much more calmer existence. But, yeah, it's been interesting.
Paul Franks (07:06)
Yeah. I mean, Dr. Ruby Roy, there's another book in the works, isn't it? But does she have any animals? Because you've got a couple of cats, some main coon cats, which is the biggest domestic cat you can get. And I love my cats.
Rima Ray (07:18)
Yes, absolutely. Actually, I'm glad that my cat can sue me, but I have used their names. Million and Nobel. They are the two main coons that Ruby also has. I love my cats, and I think they're so important, especially these times when people might be alone and isolated. Cats, I think people give them a bad rap, but they can be very loving and adorable. Any cat lovers out there, I think they can, like yourself, can definitely relate.
Paul Franks (07:50)
So, Ruby Roy, The Murder in the Falls is the first. What can you tell us about the next one that you're working on?
Rima Ray (07:56)
So I think I left the book hopefully when people read it, they'll see there's a little bit of a cliffhanger, a little bit of a suspense where Ruby to get her mind right after all that she encounters in the first murder mystery, she's like, “you know, Cleo”, her husband, who is also her Watson. She's like, “Hey, Cleo, let's take a break. Let's go to Hawaii”. But then there are things that are going to be happening in Hawaii when she least expects it. So I think that's sort of the setting for the next book, which I have titled Ruby Roy and the Hawaiian Mystery.
Paul Franks (08:32)
When I thought about the first book, Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls, I'm thinking of Murder She Wrote, which has been a huge success on American TV. But of course, Angela Lansbury, who played the lead role there, is quite elderly. Whereas Ruby Roy, your main character, is in the first book in her late 20s.
Rima Ray (08:49)
Yes. I'm glad you brought that up. Yeah. Very much inspired by Murder She Wrote, even Midsummer Murders, I would say, like I've watched all the Seasons. But yeah, I think the pitch I remember writing when I was summarizing my book was if Miss Marple was a younger plus size, a woman of color, and probably a bit risk averse because you'll see Ruby Roy, she's kind of relatable, unlike, I think, Angela Lansbury and Murder She Wrote, or Miss Markle herself. She doesn't really want to get involved. She's risk averse. She just wants to stay safe. But I guess mystery and mayhem seem to find her. So that's sort of the difference there.
Paul Franks (09:29)
Yeah. And it sounds like they will do for quite a while because the first book is doing very well. Ruby Roy and the Murder in the Falls, written by Rima Ray. A second one is on the way. Rima, great to talk to you. Good luck in all you're doing.
Rima Ray (09:43)
Thank you. Thank you, Paul. I appreciate it very much.