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Character Interview: Willard Bean from Paul Martin Midden’s novel, ‘Riley’



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We’re thrilled to have here today Willard from Midden’s new Novel, Riley.  Willard is a middle-aged man living in Washington D.C.

It is a pleasure to have him with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Willard.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed, or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I do think I was fairly portrayed overall. This was important to me, since I was in hot water with a lot of the other characters around me. But I thought the author did well by me. There were some rocky times, but I think in the end he treated me fairly.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Riley FRONT COVER hi-res            I think so. He may have dwelled a bit too much on the OCD that some think is such a prominent part of my personality. It’s not debilitating, mind you, and it can be a useful part of my life.  But still . . . I think some people will think it’s . . . I don’t know . . . embarrassing a little. It is for me. But really, who cares how neatly I keep my apartment?

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

Doggedness. When I get a case, I am on it like the proverbial dog with a bone. I can’t stand loose ends—there’s that OCD again—and it is just natural for me to follow all leads until I am satisfied. And I am not easily satisfied.

Worse trait?

Sometimes I trip over my own feet. Not physically so often, but I tend to overthink things sometimes and make . . . um . . . ill-advised choices. For instance, there was a time when I talked myself out of being with the woman I loved. It’s hard to get over that. [Shakes his head.] The things I do to myself sometimes . . .

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

I think somebody with gravitas combined with a capacity for nuance. Jude Law or Colin Firth perhaps, or Johnny Depp.

Do you have a love interest in the book?


At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Just between you and me, I was worried about another character harming himself; killing himself even. I worried about that for a long time. There are lots of ways to hurt yourself, and I could not stop thinking about all the bad things that could happen.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

The one I was just talking about. Truthfully he reminded me of myself when I was younger: smart, responsible, but a little . . . um . . . untested. A little anxious. A little fragile. It was hard going through my younger years; I have never had a desire to repeat them.

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

I could not be happier. For me it worked out as well as could be expected. It was tough going for a while, but I was dogged and did my part. You know: you can’t really control other people. There was some tragedy involved, but it was not my doing…

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

Be nicer to me.

Thank you for this interview, Willard.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Don’t know. That’s not up to me.



Paul Martin Midden is the author of five previous novels, each of which explores different writing styles. He practiced clinical psychology for over thirty years. Paul’s interests include historic restoration, travel, fitness, and wine tasting. He and his wife Patricia renovated an 1895 Romanesque home in 1995 and continue to enjoy urban living. Visit his website:

About the Book:

            When Riley Cotswald, a writer at work on her second novel, finally leaves her husband, she gets way more than she bargained for. Her characters’ lives echo her own dilemmas, and she feels a kinship to them as they come alive on her desktop. Her best friend Jennifer does not understand this but loves Riley. Maybe too much.

​After a particularly infuriating conversation with her husband Cameron, Riley impulsively gets involved with Edward, a socially-challenged man who had asked her out once, only to be rejected. When Riley runs into him again, she takes out her rage and frustration in a way that delights and intoxicates Edward but was a one-time event for Riley. Edward looks for ways to pursue the relationship but is frustrated at every turn. He begins to stalk Riley and then resorts to the Dark Web to find ways to retaliate against her. What follows is complicated, intense, and completely unforeseen.

Find out more

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