We recently published Mary Grimm’s colorful “Live and Let Die.”

Here, we ask her two questions about her story:

1. These cousins! I love these cousins! I swear they are my cousins, except they are nothing like my cousins. But somehow they are still so familiar. Are these cousins based on any cousins you know?

My family was Catholic on one side and on the other long-time farmers (farmers needed lots of kids for free labor!), and so I have dozens and dozens of cousins. Quite a few of my aunts and uncles had 5, 6, 7 children (top number: 12, their own dozen). Cousins were 90% of our social life. The cousins here are kind of an essence of cousinness – but they’re closest to the cousins that my sister and I played with the most. We bossed each other around and tattled on each other and had secrets, made and broke alliances, loved each other. We had other friends from the neighborhood and from school, but we were each other’s favorite playmates.

2.  I love how you give such weight to this story with that opening sentence: “The remaining weeks were fairly quiet.” The implication being that something of importance must have happened, something unquiet. What do you think it might have been?

The honest answer is that I don’t know what it was that happened. When I started writing this, I started with that sentence as a self-imposed prompt – something to have the feeling of in medias res. But I’ve been writing a lot of what I think of as disaster fiction – the disasters are sometimes personal, sometimes more global. And I feel the unspoken disaster looming from behind that first sentence – something that made the cousins want to define themselves against it, a banding together. I imagine them looking over their figurative shoulders, but then turning away from whatever it was, turning instead toward each other.