Samantha, you’re an author who gets caught up in real-life mysteries that you then turn into books. Love that idea. Think we could ditch your real author, Peggy, and my author and keep all the royalties for ourselves?
“Great minds think alike! I knew there was some kind of karma thing going on between us the minute I sat down. What a novel, forgive the pun, idea! We deserve some payoff, don’t you think? We’re the ones taking all the risks out there. The way I look at it, it’s a win-win situation that tips in my favor. Peggy may get all the glory, but I get to have all that fun. Who do you think is the one whispering all those crazy scenarios in her ear, especially after she’s had a glass of wine? Trust me, she’s not so uptight then.”
In your books, you’ve dealt with ice storms, bikers, a mysterious cat lady, antique enthusiasts, drug dealers and, of course, murderers. Who knew writing and sleuthing came with so many occupational hazards?
“Hey, even Peggy surprised me with some of those unusual mysteries. She’s running me ragged, even dragging me over to her old house in France on the Riviera. I believe that was Book 3, 86 Avenue du Goulet (Sam pauses and smiles) …Okay, I must admit that wasn’t so terrible. I mean some of those French guys were really hot! And she did eventually invite my girlfriends, and then Clay over, who also happens to be very hot.”
In Book 1, The Puzzle, you initially began solving mysteries when the details of your husband’s death didn’t add up. What’s kept you sleuthing since then?
“I guess my life and my crazy friends have not exactly been what you call normal. But I kind of liked that. It made everything so unpredictable. They kept dragging me into capers that I found I was good at solving. Now my author, Peggy? I could bend your ear with a few of her escapades over the years, but since I don’t wish to end up like some of her antagonists in the series, my lips are sealed.”
Were you surprised to learn you were good at cracking tough cases?
“Yeah, I was. It was empowering, taking charge and shaking things up. It became addicting, figuring out all those angles and details, and then watching them fall into place, sometimes neatly, and at other times, sort of on the messy side. Between Peggy and I, we always managed to come up with a great whodunnit ending!” (Sam looks both ways, whispering,) “Those endings are mine, but I let Peggy take all the credit.”
You solve your mysteries with the help (and sometimes hindrance) of some wonderful friends. They don’t mind the dangerous situations you sometimes get into?
“I hate to spread rumors, but I think if I left them to their own resources, they would be worse than I am. But maybe that’s why we bond so well, accepting each other’s idiosyncrasies and are willing to overlook our imperfections, although, sometimes we can’t help pointing them out. The way I look at it, age has nothing to do with how well we get along. In my books, if we’re all crazy-minded to begin with, accept each other for who we are, and look out for each other, then that’s the glue that binds us. Oh, they complain, including me, but I think they love it just as much as I do.”
One of your ‘senior consultants,’ Martha, is rowdy and fashion challenged to say the least. If you could give her a makeover, what would she look like?
“I wouldn’t. I figure Peggy’s made her an older, pushier version of me, but with short, spiky white hair for contrast. Otherwise dialogue and storylines would be so boring. Where would the clash be? The arguments? I just love it when street-wise Martha gets right up in my face and goes at it. It keeps me on my toes. Besides, I like being shocked and blinded by all that color, flair, and exuberance of hers. I must say sunglasses do help.”
Mona’s reappearance in your life in Book 2, Without Any Warning caused all kinds of chaos. So when you got her cryptic message in Book 5, The Mouth of the Rat, were you tempted to just hit delete?
“Tell me about it. She was the last person I expected to hear from. But that dead part of her message said, gotcha and I was hooked. And as usual, she was trouble from the get go, lying, sneaking around, deflecting and bending the truth. It just about drove me crazy until I realized I loved every minute of it. I just had to outwit her so I could stay on top of things. You know, I still have that raincoat and hat I wore for my surveillance of her in Without Any Warning. I do have a sentimental side.”
Your adventures mean a lot of packing and unpacking. What are some items that you never leave home without?
“My Spanx. For you guys that are reading this, it’s kind of like a body shaper. They make them for men too. It holds in all that uneven stuff we ladies prefer not showing off (like bulges where they shouldn’t be) I buy it one size too small, hence my size 2/4. Of course, sometimes it’s hard to breath, but I time myself for the evening, you know, it’s like how long I can wear certain shoes, 1, 2, 3 hours or, if I’m lucky, the whole evening. Oh, I mustn’t forget my iPhone for Facebook, Twitter, email, texting my girl friends…”
Your author, Peggy A. Edelheit, has, in addition to three sons and a husband, a Miniature Schnauzer. My author grew up with Miniature Schnauzers. Think that makes them kindred spirits?
“Isn’t that the oddest thing? Maybe we are! I do have to admit I’m still rankled about one thing. Peggy’s dog’s name is Samantha, Sam for short. Can you believe it? I mean, come on! She gave me her dog’s name? (Samantha pauses, leaning back) …Well, I do have to concede one point in Peggy’s favor. She did buy the dog before I came along. But I’m still touchy and feel kind of foolish when she calls her dog and I come running.” (Sam winks at me) “Trust me, one day I will get even….”
Peggy’s life as a novelist seems to mirror your own in a lot of ways. How are you alike and how are you different?
“Oh my! Come to think of it we are very similar in that we think out of the box and see humor where other’s might not. That spills onto the pages a lot, especially when we are both trying to be serious, but hey, you can’t take everything seriously, right? (Samantha looks both ways, once more) To tell you the truth, I think I am Peggy’s alter ego. That sure would explain a lot, don’t you think? It’s spooky sometimes.”
What does Peggy have planned for you next? Or should I say, what do you have planned for you next? Or what does Peggy have planned for you to have planned for you next? My head’s spinning a little.
“The Riviera Is Burning was a pause for Peggy for a quickie. And no, it’s not what your thinking. I meant a brief personal memoir from France. In Book 6, Death Knell In The Alps, (Sam sighs loudly and rolls her eyes) once again, involved a plane plus skis. Then in the subsequent books in the series they included some of the, and I use this term lightly, girls. So, what Peggy has planned for us, I can never predict ahead of time, but we always have a meeting of the minds to discuss the plots over a glass of wine. Who knows what’ll happen after the second glass? I know one thing. They always have surprise endings. That’s guaranteed!”
I do hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. And remember, everyday is a blessing. Never take any of them for granted.
Happy reading, Peggy.