Today I'd like to welcome Traci Hilton to Sleuths and Suspects. She graciously agreed to let me interview her. Here we go.
I guess you like living in Portland since you set your story there.
I love Portland! I live just across the river from Portland now (housing costs being what they were when we were house hunting.). I set the stories here because it is so easy to write what you know. Mitzy’s Portland rings true for locals and folks who have visited, but it is fictionalized to suit my story.
If I were to visit you, where's the first place you'd take me?
Powell’s City of Books, without hesitation. It is the best book store in the whole world. It’s also becoming a pretty popular online bookstore. (Powells.com.) We would be very Portlandy about the trip too and take the light rail.
When I was a teenager Portland had Yellow Bikes. I can’t remember what patron paid for them, but some kindly soul bought dozens of bikes, painted them yellow, and left them all over downtown for people to ride for free. Of course they were just vandalized and stolen. But for while they lasted, they were a blast. When I think of a true Portland experience bikes, mass transit, downtown, and Powell’s all come immediately to mind.
There is also a series of trails that skirts downtown, gorgeous uphill forest hiking in the middle of the city. It leads to our town’s one historically preserved mansion, the Pittock Mansion. That’s a great bit of Portland to share with visitors as well.
Okay, last thing to visit in Portland…I’d probably have to take you to the Columbia River Gorge. It’s as beautiful as anything you saw in The Lord of the Rings.
What's your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
Curl up in a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book—even better if there is bread baking! Of course if I did that every time it rained I’d never get anything done.
Where's your favorite place to visit when you leave town?
I had the good luck to marry a Midwestern boy. I highly recommend the practice. When I leave town it is almost always to go back to Kansas to visit family. I really love the blue skies and wide open spaces.
My husband is from a town called Buhler that has an adorable Main Street. Great shops, a gallery, and a fantastic café. His family actually lives on Main Street so we can leave the kids in the sunshiny back yard with the menfolk while we girls go shopping.
If I can name drop just a little bit, Buhler is a hop and skip over to Hutchinson where my family goes to church with Kim Vogal Sawyer. She’s a great friend of my mom-in-law, and was the first person to tell me about the fantastic ACFW!
How did you pick being a real estate agent for your character?
When I was brainstorming ideas for a mystery I knew I wanted three things: a theme that would hit a nerve with readers. I wrote Foreclosed in 2009 so what better than a housing crash tie in? I also wanted an amateur sleuth who had a natural reason to run into people in crisis. In this economy it seems like a for sale sign and a family crisis go hand in hand. I also wanted something that could easily develop into a series. Nothing better for a series than a job where you are constantly meeting new people.
Tell us a little about Mitzy.
Right before I wrote Foreclosed I read every early Agatha Christy that was in my library. I really loved her spunky, confident heroines of the 1920’s and wanted Mitzy to be something like that. She’s been criticized for being not entirely likeable, since she is rich, tall, blonde, and beautiful. But she does have faults. She has a tendency to mouth off to the wrong people at the wrong time. She’s also about a decade behind the curve style-wise, but doesn’t notice. Her real struggle comes with trying to solve her problems in her own strength rather than relying on God.
Tell us about your new story.
The Tangle Saga will be released in just about a month. It’s a whodunit in space and I am sooo excited about it! I’ve always wanted to write sci-fi but am frankly too girly. I don’t know about rail guns and fighter ships. But my brother does, and since he can write me under the table, I convinced him to collaborate.
In a nutshell, The General’s daughter is charged with finding her underage brother and sister who have disappeared from the space station at the edge of the galaxy.
The fourth Mitzy Neuhaus Mystery should be coming this winter as well.
Thanks so much for letting me talk with you about the two towns I love, my dear Mitzy, and The Tangle Saga!
You're welcome. So glad you visited us at Sleuths and Suspects.
Traci Tyne Hilton is an award winning playwright from Portland, Oregon.
Traci earned a degree in History from Portland State University and still lives in the rainiest part of the Pacific Northwest.
She has written grant proposals, blogs, essays on etymology, Bible studies, Sunday School curriculum, novels, short stories, history essays, and plays. She hopes to do many more of the above, God willing and the creek don't rise.
More of Traci's work can be found at tracihilton.com
Mitzy Neuhaus is the top selling Realtor in Portland, but even her office is dead in this economy. Foreclosed is the word no homeowner wants to hear and Mitzy is determined to save the incredible mansion on her street from that fate. But with the homeowner desperate to keep Mitzy away from his property and Alonzo, the dangerously hot rival investor trying to snatch it out from under her, Mitzy knows she has to work fast, or the economy won't be the only thing dead...
Foreclosed is available as an ebook and paperback at Amazon.com http://amzn.to/bifsN1