A southern girl, Trixie Stilletto traveled north when she found the love of her life, and they enjoyed more than 20 years together working as journalists. Now she's back home in Tennessee writing stories that range from short, hot romances with a kiss of humor to southern-flavored mysteries. Today Trixie lives seven miles from the neighborhood where she grew up with three adored pets and a host of characters waiting for her to tell their stories. Learn more about Trixie and her books at her website.
An Interview with Ally Calhoun from Trixie Stilletto’s Tempest
When I first got the idea for Ally and Tempest. I did a short interview with her to learn what motivated her to pack up and leave her Boston home for a place in Tennessee she’d never seen or visited. This is the result.
You left a thriving business and life in Boston to come to Piney Bluffs, Tenn. Why?
“Weather is a big draw. Can anyone say nor’easters? My husband always talked about his childhood here, and he said he wanted to have a place in the mountains. After he passed, I found he still owned the family land and property. It seemed only fitting when I needed a change after his death, to come and take a look. I’d never been here – we were so busy getting and keeping the Agency going ….”
Sorry for your loss. He was very young …
“Yes. It wasn’t a good thing. I wish we’d never taken on that job, but there are no do-overs.”
That last job. Can you talk about it?
“I don’t want to. That wasn’t what I agreed to when you said we have to do this.”
But you uprooted your life, sold the PI business you loved and created with him. All to move down to Tennessee, a place you’d never visited, never wanted to, because of how that last job ended. Don’t you think you need to talk about it?
“Now isn’t a good time.”
Ok. I’ll let it go. But you know you’re going to have to address it at some point. What are you going to do now that you’re here? This place is a mess.
“Only one thing came to my mind the day I first saw it. Wow. Not in a good way. I honestly didn’t know how I was going to be able to stay here.”
I can imagine. This property has belonged to the Calhoun family for two hundred years. The first settlers to come across the mountain settled here.
“Yes. I discovered that. Along with several unopened letters from the Tennessee historical society requesting that Mike either restore it or sign it over to them.”
Is that your current plan? To restore it and open it as an historical site?
“Uh, no. I just want to make it safe enough I don’t think the fire department and building inspector are going to come in and make me move.”
Who’s doing the work?
“Right now, me. I spend a lot of time Googling things. I’m a pretty quick study. That’s a good thing.”
That’s a surprise. I figured someone with your background, would hire everything done. Contractors, subs and designers. Have you done renovations before? I believe you had a maintenance-free condo in Boston.
“Never. Being a private investigator is mostly about research. I also think it will be helpful in my new career.”
That’s right. Your plan is to be a writer. What are you writing? Is anything published?
“Nothing published. Just polishing my first story. It’s a thriller. I’ve always been good with my hands, too. Lots of time when I was deployed, things would break or just not work like they were supposed to. I learned to adapt and overcome.”
Isn’t it one thing to jury-rig a piece of equipment for a relatively short op in the desert where you have a team to help you vs. trying to rehab a house that’s falling down around your ears?
“Maybe. But it doesn’t feel right hiring out this stuff. Mike would have fixed it himself.”
You’re not Mike. Besides, isn’t this more a money thing?
“Have you been talking to my accountant?”
More he’s been talking to me. How can you be broke? I thought your PI business was doing well?
“I did, too. Mike handled all that ….”
Widowed ex-private eye Allison Calhoun has left behind the career of heart and her native Boston for the sleepy Tennessee town of Piney Bluffs. All she wants to do is heal and write the great American novel. Only Piney Bluffs is a hotbed of decades-long secrets and lies, all seething just under the surface of the humid summer.
Enter C.J. Lanahan. Once the best friend of Ally's husband and always a thorn in her side, journalist C.J. pushes all of Ally's buttons and not all in a good way. On top of that, his newspaper and editorials seem to be stirring up a hornets nest folks 'round here want left alone. When C.J. is a murder suspect and then almost kills, himself, things go from hot to deadly quicker than a heat-driven storm in this Tennessee valley.
Can Ally and C.J. live long enough to expose the truth, or will the long-held secrets stay buried forever?