|The Gower Peninsula, Wales|
Today we sit down for a chat with Sammie Hargrave from author Judy Hogan’s Penny Weaver Mystery Series.
What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?
That’s not how it happened. If anything, I pull her strings. She’s not very good when the plot thickens, so to speak. She won’t lie; she’s too well behaved. I’m the one who livens things up, and she doesn’t understand me. I’ve always liked a few adventures in the unknown. I still do.
What’s the one trait you like most about yourself?
I mostly get what I want. It’s real easy to outwit my detective husband Derek, who is quite serious and law-abiding, and so is Judy, by and large. I’m the one who pulls Penny into solving the mystery, even if I have to get into Derek’s briefcase and look at the autopsy report. I have zest, courage, and determination. I know how to get away with things. Piece of cake.
What do you like least about yourself?
In brand new situations, I’m rather shy and quiet. I like to wear lively clothes, but if everyone else, as in Tormentil Hall, is wearing pastels and grays, I feel out of it. That bothers me. Why should I care? I know I look beautiful.
What is the strangest thing your author has had you do or had happen to you?
This vacation in Wales was her idea, but I was skeptical. I’m black, and I’d never heard of anyone I knew or was kin to me going to Wales. London, yes, but not Wales. Must be a rather strange place. It turned out to be a very bad mistake.
Do you argue with your author? If so, what do you argue about?
Yes, but she has a will of her own sometimes, too. Once we were in Wales, I knew it was a mistake. Not one black person, and only one or two Americans, even as tourists. We were definitely in the wrong place for a relaxing vacation.
What is your greatest fear?
Being surrounded by racists, especially in another country. Here in central North Carolina, I know these old racists, but in Wales? Very strange, scary white people.
What makes you happy?
Living the way I want to live. I certainly wouldn’t have chosen freely to go to Wales.
If you could rewrite a part of your story, what would it be? Why?
I’d never go to the Gower Peninsula in Wales.
Of the other characters in your book, which one bugs you the most? Why?
That old lady who was so bossy and so racist: Gilda Davis. I couldn’t stand her from the get-go.
Of the other characters in your book, which one would you love to trade places with? Why?
No, I don’t want to be anyone but myself. But so far, foreign travel doesn’t interest me much.
Tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?
The best thing about Judy Hogan is that she lets me be who I am, even when I’m depressed. Mostly, I’m lively and fun. Why not? You can check her out on her website. http://judyhogan.home.mindspring.com She blogs, too, mostly poems lately, and people all over the world read it. That makes her happy.
Judy Hogan has now published nine Penny Weaver mysteries, the first one being The Sands of Gower, back in 2015. In it Penny meets Kenneth Morgan, a Welsh policeman, and they fall in love. In later books they are married. They end up living partly in Riverdell, in a village in Central N.C., and partly in Wales on the Gower Peninsula.
What's next for you?
The tenth Penny Weaver mystery will be available May 1, 2019.
A Penny Weaver Mystery, Book 8
In this eighth mystery I took Penny and Kenneth back to Wales with their dear friends Sammie and Derek Hargrave. Kenneth and Derek worked together in the Shagbark County Sheriff’s Dept. It occurred to me that I had never seen anyone black on Gower. I loved it there, the sea always close, the greens from all their rain, their beautiful flowers and so many footpaths to explore. But for Sammie and Derek, it meant racial discrimination and xenophobia. Sammie, always so confident and cheerful, was soon depressed, and then Derek was falsely arrested, and Kenneth, who worked for the CID out of Swansea, could do nothing to help. When I realized that my black characters would suffer in a way Penny had never imagined, I explored that. Who did kill the pushy woman they shared time with in the B&B? Penny eventually gets Sammie to help her solve the crime.