I want to introduce you to a new friend, Traci Hilton.
Traci lives in Portland, Oregon and is the author of Foreclosed, Buyer's Remorse, and Eminent Domain. All three are Mitzy Neuhaus mysteries.
Traci, 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.
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.
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.
Traci, thanks for stopping by and visiting with us today.