Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Character Interview: Tessa Steele of "The Face on Miss Fanny's Wall"

TWP:  Today we welcome Tessa Steele to The Word Place. Tell us a little about yourself, Tessa.

TS:  I’m a librarian at an elementary school in Cedar Bluff, Arkansas. It’s a town with a history.

TWP:  What kind of history?

TS:  Well, it’s on the Missouri border, so it saw a lot of fighting during the Civil War--mostly guerilla warfare. Afterwards it was a pretty rough place, and it had a very famous red-light district, which is what’s getting me into trouble right now.

TWP:  Wait a minute! You’d better explain that.

TS (giggles): The only ‘house’ left is now a museum, and during spring break before my senior year in college, some friends and I visited it. On the wall in one room are pictures of some of the ‘ladies’ who worked there, and I recognized one.

TWP:  Should I ask?

TS:  My great-grandmother, Hallie Reynolds Steele. Nobody in the family knows anything about here before she married my great-grandfather Merritt, who ran a newspaper. She’s sort of a mystery, but I’m dying to know how she ended up working in one of those places.

TWP:  What are you doing to find out?

TS:  I’ve gotten into genealogy. You know, hunting your ancestors for a family tree.

TWP:  Have you found out anything?

TS:  More than someone wants me to, I think, but I’m not giving up. That’s the other part of the problem.

TWP:  Which is?

TS: I’m dating a state police officer, Dale McCord, and he happens to be in charge of an investigation focusing on the museum.

TWP:  What’s going on?

TS:  Dale won’t tell me anything except to stay away from there. It really makes me mad. I’m a grown woman, and he doesn’t have any right to order me around.

TWP:  Maybe he’s worried about you getting into a dangerous situation.

TS:  I can’t imagine what could be dangerous at the museum. Of course, one of the docents is a little creepy, but…

TWP:  It sounds as if you should listen to Dale.

TS:  I’m going to find out about my great-grandmother, that’s for sure, and not even Dale McCord is going to stop me!

TWP:  Good luck then--but be careful.

Read the first chapter of The Face on Miss Fanny’s Wall at my website.

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