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.