(Note from author Lesley A. Diehl-the magazine and the interview are as fictional as the Eve Appel character.)
Editor: I think we should start with how you and Madeleine, your friend and business partner decided to open a consignment shop in the heart of Florida cattle country.
Eve: I’m sorry Madeleine couldn’t be here today, but she has twins who will be beginning preschool in the fall and they have an appointment with the doctor for their school physical today. It couldn’t be moved to another time. Actually, the idea for the shop was Madeleine’s. She had moved to rural Florida from Connecticut and, because we were such good friends, have been since grade school, she invited me to join her. I was looking for a business opportunity and eager to get out of the Northeast.
Ed: But a high-end consignment shop in rural Florida? Why did you think designer fashions would sell there?
Eve: I figured all women like a bargain, and why shouldn’t those living here want to dress well? Besides, the matrons of West Palm were more than eager to make a little money off fashions they would only wear once, money they wouldn’t have to reveal to their husbands or to their friends. A friend might see them walk into a shop on the coast and blab about consigning and buying used items.
Eve: Yes, and we make it easy for them. We’ll come to their houses and gather the items for sale in our store.
Ed: But look at you! Your sassy style seems better fitted to Connecticut than to cowboy country in Florida.
Eve (laughing): It took a while for the folks here to get used to me. Locals still think I’m a puzzle with my spike heels, thin figure clad in high end fashions and my spiky blonde hair. More difficult for them is my “Yankee” attitude. We sometimes differ on political and environmental issues as in the book Mud Bog Murder, but the community and I are adjusting. And I’m finding that people are people wherever one goes. I’ve also found I’m quite taken with the cowboys around here. There’s only one man handsomer, and that’s my husband, Sammy.
Ed: I understand he’s half Miccosukee. I’ve seen him, and you’re right. How could any woman resist those dark eyes, copper skin and black hair?
Eve (leaning forward in her chair): Whoa there, lady. The guy is taken!
Ed (giggling nervously): I know, I know, but I’m just saying. (She clears her throat.) How does your shop differ from other consignment shops? I mean, if a woman around here wants to buy secondhand, why wouldn’t she go to the coast to the stores there? How can you compete?
Eve: We are different. We travel to the coast in our shop on wheels each weekend. It’s a converted RV, a gift to us from our friend, Nappi Napolitani. We also have the shop here in town where we offer clothing, accessories and home goods, some expensive home goods. I think we’re one of the few shops that has a tailor on premises. So why go to the coast for used items when you can find them right here?
Ed: Interesting. The shop is competitive, isn’t it? You and Madeleine are smart retailers. I’ve heard of this Nappi guy. I’ve also heard that he’s “connected.” Don’t you find that a problem?
Eve: We’re friends, and we keep his background separate from our friendship.
Ed: You don’t talk about it?
Eve: We allude to it, but to tell you the truth, I’ve never asked him directly about his “Family” issues, and sometimes I’m not at all certain he is a Family guy. I know he has a lot of interesting connections, and he’s helped me out in many ways, all of them legal…well, except that one time, and that was really my grandmother’s idea. Nappi could as easily be working for the FBI or some government agency or simply be a very secretive and clever business man. It’s not important to our friendship.
Ed: Tell me what your grandmother, or “Grandy” as you call her, did that was illegal.
Eve: I don’t think she would like me doing that, besides, anyone can read about our late-night excursion in the first book in the Eve Appel mysteries, A Secondhand Murder.
Ed: Grandy raised you after your parents were killed in a boating accident. The two of you remain close, isn’t that right?
Eve (shifting around on her chair and fidgeting with her bracelets): She’s the person who made me what I am. If there’s good in me, it’s because she put it there. And, of course, I got my unbridled curiosity from her. I’ve only doubted her once, and I’m still embarrassed about it.
Ed: Doubted her about what?
Eve: About my parents. She told me they were dead, but in Killer Tied, I discovered there was reason to believe she had lied to me. I understood why, but it shook my faith in her.
Ed: But you resolved that, didn’t you?
Eve: Indeed, and in a way that makes up the signature issue in the book.
Ed: It looks as if we’re out of time. I guess I’ll have to read the book to find out about the issues surrounding your parents.
Eve: If you follow this blog tour, you may win a free copy of Killer Tied. Until then, here’s a coupon for ten percent off in the consignment shop. (Eve’s glance travels from the editor’s head to her toes. The slight frown on her face indicates she thinks the editor could use a better wardrobe.)
Ed: Thanks, and thanks for talking with me. Is the shop open today?
Eve nods, smiles and waves as she leaves the room, perfectly balanced on her red patent leather five-inch heels identical to the ones on the cover of Killer Tied.