Before the launch of Salome’s Charger on Sept. 1, fellow author Céleste and I decided it would be a good idea to introduce the two main characters in our story. Stephanie Sloane is the proprietor of Spero, an antique store in downtown Dallas. Ezra Huddleston is investigative reporter for the Dallas Daily.
GR: Maybe I should start out by asking how the two of you met.
SS: He ran over me.
EH: What? What are you talking about?
SS: Remember? That day in the gym? You were leaving the pool and almost knocked me over without as much as an apology.
EH: Ouch. Well, I don’t remember that, but in those days, I don’t remember much beyond being angry all the time. But I wouldn’t call that meeting. I’d say our first meeting was when you barged into my office claiming to have information about the charger and then actually stole information from my desk.
SS: Stole it? It was right there in plain sight. I might have looked at it. I mean, I have eyes. They do look at things. But stealing…that’s just your natural cynicism speaking.
GR: Is that when you two decided to become partners?
SS: I’m not his partner. I never agreed to be his partner.
EH: Are you going to be this annoying the whole interview?
SS: (laughs) Probably. Actually, Ezra messed up his hands–.
EH: Bad chemical burns. Really bad.
SS: Not that bad. But he kept bugging me for help on the case, so I finally gave in. We ended up traveling to Alaska together.
EH: On a DC-3! Those planes were retired decades ago. And in a blizzard.
SS: You were the one who had to get to Alaska like yesterday. I found you a ride. Quit complaining. We got there in one piece, didn’t we?
EH: True. (sighs) I wish that was the worst part of the trip.
SS: Yeah, it was pretty scary.
GR: Tell me about Alain Brassard.
EH: (serious) The media called him a professional thief, but he was a lot more than that. He was a professional killer as well. Bad news. I’ve dealt with drug lords before, bad guys on death row, that sort of thing. He was in a different league.
GR: But you survived your encounter with him. He tortured you, didn’t he?
EH: Next question.
GR: Tell me about Ellen Smithie.
SS: (laughs) Ellie Mae Smithie is beyond description. She’s a millionaire, but she doesn’t let that get in the way of her having a good time. She’s pretty much done everything at one time or another. She’s a pistol.
EH: (puts on nasally Texas twang) She’s so country she thinks a seven-course meal is a possum and a six-pack.
SS: (laughs again) Yes, that’s her. But don’t let that fool you. She’s as smart as a whip.
EH: (Texas accent continues) She’s got some snap in her garters. (accent disappears) The girl is the most underrated weapon in Texas’ war against crime.
GR: So are either of you from Texas?
SS: No. I’m from New York.
GR: What was the worst part of your experience?
SS: Almost losing my marriage.
EH: (sighs) Torture, death threats, a burning apartment, jail time, almost drowning in a pool, freezing to death in Alaska. Take your pick.
GR: What was the best part of your experience?
SS: I know what Ezra will say. Two words. (singsong) Mad-die.
EH: (embarrassed) Yeah, that pretty much says it all.
GR: Last question. Why would someone want to read this book?
EH: That’s obvious. I’m in it.
SS: (snorts with laughter) That’s probably the last reason to buy it. Best reason? It’s a good example of how God can use two very imperfect people to do great things. I grew through the experience, and I know Ezra did too, whether he will admit it or not.
EH: Plus, I’m in the story.
SS: Plus, he’s in the story.
GR: Thanks for talking to me. And there it is from those who experienced it. Be sure to read the story of Ezra Huddleston and Stevie Sloane, Salome’s Charger available online on September 1.
(In the background…)
SS: Why did he say Ezra Huddleston and Stevie Sloane? Why didn’t he say Stevie Sloane and Ezra Huddleston? Why are you always first?
EH: I’m not always first. But I should be.
SS: (dramatic sigh)