Saturday, March 10, 2018

Guest Post - Aimee Hix

Please welcome Aimee Hix to Type M! I met Aimee at Malice Domestic last year where she moderated the panel I was on, Murder and Crafts. She was a great moderator and we had a great time on the panel. You can visit her online at Take it away, Aimee...

A Little Help From My Friends

 by Aimee Hix

In late January, my sweet-faced, gentle Karma had to be put down after a sixteen-month battle with adenocarcinoma. She was twelve years old and my soulmate. Some people may think that’s weird that a middle-aged suburban wife and mother declares a dog her soulmate but she was. She and I got each other in a way no one else did.

Karma was the kind of dog that inspired me to be the person she saw me as. Writing book two in my Willa Pennington PI series was difficult. I had an inner ear infection that wouldn’t clear up and gave me mild vertigo. I sat on my bed, sweet Karma by my side, and wrote every day after my medication had kicked in. We did this for months. January to June until I had a sinus surgery that cleared up the problem.

I did what any sentimental writer would do - I wrote her into the story. I named the dog in the book Fargo as a piece of continuity for my character’s love of Coen Brothers movies but when you read the book you’ll know Karma is the inspiration.

That’s what I do as a writer. I put pieces of the real world, my life and things I see around me into my fictional worlds. I want my stories to reflect reality in a way that makes it easy for the reader to immerse themselves in the world I’ve created. In real life, people have messy family situations; they make bad decisions; they love unwisely. Characters in stories need those too. It’s how you create conflict as a writer, certainly, but most importantly it’s how readers can relate to them. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t live an imperfect life.

In my first book, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU, Willa Pennington’s life and decisions mirror that of the real world - her family is loving but flawed; she makes bad decisions, some are very bad; she loves unwisely; she has problems with trust; she’s grieving the death of her best friend. All things people can relate to and I know people can relate to them because I’ve done all those things. My life is much more settled than that of a twenty-seven-year-old, single former cop, apprentice PI but I remember having the whole world laid out in front of me and trying to find my way, one foot in front of the other.

I love that Willa is flawed and complicated and snarky and tough. But mostly I love her because she is loyal and good-hearted. She wants to help people and she struggles to see people in a more positive and hopeful light. I do that too. Karma taught me how to do that.

In my sweet Karma’s memory, I chose, perhaps unwisely, to adopt two puppies this past weekend. We stumbled across an adoption fair and we were faced with two sleepy, cuddled up black lab puppies who’d lived most of their short lives in kennels outside. They had been rescued from a high-kill shelter and were looking at a long trip back to NC to their foster. They had been saved so recently they hadn’t even been given names. I just couldn’t not take them home. More heart than brains is probably a good way to describe me. It’s a good way to describe Willa too.

I hope you want to meet her now. I think she’s a good person to know. After WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU she has more adventures. She grows wiser and stronger. She gets a sidekick. And as I write book number three in the series, she may get two more. Because puppies make everything better.

An inability to pass the sight requirements and a deep aversion to federal prison prevented Aimee from lying on her FBI application so she set her deficient eyes on what most Northern Virginians do for work - the non-law enforcement side of the federal government.

After twenty years as a federal contractor, she retired and turned to fictional murder. She is the author of the Willa Pennington PI series set in Fairfax County, Virginia. The first book, WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU published January 8, 2018 from Midnight Ink.


Celia Fowler said...

it's so, so hard to lose a pet, but I know that Karma had a wonderful life with you. I think it's great that you have honored her by making her the character of Fargo in your next book. Thanks for sharing with us on Type M for Murder. Have fun with the two new pups and thanks for giving them a chance.

Sybil Johnson said...

Thanks for stopping by, Aimee. Congrats on the book!

Donis Casey said...

What a wonderful way to immortalize Karma! I hope she lives on in print for a good long time. And bless you for rescuing the pup.s

Cathy Shouse said...

I enjoyed learning about you and your character. Sorry for the loss of your dog. Good luck with the puppies. Ten years ago, after losing our beagle mix too young because of a disease, we also ended up with two puppies. But they were unrelated and very different. It's been crazy at times. :)