Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Amelia Slater from Greg Messel's 'Shadows in the Fog'

We’re thrilled to be talking to Amelia Slater from Greg Messel’s Shadows In the Fog.  It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Pimp That Character!

Thank you for your interview Amelia.  Can you tell us your story?

My name is Amelia Ryan Slater. I’m 26 years old have been a stewardess for TWA. I recently resigned when the airline found out I was married to Sam. I am now my husband’s partner in his private investigation business. 

This is how most people identify me but there’s much, much more to me. 

First of all, I’ve always dreamed of adventure--particularly flying. Maybe it’s because I was born in 1932. 

In the year of my birth the biggest celebrity in America was Amelia Earhart.   She was not only an adventurer but she was a woman. That made her all the more extraordinary at the moment when I came into the world. 

It was my mother’s admiration of the great aviator that prompted her to name me Amelia. 

It seemed to set a course for my own destiny. 

I’m the youngest child in a big Irish Catholic family who are native San Franciscans.  My family and my religion have always been important to me. My brothers each married good Catholic girls and my older sister, Lizzie, married a Catholic man. All of my brothers and sister and their spouses began having children, much to the delight of my parents, particularly my mother. 

As high school ended in 1950, there was a sweet boy named Phillip who had steadily dated me and was deeply in love with me. I loved him too but I wasn’t ready to settle down and get married. 

There was a big world out there that I wanted to see. I wanted to fly, just like my namesake. The only option open to a young woman was becoming a stewardess.  I hungrily read the brochures about becoming a stewardess. I could not only fly but I could see the world. I could experience the glamor and meet the rich and famous. I could see things that other people only see pictures of in books or on postcards. 

My father was very supportive but my mother, who really liked Phillip, wanted me to get married and settle down. At one point in my life, before I met Phillip, my mother wanted me to become a nun. But I made my own decision to apply with TWA to become a stewardess. 

I spent weeks at the TWA facility in Kansas City training. Not all of the girls would make it. We went through hours of training about how to be charming and how to care for passengers.  The brochure said that girls needed to be pretty--”just under Hollywood standards.”  I worried that they wouldn’t find me to be pretty enough. 

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

I don’t know—I guess it’s my blonde hair. It seems to attract a lot of attention. Men on the planes and in New York City and certainly in Europe seemed enamored with a young blonde stewardess. Fortunately so did Sam Slater. 

What makes you laugh out loud?

Sam’s pal Vince Marino. Vince is a tough guy San Francisco cop. He’s also one of my best friends. I love to needle him and tease him. It makes me laugh out when I get to him. 

What is your greatest fear? 

That something would happen to Sam. Our jobs as private eyes can be really dangerous. We both faced great danger in the events covered in the book “Shadows In The Fog.” I almost lost Sam in the shooting and Sam almost lost me when I was kidnapped. 

What is the trait you most not like about yourself? 

I’m sure Sam would tell you that I can be really stubborn. He’s right. 

Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?

For the most part. I’m shocked sometimes when I see myself portrayed as being  obsessed with sex. I guess around Sam I am that way, but only him. Also I didn’t know that creepy guy was hiding in my closet watching me undress until I read “Shadows In The Fog.”

Do you have children?

No, but I love children and look forward to the day when Sam and I are parents. 

What is your favorite weather? 

I like it cool and overcast. I guess I’m just a San Francisco girl at heart. If the temperature gets over 75 I begin running for the shade. I love San Francisco’s cool, mild weather. 

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

My mother likes to tell the story about me when I was just a little girl. I think was about six or seven when this happened.  I was outside playing and I saw an airplane flying overhead. I was transfixed. It was something magical to me to fly through the sky. 

I went into the house and asked “Mommy, what’s it like up in the sky?”

I had to find out for myself. That’s why I became a stewardess with TWA.

What is your most treasured possession?

The happiest day of my life is when I received the letter telling me that I had been chosen to become a TWA stewardess. It was everything I hoped it would be. It was the greatest experience of my life until the end of the summer of 1957 when the man of my dreams--Sam Slater--walked into my life. 

About the Author:

Greg Messel has spent most of his adult life interested in writing, including a career in the newspaper business. He won a Wyoming Press Association Award as a columnist and has contributed articles to various magazines. Greg retired from the corporate world and now lives in South Jordan, Utah with his wife of over 40 years, Carol Madsen Messel. They have three adult children who are married and have 11 grandchildren.

Greg has written eight novels. His latest is "Shadows In The Fog" which is the fifth in a series of mysteries set in 1959 San Francisco. "Fog City Strangler," "San Francisco Secrets," "Deadly Plunge" are sequels to the first book in the series "Last of the Seals." His other three novels are "Sunbreaks," "Expiation" and "The Illusion of Certainty."

Greg is currently working on his ninth novel--the sixth in the mystery series--"Cable Car Mystery"--which will be published in late 2015.

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About the Book:

The story begins on a stormy morning in February of 1959. The front page of the morning paper is dominated by news of the plane crash which killed rock ’n roll stars Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper and Richie Valens. 

Private Eye Sam Slater is hired to perform what he thinks is a routine two-day job as a favor for a friend. However, it all goes terribly wrong when a young San Francisco policeman is gunned down while sitting in a parked car with Sam. 

The murder sets off a chain of events which will pull Sam and his wife and partner, Amelia, into a dangerous web of intrigue in the dark, shadowy alleys and back rooms of San Francisco’s Chinatown

In the winter of 1959, Amelia resigns as a TWA stewardess and is now Sam’s full time partner in the private eye business. 

Sam and Amelia inadvertently come in conflict with the San Francisco mob boss after helping a crusading newspaper reporter who is working to expose corruption in Chinatown. Now a mysterious dark car follows the Slaters every where they go. Sam and Amelia discover a hidden world of corrupt cops, gambling parlors, brothels and human trafficking exists right under their noses. 

At the same time, a rising California politician hires Sam and Amelia to find his daughter who disappeared without a trace three years earlier. The search is prompted by the sudden appearance of a letter from the woman, who was presumed dead. 

As Sam and Amelia pursue these cases, they discover that all the clues lead them back to Chinatown. The Slaters want to avoid taking on the San Francisco crime lords head-on. However, when Amelia is kidnapped in an alley during the Chinese New Year’s celebration, Sam plunges himself into danger desperately searching Chinatown to find her before it’s too late. 

The reader will be drawn into fast moving events which culminate in a harrowing conclusion as Sam Slater races against the clock on a foggy night in Chinatown.

“Shadows In The Fog” is the fifth book in the the award winning Sam Slater Mysteries Series but is a stand-alone thriller in the tradition of great whodunits.

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