Character Interview with Liz Bean of the Liz Bean Mystery series
Name of a book where character resides. Murder in Mystic Grove
Character name and occupation?
Liz Bean. I just started to work as a PI Intern for Sam Nolan at Nolan Private Investigations. I used to be an interpreter for a defense contractor that sent teams on missions in the Middle East, Europe, and elsewhere.
Where does character live?
Mystic Grove Wisconsin. I live in the coach house behind the Bean Family Bed and Breakfast with two cousins and my younger sister.
Are you lying to yourself about something that greatly affects your life?
Am I ever! I started out by lying to myself that I could keep secrets from my family and friends and it wouldn’t affect me. Instead, it made me feel guilty and alone. Let me explain.
For the last four years, I’ve lied to my family about everything I did at my former job at Worldhead Global Security. They thought I was an interpreter and translator who traveled to business meetings in the U.S. and Europe with clients. What I could never tell them is that I really worked in the Covert Services Group (CSG) at Worldhead.
CSG fielded small paramilitary teams for the government and others. I was the lead interpreter on a team that worked in the Middle East and Europe. We conducted surveillance, gathered intelligence, interviewed foreign informants, and assisted in hostage negotiations and retrievals. I wore business suits and heels or full combat gear depending on the assignment. Because of extremely strict non-disclosure agreement I had signed, I could never tell my family and friends what I achieved at CSG. If I did, they and I would be at risk. At first, it was easy. But then the secrets started to eat away at me.
Then I fell in love with Nate, a team leader in the CSG and I wasn’t alone anymore. We had the same secrets and could talk freely. Being with Nate was the happiest time that I spent out east. When I lost him, it was the final straw. I was alone again and couldn’t take it anymore. So I quit and returned to my family’s B&B in Mystic Grove, Wisconsin. I can’t share my past secrets. But moving forward, I plan to be as honest as I can be with family and friends. They’ll see both my successes and failures.
Pick a character in your world and tell us what you like best about them.
I love almost everything about my Grandma Addie Bean. She’s a strong and resilient woman who never ever quits. When Grandpa Pete passed away unexpectedly, she came up with different ways to keep the farm going. Then Dad and Mom moved back to the family farm with my older brother and sister to help her. Grandma Addie wanted to start a Bed and Breakfast as another way to help with family finances. Mom, Dad, and Aunt Grace helped her to start up and run that business.
By the time my younger sister, Katie, and I started grade school, Grandma Addie was like our second mother. By then Mom and Dad both worked long hours. Frankly, I think Mom had a “been there, done that” attitude after being a super mom to my older brother and sister. She didn’t have as much time for Katie and me. So Grandma was the one who us to school events and sports activities. She helped us with our homework, packed our school lunches, told us stories, gave us advice, and made us laugh. She hugged us when we were up and she hugged us when we were down. Grandma Addie loved us no matter what.
Pick another character in your world and tell us what you like least about them.
Oh, this would have to be Sam Nolan, my new boss. He’s a private investigator and owns his own agency. He’s 27, 6’2” tall, and reminds everyone else of a young John Cusack. He reminds me more of Joey Scanlon, one of my failed college romances. But that’s another story. Sam avoids wearing anything that’s colorful. His color palette is black and gray. He always wears a gray tweed Irish flat cap. In fact, I think he might even sleep with that cap.
However, what I like least about Sam is that he’s a “selective” eater. He thinks cooking and eating is a waste of time. (This is sacrilege to me!) Sam eats as simply as he can so that he can do other things that he likes. He might eat mashed potatoes for breakfast, baked potatoes for lunch, and a mound of french fries for dinner. He’ll do that for weeks until something else catches his interest like eggs all day or salads all day. He said he’d eaten that way since he was nine and ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for weeks. Even worse, his drink of choice is a mug of hot water! Who, besides Sam, drinks hot water?
I love bacon cheeseburgers, bacon butty sandwiches, and meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn. I drink caramel cappuccino all day long! I love variety and enjoy trying different cuisines. I think Sam’s diet is unnatural and one of my goals is to work a little variety into what he eats each day. I don’t think he realizes how delicious a bacon cheeseburger really is!
What is something you always carry with you?
I always carry two things with me every day. I wear my Glock 19 in a Sticky holster inside the waistband of my pants, jeans, or skirt on my right hip. And I always carry my Kahr CM9 pocket The Kahr belonged to Nate, the boyfriend I lost.
Do you have any pets?
Yes! I have two cats, Snap and Sammy. They’re “cow cats” with black, white, and gray fur. Snap is bigger with beautiful eyes and a mellow disposition. Sam aka Sammy is smaller and still has a lot of feisty kitten in him. I love them both.
What is your most treasured possession?
My most treasured possession (after my two cats of course) is Lulu, my red, Mini Cooper S.
What is your most marked characteristic?
Physically, I wear my hair in a short pixie cut and it’s dyed silver-white. One of my first stops after I returned to Mystic Grove was to book an appointment at Trixie’s beauty parlor. I had longer red hair and told Trixie I was ready for a radical change. Her eyes lit up and she went to work. I loved the results but it did seem to throw some people, especially men.
Left or right handed?
I’m right-handed although I can shoot most guns accurately with both hands.
What is your most embarrassing moment?
I think I was 7 and it was my birthday. My brother, sister, cousins, and school friends were all there with party hats on. We were in the dining room, which had a wooden floor and no rug. My mother came into the room from the kitchen with my birthday cake. I wanted to carry it to the table so she put it into my hands and told me to hold it straight. It was heavy! I took two steps, the platter tipped forward, and the cake slid right off. Because I was short, the cake hit the wooden floor on its side. There was a collective “Ohhh.” I almost broke into tears. But then Grandma Addie jumped up and said “Well-done Liz!” and clapped her hands. The kids started clapping too. Grandma said, “We wanted to do something different this year. And you have my word that the floor is cleaner than clean!”
Then she bent down and flipped the cake back on the platter. She carried it to the main table and set it down. Instead of “Happy Birthday Liz Bean,” the cake said “Happy Birthday Liz Bea.” One kid said, “That was awesome.” Another kid said, “Best party ever.” And my brother said, “After we do the candles, can I have the smushed part on the side?” So on the one hand, it was an embarrassing moment that has stayed with me into adulthood. But on the other hand, it explains my fierce love for Grandma Addie.
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