Interview with Sarah T. Hobart, Author of Death at a Fixer-Upper

18 May 2016
Tell us a little bit about your new release, Death at a Fixer-Upper.

“Death at a Fixer-Upper” is a whodunit featuring Sam Turner, a single mom learning the ropes of her new career as a real estate agent. While trying to drum up interest in a neglected Victorian, Sam manages to embroil herself in sabotage, fraud, and murder, not to mention a whole bunch of missing cash. On top of all that, her ex-husband, missing for years, suddenly starts showing up around town, and her former brother-in-law, Arlinda Police Chief Bernie Aguilar, seems to be taking a more than professional interest in her. All the action is centered around Arlinda’s Kinetic Sculpture Race, a wacky human-powered-machine contest that seems to bring all the town’s eccentrics out of the woodwork.

If you could have dinner with anyone, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?

Agatha Christie, no question. I’d like to ask her where she got her brilliant plot ideas.

How do you like to spend a rainy day?

Rainy days are perfect for writing, so if I’m feeling disciplined, that’s what I do. But where we live, it rains quite a bit, so we never let a few showers deter us from walking our dogs—or geocaching, one of our favorite things to do. It’s real-life treasure-hunting!

What’s on your writing desk?

I’ve finally acclimated to using a laptop, so I take it everywhere: the car, the deck when it’s sunny, the kitchen. But I always have Roget’s on my left and a cup full of dark chocolate chips on my right.

If you were a teacher, what book would you assign to your class?

“The Murder of Roger Ackroyd.” Probably the most perfect murder mystery ever written, and the one that made Christie famous.

Is there anything that’s happened to you as a real estate agent that inspired the stories in your book?

One of my early clients was a self-described clairvoyant (I should have looked into the future and known she never had any intention of buying anything). She would wander through the houses we toured in a meditative state, getting a feel for their “emanations.” At one place, she suddenly declared, “Someone died here, in this very spot.” Yikes! I used that experience in a key scene in “Fixer-Upper.” Also, agents deal with a lot of dogs, and I’ve been bitten once or twice. But I still love dogs.

What’s your favorite quote or scene from Death at a Fixer-Upper?

Definitely the start of the Kinetic Sculpture Race. This is an actual event, though there’s hardly ever any sabotage. I had a race consultant work with me so I got the details just right. And I had a lot of fun with the scene at the DMV. We all wish we could get the better of them.

Do you have a motto, quote or philosophy you live by?

“Carpe diem, because this too shall pass.” Two for the price of one.

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Sarah T. Hobart is the author of the new book Death at a Fixer-Upper.

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