- N. N. Light
Meet Hale Mary Seton from The Trouble with Exes by Katrina Kyle #characterinterview #mystery #books
“When you’re named after a desperate, last ditch attempt at winning, you develop a pretty solid sense of humor.”
That’s how Hale Mary Seton describes herself. Not that she’s a champion ex-snowboarder; not that she’s the daughter of a famous college coach and equally famous tennis star; not that she’s sister to seven brothers, each of them legends in their own right. And certainly not as the ex-girlfriend of NFL bad-boy, Bryce Stone.
She’s got a good sense of humor.
And she does, as I quickly find out when we sit down for the first interview she’s given since her epic crash at the World Championships and her even more epic meltdown after her relationship with Stone ended.
“I say ‘dude’ a lot less now,” Hale responds when I ask her what has changed since she left snowboarding behind.
We settle into a pair of Adirondack chairs in the backyard of her downtown Denver brick bungalow with micro-brew beers in hand. Below is an excerpt of our conversation.
Mrs. N: The cell phone video of you chasing Bryce’s housekeeper down the road. What happened that night?
Hale: I was high and I was heart broken, and I’m one of those people with an abundance of bad ideas rolling around in her head. I acted on one of them and it snowballed from there.
Mrs. N: What do you mean? Which bad idea? Keying his car or setting the tree in his front yard on fire?
She doesn’t flinch.
Hale: Those were part of the snowball effect. My original bad idea was to return his stuff to him by dumping it all on his front lawn, then setting that on fire. But I saw the tree and thought it was a better—I don’t want to say, target—but a better ‘screw-you’ candidate. We’d argued about that tree when he had it planted. He lived in L.A. They’ve been in a drought for years. Why plant a tree that sucked up so much water? So, I thought at the time, why not do my part for the environment while I was at it?
Mrs. N: Is that when the housekeeper came out of Bryce’s house?
Hale: I didn’t know she was the housekeeper. I’d never seen her before.
Mrs. N: You thought she was Bryce’s lover?
Hale nods and takes a sip of beer.
Mrs. N: The housekeeper was in her mid-forties. A married mother of four.
She grins and you catch a glimpse of the old Hale Mary with the glint in her eye.
Hale: And she was fast. I doubted I would have caughter her even if the mailman hadn’t tackled me.
Mrs.N: What were you going to do when you caught her?
Hale’s face grows serious. She starts itching her hip.
Hale: I didn’t know then. And I don’t know now. Oxy was running the show. Look, I’m not excusing what I did. I’m not trying to blame it on the drugs. They were a factor, sure. But ultimately, it was me who made all the bad decisions. Me with the fucked-up head. I didn’t deserve for Rhonda—that’s the housekeeper’s name—I didn’t deserve for her to forgive me and not press charges. Bryce should have pressed charges too. But Rhonda had a teenaged daughter and sympathized with me. And, Bryce, well, he’s a better man than I deserved.
Mrs. N: You don’t think you’re being hard on yourself?
Hale: Someone has to.
Mrs. N: That’s when you checked into rehab. You did it on your own? It wasn’t court-ordered?
Hale: I wish I could take responsibility for that decision. But I was still in a bad way. It was my best friend, Norma, who finally got me to go.
Mrs. N: She convinced you?
Hale: Yes. Norma is very convincing. She has a way with persuasion.
Mrs. N: What about your family? Were they involved?
Hale: They supported her efforts.
Mrs. N: That’s it? Just supported your friend’s effort to get you to rehab?
Hale: My family isn’t used to fuck-ups. They didn’t know what to do with me. They have no experience, you know.
Mrs. N: You were arrested for running a gambling ring in college, so they had a little experience. And didn’t one of your brothers get arrested in Seattle?
Hale: For participating in a peace march. It’s a little different. My family loved it.
Mrs. N: What do you love? Now that snowboarding and Bryce Stone are out of the picture?
Hale: (she rubs her upper arm as if I jabbed her with a needle) Same things I’ve always loved, I suppose. Good beer, good friends, and a good time. I’m really not that complicated.
Mrs. N: Do you have any plans to get back into sports? I think there’s a few you haven’t tried.
Hale laughs at my joke. She shakes her head.
Hale: I think sports has made it pretty clear it wants nothing to do with me. I’ve got enough scars.
Title: The Trouble with Exes (A Hale Mary Mystery)
Author: Katrina Kyle
Genre: Humorous Mystery
Love hurts. And sometimes, it can kill.
Hale Mary is used to helping powerful people out of tough spots. She's so good, she started a company for it.
But when a European princess asks Hale to track down her fiancé, who has gone missing in southern California, Hale is reluctant to take the case.
Because the missing fiancé is Hale's ex-boyfriend—Bryce Stone—and Hale isn't quite over him yet.
Before she knows it, Hale is on a plane to San Diego —the city where she and Bryce fell in love.
But then an old friend of Bryce's is killed. And the police think he is the murderer. Determined to clear his name, Hale leaves no stone unturned—including the stones hiding secrets of their tumultuous relationship.
But what Hale uncovers isn't what she expected.
She soon realizes that if she wants to prevent another murder, it will take more than revealing the truth. Hale will have to confront the lies she's told others… and herself.
Princess Adriana rounded the corner. She stopped in the middle of the kitchen and faced me.
We looked at each other for a long moment without saying a word. I was too discombobulated to formulate a coherent sentence. She seemed to be taking the time to size me up.
I’d never met her in person before. The closest we’d come to meeting was last summer when I arrived at Bryce’s for a dinner date and saw her running in tears from his house. The dinner date had been a bust and I secretly blamed her for ruining it. And for torpedoing any chance I had at rekindling our love affair.
Was it fair to blame her? Maybe not. She was carrying his kids at the time, a fact he claimed he didn’t know when he’d made overtures to me. Still, it was easy to blame the beautiful princess. And it sure as shit beat the hell out of blaming myself.
Rick cleared his throat loudly. “The Princess has a favor to ask,” he said.
His words didn’t register at first. When they did, I looked to him and back her. “Of me?” I pointed to myself like a moron.
He stepped over and put a comforting hand on the princess’ back. “Yes,” he said. “Of you.”
I gaped, feeling as if I’d been dropped into The Twilight Zone. It was then I finally noticed the princess’ appearance. In my mind’s eye she was always the gorgeous woman from the magazine photos. Her thick, wavy hair falling to the middle of her back. Her full, lush lips revealing dazzling, white teeth every time she smiled. Dark eyelashes framing arctic blue eyes and her trim figure with perfect-sized breasts always wearing the latest high-end fashion.
There was a resemblance of that woman standing before me, but it’s as if a sepia filter had been applied. Her hair hung to the middle of her back, but it was dull and lifeless. Her lips were full but lacked the lushness. Her eyes were still that striking color of blue, but they were rimmed in black bags instead of fake eyelashes. She was trim, but soft around the middle and her outfit was a simple beige skirt with a salmon-colored cardigan over a white shirt. The cardigan had been mis-buttoned.
“I tried to call you,” she said, crossing her arms over her chest. “But you never answered. So that’s why we’re here.”
I tilted my head, confused. Then I remembered. Princess Adriana and Bryce had met in Miami. “You’re the 305 number?”
She gave a barely perceptible nod. Her demeanor was frosty, bordering on frigid.
I composed myself. Curiosity killing me now. “Okay,” I said. “What is it you need my help with?”
The princess didn’t answer. She cast her eyes to the window and tightened her grip on herself.
Rick squeezed her shoulder, then looked at me. “It’s regarding Bryce,” he said.
The ground shifted beneath me. Heat rushed up from my toes.
Did she know about my Google stalking? Was she aware I was still maybe-kind-of-sort-of obsessed with her fiancé? Or was she finally confronting me about that damn kiss?
I straightened and assumed a casual look that I doubt fooled anyone. “What about him?”
Adriana continued staring out the window. Her jaw flexed. She swiped a finger down her nose, and I noticed how straight and perfect it was. I wasn’t sure what the exact definition of the word ‘aquiline’ was, but her nose made me think that’s what the word means. It doesn’t. In fact, It means the opposite of what Princess Adriana’s nose looked like. I looked it up after they left.
Rick started to respond but the princess raised her hand, stopping him.
She met my eyes, waiting a beat as they bored into me, then said, “He’s missing.”
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A long time ago Katrina Kyle’s alter ego dropped out of college and joined the navy to see the world. She did get to see a lot of the world, but only after she broke down and cried like a baby (long story, but sometimes tears DO work). Katrina and the navy parted ways after four years and she embarked on a civilian life that involved significantly less drinking, decidedly fewer boyfriends, and zero washing of airplanes on an aircraft carrier. Nowadays she splits her time between Cave Creek, AZ and any place with mountains or a beach where she can escape the summer heat of her beloved desert and get her writing on.
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Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Katrina-Kyle/e/B08BMTLXMW