Bertram: Who are you?
Alison: Alison Quin, wife, mother of five, and independent environmental management consultant.
Bertram: What is your story?
Alison: Well, my life was pretty boring . . . until I killed my biological father (long story). I had good reasons for killing the a-hole — for one thing, he killed my mother and framed my dad (the man who raised me). That doesn’t even count what a jerk he was to me while I worked for him. Let’s leave it at this simple fact — the man deserved to die. It got my dad out of jail, so it was worth the nightmares I have every night, now.
Bertram: Where do you live? In Wapanebi, Ohio — a rust belt town in the northeast corner of the state, right along the lake. It’s named after the Wapanebi Creek, which has its mouth at Wapanebi’s lake front.
Bertram: Are you the hero of your own story?
Alison: I wouldn’t call myself a hero. Perhaps a victim — but even that doesn’t sound right. Maybe someday I’ll work myself out of the pickle I landed in when I killed my biological father. You see, this mob enforcer, Cappy, witnessed the whole thing. Now he’s using it to blackmail me into performing hits for the mob. Guess you could call me Hit Mom.
Bertram: What is your problem in the story?
Alison: My first adventure as Hit Mom involves a contract to kill David Leukens. I thought it would be difficult, but the more I find out about him, the more I think killing him won’t be so hard.
Bertram: Do you have a problem that wasn’t mentioned in the story?
Alison: I don’t think so, though I suppose being raised by a man who drank to drown the memory of disposing of his beloved wife’s body probably didn’t lead to the happiest childhood. I don’t recall being particularly unhappy as a kid, though. I’d say my childhood was pretty normal — though that seems an odd statement knowing what I know now. I love my dad — we had to rely on each other to make it, because there wasn’t anybody else. That’s not to say I didn’t resent the drinking, and having to do all the work around the house that a mother would usually do. But to me, it was normal.
Bertram: Do you embrace conflict?
Alison: Heck, no. I hate conflict. I avoid it at all costs.
Bertram: Do you run from conflict?
Bertram: How do you see yourself?
Alison: I think I’m a pretty good Mom (hopefully my kids would agree). I’ve had five kids, and I have the stretch-marks and baby fat to prove it. I do have pretty blue eyes, but they’re in the middle of square face that really isn’t classically pretty. Luckily, my husband is blinded by love — he tells me I’m beautiful all the time. Honestly, I have to bite my cheek to keep from laughing at him. I’m intelligent — my smarts are the one thing I’ve always had going for me. And I am pretty darn good at my chosen profession.
Bertram: How do your friends see you?
Alison: I don’t have a lot of friends — I tend to be a hard person to get to know. My husband is my best friend, and he sees me as beautiful (we already talked about that) and intelligent. My best friend from college is like a sister to me (or at least what I imagine a sister would be like) and she says I’m one of the smartest people she knows. My other good friend, Sally, says I’m a bitch, but she is too, so I think that’s just our relationship — it’s different. I have other casual friends, most of whom probably see me as a devoted wife, mother and daughter — and I am. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep the people I love safe.
Bertram: How do your enemies see you?
Alison: I’d like to think I don’t really have many enemies, but I guess that’s changed now. My number one is probably the mob, and they seem to think I’m useful, though I think I frustrate Cappy just a bit. It’s really my own fault I’m in this mess. I’m not saying I wouldn’t kill my biological father, again — but I’d be damn sure nobody was watching. My other ‘enemy’ would probably be Detective Leo Percival — he’s the guy who investigated my biological father’s death. He can’t prove it, but he suspects that I killed him. Again, I don’t really think Percival is a bad guy — in fact, really, he’s one of the good guys, and in all honesty, I kind of like him. If only he wasn’t always trying to trip me up and make me admit I killed my father. I guess that makes him an enemy. I’m really not sure how he sees me — I guess you’ll have to ask him.
Bertram: How does the author see you?
Alison: She thinks I’m wonderfully flawed — huh. I don’t think it’s a flaw to do things to protect the people you love. Guess it all depends on your point of view.
Bertram: Do you think the author portrayed you accurately?
Alison: I guess. The two short stories are pretty accurate depictions. I’ll wait to judge the novel when it’s done.
Bertram: What do you think of yourself?
Alison: I think I pretty much covered that in the answer above. I’m not a bad person — but even good people do bad things. The bad thing I did is just a little worse than most people would admit to.
Bertram: Do you have a hero?
Alison: Hmmm, that’s a good question. I think my dad is a pretty amazing person, knowing what I know now. He lived with some pretty terrible, and underserved, guilt over my mom’s death, and yet managed to give me a pretty decent childhood, all things considered. To me, that’s heroic — doing what has to be done to ensure the happiness of those you care about. I like to think I’m following in his footsteps.
Bertram: Do you have a goal?
Alison: My goal, at the moment, is to keep from going to jail for murdering my father. If I could, I’d love to get out from under the mob, but right now they’re holding all the cards. I haven’t quite figured that problem out yet. I keep thinking maybe Percival could help, but he’s way too intent on putting me in jail right now.
Bertram: What are your achievements?
Alison: I guess my five kids are probably my greatest achievements. They’re my legacy.
Bertram: Do you talk about your achievements?
Alison: No. I wouldn’t want my kids to get big heads.
Bertram: Do you keep your achievements to yourself?
Alison: Naw, I let my achievements run free, though they do have a pretty strict curfew.