Margarita: Not too much, at first. I had a nice routine, you know? I have my day job and I teach jujitsu to teen girls in the evenings, and I geocache whenever I get the chance—geocaching is basically using a GPS unit or smartphone app to look for treasure others have hidden for you, all around the world. Best hobby ever. But recently I had this mysterious online secret admirer who placed a new geocache as a tribute to all the puzzle-based geocaches I’ve been making for others. When I went out to find it in the park across the street from my house, I stumbled on the body of a geocaching friend. Someone had attacked him and left him to die! Not cool at all. His widow doesn’t like his hobby, but she trusted me, so she asked me to look into things. I did, and boy did I get more than I bargained for! I was jumping fences, breaking and entering, and trying to piece together clues that no one wanted to give to me. Talk about a puzzle! And that battle on the cliff? Well, let’s just say I won’t forget that anytime soon.
2. What made you decide to take on such a risky endeavor?
Margarita: I have a secret I don’t talk about. Ten years ago, I lost someone I loved very much. I never even found out what exactly happened to him. One day he was with me, and the next he was gone. So when Ruby asked me to find out exactly what had happened to her husband in the woods, I knew exactly how she felt. I’d been begging the world for answers for a decade, and I never got them. I didn’t want her to feel like I felt. I just couldn’t walk away.
3. Did you ever imagine yourself being involved in fighting crime?
Margarita: No, not really—
Bindi: Oi, you get an interview, and I’m dangling my heels in the hallway? I don’t think so, love. Budge up there. I’d like a go as well.
Margarita: Sorry, this is my roommate, Bindi. She’s from Australia.
Bindi: Fresh off the plane from Melbourne, dumped even before I got to the altar, that’s me. You think this complexion is meant to wear all this black?
Margarita: Bindi alters vintage clothing and sells it. Kind of a retro steampunk thing. And, back on topic, she’s a rabid fan of that detective show, Monk. Being inordinately curious is pretty much the core of her being.
Bindi: Too right it is. But I never really thought I’d be good at detecting anything but overpowering smells. With this nose, I can’t even get close to certain odors. They make me do a chunder. What a mess! Beer’s the worst of all. What dinkum Aussie can’t even handle the smell of our national beverage? Lucky for me, Margarita understands. She’s a good roomie.
4. Who would you say is the least pleased about your additional career choice of amateur sleuthing? Or is detective work your only career?
Margarita: That would be Acting Chief of Police Connor. He thinks he’s a huge professional, but he’s pretty uptight, and that can get in the way of him doing his job.
Bindi: A little? Are we talking about the same man? The bloke’s a right nightmare. Surprised he didn’t arrest you.
Margarita: Ha! I’d like to see him try.
5. What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Bindi: Oi, I’ll get this one. I’m the Nose, right? I can literally smell trouble. But Margarita, she’s the brains of our little operation. She makes these puzzles for fun, like all the bloody time. Carries a notebook with her and everything. So whenever she tries to figure something out, she looks for clues and pieces them together in her head like a jigsaw.
Margarita: I have my blind spots, though. CoughDrewcough!
Bindi: Bless you. Yeah, that Drew thing was a bit of a bingle, wasn’t it? But no worries, it’s not like you killed him or anything. And I’m the one who attempted fashion suicide because I couldn’t cope with my great stupid abandonment issues.
Margarita: No, that was your coping. And so stylish, too!
Bindi: Bloody flatterer.
Margarita: But you love my flattery.
Bindi: Too right I do.
6. Describe what being a self-rescue princess (a strong, confident woman) means to you.
Margarita: I’m centered. It’s a jujitsu term with many applications. There’s the physical meaning, where you take a wide stance and keep your center of balance low and close. It can also mean the attitude you adopt, where you’re ready for surprises but not overly anticipating one or another in particular, not leaning too far toward or away from a possible future. I can definitely defend myself physically, but it also takes a lot of mental focus and stability to handle days and days of chaos, murder, uncertainty in who to trust, and running around gathering clues. Solving this mystery definitely kept me in good shape, body and mind.
Bindi: Oi, how do I top that, then?
Margarita: Well, you topped a pizza with egg once, remember? Your taste in food is so backwards.
Bindi: Not backwards. Upside down. Does no one listen to me when I say I’m from Down Under? Honestly.
7. What one advice/wisdom would you like to pass onto young women?
Bindi: Never solve crime without being yourself. I wasn’t myself when this whole mess started up, and it could have cost me my life. Know yourself, know your limits, let your clothes reflect who you are inside, and never eat spicy burritos before going to a microbrewery. Just saying.
Margarita: *laughing helplessly* It’s true! It’s so, so true.
8. What was one lesson you learned during this challenging time in your life?
Bindi: Fear is a healthy thing. It tells you when you might be pushing things a bit too far, and it lets you know you’re alive and want to stay that way. I wasn’t sure who I was without the bloke who dumped me, until everything I had was in danger. Then I found out how much awesome I’m made of.
Margarita: That’s hilarious. I was gonna say the exact opposite! My fears kept me from being able to piece together a certain handsome man’s motives until it was nearly too late. That situation could have gone very differently, and so much worse than it did. I nearly screwed everything up because I was too afraid to let love back into my life.
9. If your story or life had a theme song, what would it be?
Bindi: Not sure, love, but it’d have the proximity beep alarm from my GPS unit in there somewhere. Oh, wait! That Regurgitator song, “I Like Your Old Remix.” It’s hard to adapt sometimes, you know? But sometimes we don’t have a choice. Life drags us off into the bush, and we find out we’re bloody invincible. Plus, the music video makes me laugh.
Margarita: Does anyone outside Australia know who Regurgitator is?
Bindi: They bloody well should!
Margarita: This is kind of an American interview.
Bindi: And? Australians are the most amazing people on the planet, forged in an environment that tries to kill us at every bloody opportunity. Our music is a product of the fittest musically-inclined survivors. You should bloody listen to it. Could save your life or something. Ignorant Seppos.
Margarita: Hey, no insults.
Bindi: I call you an ignorant Seppo. Like, all the bloody time.
Margarita: Because. I. Let. You.
Bindi: Oh. Right. Sorry. Americans are really very nice, and I’m not being fair. After the disaster my life became in Australia, I really am thrilled to be living here in Oregon with Margarita. So don’t mind my rampant nationalism. I mean every bloody word of it, but only in a nice way. Promise.
10. Do you plan on dabbling in amateur sleuthing in the future, or have you hung up your detective hat?
Margarita: Well, a certain handsome someone has made reservations for three at a historic hotel out in Shady Bend for the weekend before Valentine’s Day. He’s kindly letting Bindi come along because there’s a weekend-long geocaching event going on. It has a costume ball and everything! I’m totally excited. I can’t wait!
Bindi: Oi, right, because surely nothing bad could happen at a love-themed costume ball where everyone’s dying to get in.
If you’d like to know more about Margarita or Bindi, you can find their story at these places:
Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009V4LABY