Posted in Coffee With Characters

Coffee With Characters: Amber Eckart

Thank you so much for joining us today!

“You’re welcome, and thank you for asking my author to send me over.”

Please introduce yourself! Tell us who you are and what you do!

“My name is Amber Eckart. I’m thirty six and unmarried, although I do have a long-distance boyfriend who I don’t get to see nearly often enough. As to what I do, I own and operate a small private investigations firm out of south Seattle, and have for almost eight years now. A lot of firms like mine, most of them are highly specialized, but I’m a generalist. I’ll take almost any kind of case provided the work is legal. I do well enough at it to stay afloat, but I’ve had to tighten my belt a few times.”

Tell us about your story. What is it about?

“The series I star in concerns itself with the occasional ‘interesting’ case I’ve found myself working, and so far there have been two, a mortgage fraud and a suicide investigation. I’ll stick with the mortgage fraud. The suicide investigation was…well, let’s just say it’s not a favorite memory of mine.

“The case happened during the robo-foreclosure scandal that went down around 2012…you know, where a lot of innocent people lost their homes. My client was an elderly lady who had found herself in difficulty with her mortgage provider. Right away I could determine that the foreclosure was fishy, and it only grew fishier the more I dug. As far as what happened next, I’m afraid confidentiality rules prevent me from giving out any more details. It was interesting, though.”

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What role do you play?

“Catch-up ball. (laughs) In all honesty, it depends on how you look at it. The author chose to tell the story from my perspective, which makes me the star I guess, but in the grand scheme of things I was more like a fly in the ointment for a bunch of powerful people. Or maybe the pain in the ass they didn’t take seriously enough until it was too late for them. Again, confidentiality rules prevent me from handing out any juicy details, but I can tell you this. I mostly remember being worried about keeping my business intact and me and my employees out of prison.”

Can you tell us about one of your most distinguishable features?

“Well, physically speaking I don’t really have any, which is good because so much of my job involves watching people or following people without them spotting me. In my business we call that ‘being made’, and it’s something I try hard to avoid.

“As to what people notice, I do have a scar under my right eye that people ask about. And I will admit that if I wear the right blouse-bra combo men sometimes have difficulty keeping their eyeballs out of my cleavage, but come on, that’s the plight of anyone with D cups.” (laughs)

“If I had to give a non-physical thing about me people have commented on, I’d have to go with how I notice stuff other people miss. I’m not Sherlock Holmes or anything, but I have creeped people out by picking up on something everyone else didn’t notice. It’s always baffling to me when that happens. Usually I’m like ‘how did you not see that, it was right there’. That’s all I can think of at the moment.”

Do you have any birthmarks or tattoos?

“I don’t have any birthmarks, but I have two tattoos. One is what’s called a ‘Tri-Ryche’ in yellow and black, which is the symbol that the metal band Queensryche uses on their album covers. You can easily find what it looks like online. It’s on my ankle. I got it done back when I was in college and going through my rocker-girl days. The other is on my arm, and believe it or not confidentiality rules prevent me from telling you about it. I know that sounds weird, but it’s true.”

Would you ever want to hang out with your author?

“Oh shit, that’s a tough one! Some days I wonder if that guy hates me or something. (laughs) But I guess yeah, on balance I wouldn’t mind meeting him. I’d even be nice about it, although I’d definitely have some pointed questions for him about why he gave me such a crappy love life!” (laughs)

What would you do together?

“I’d challenge him to a game. You know, poker or pool, something like that. Probably poker because I’m a pretty good player and so is he. Since he controls my actions and can see inside my head, I’m wondering if he’d cheat, or let me win, or whatever. I’m honestly not sure how that would go, but I’d be curious to find out.”

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

“I wouldn’t want a superpower. Hell, I’m glad superpowers don’t exist.”

Why?

“Under my right arm is a nine millimeter handgun. If I were to draw it, point it at you and apply about eight pounds of pressure to the trigger you’d die. As long somebody isn’t crazy, a felon or whatever they can walk into a store and buy what I carry or something like it, and in America there are plenty of stores who want to sell people guns. The ability to end life by twitching your finger is historically speaking pretty goddamn superpower-ish, it’s real and it exists. And you know what? People misuse it every day. Fuck, you can’t turn on the news without hearing about how somebody shot somebody else over something stupid. So no, I don’t think we’re ready for superpowers just yet. We can barely handle the powers we have already, and I know myself well enough to know that I’m part of the ‘we’. That’s one reason.

“The other is how I wouldn’t want to be that different. Sure, if everybody had a superpower, then maybe I’d be cool with having one. But I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the person with some weird-ass ability no one else on the planet had. Working as an investigator I’ve dug into the reasons why people do bad stuff to each other, and a big one is how people are scared of anyone who isn’t them, and the difference is almost always something silly. I mean come on…people kill each other over skin color for Christ’s sake. Imagine how people would react if somebody could, like I don’t know, walk through a wall and they couldn’t. I don’t think it’d be pretty, and I sure as fuck wouldn’t want to be the wall-passer-througher. I get enough static for being a woman whose idea of happiness is something other than marriage and babies. Walking through walls or reading minds or whatever…Jesus, no thank you. I have zero wish to be that special. I’m weird enough already.”

If everyone had a superpower, what would yours be?

“The ability to eat whatever I want and have my system treat it as health food. I know, I know, that sounds shallow but really, I spend so much time in situations where my only options are ‘eat junk food’ or ‘go hungry’ that having the ability to live on Taco Bell and gas station corn dogs without it killing me would be a godsend. Either that or the superpower of not having to pee. Anyone who’s ever sat through a stakeout will feel me on this one.” (laughs)

What is your biggest pet peeve when dealing with others?

“People have this stupid habit of making snap judgements after hearing like one or two pieces of information and then not wanting to change their minds when someone who knows better tells them they called it wrong. I run into this with clients an awful lot. Sometimes people hire me to find something out, like a wife wanting to know if her husband’s cheating because she thinks he is, so I dig and I find out he isn’t. She believes he is, so when I tell her he isn’t she thinks I didn’t do my job, that I must have missed something. I’d like to remind you that these are people who hired me because I’m better than they are at finding stuff out, but noooo, all of a sudden their vague suspicion is oh-so-superior to my investigative skills. It annoys the hell out of me, but when a client pulls that horseshit I can’t do much more than politely negotiate around it. Annoyance is annoying, but I still need to get paid.”

What would I love most about you? What would I hate the most about you?

“Honestly, those are both tough questions to answer because it really depends on who you are, and I don’t know you. If you’re the sort of chick who has a problem with women who want to do something other than the marriage-and-kids thing, I’m pretty sure what you’d hate the most is how I’m bad at ‘girly’ but I’m still making it anyway. Believe it or not, I run into that a lot. I don’t have too many female friends and that’s a big reason why.

“If you aren’t that type of person though, I’m guessing that’s what you’d like about me. I’ve also been told I curse too much for some people, which is something I’ll totally own. When I get upset, ‘fuck’ is my stress-ball. No joke, I’ve made Marines and street cops blush!” (laughs)

Do you think your author portrayed you accurately?

“If you’re talking about what I do, not quite but I forgive him. PI work is by and large a lot of paper-chasing and courtroom mechanics, and he shows me doing a lot of exciting stuff, high-drama stuff. Sure, he mentions the dull procedural parts but he focuses on the exciting bits. I forgive him for that though, because six hours of sorting through documents to find the one you need isn’t all that exciting unless you’re me and you’re living it. In my heart I wish he’d focus on the procedural elements more because that’s such a huge part of what I do, but in my head I know this is why he’s writing the novel and I’m living it, because that stuff doesn’t make for a good book. Or something. Damn, this meta shit will give you a headache if you think about it long enough.

“Anyway, as to who I am as a person, yeah I feel pretty well represented. There are some parts of my life I wish he’d get around to putting into a story already, but he’s a finicky artist-type and everything just has to be perfect. I’ve learned to be patient, but really, some of this stuff he just needs to either say or not say. ”

What is your idea of a perfect day?

“I don’t have those, but I do have perfect moments. You have to understand, I’m pretty grounded in reality so the idea of a ‘perfect day’ doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. But perfect moments do exist, I know this because I’ve felt them. I feel them when everything swings right at my business, when the phones are ringing, all my employees are busy, I know we’ll finish out the month in the black and all I see around me are smiles.

“Look…I’m the boss, and being the boss isn’t a bowl of punch, okay? I have three employees, and they depend on me. They look up to me and when times are bad, and that happens sometimes in my profession, I have to know what to do not for me but for them, because they’ll lose a lot if I don’t. They’ll suffer if I make a mistake, and call me crazy but I’m just not okay with that. Sure, it’s the job I took on when I opened up a firm and hired people, but it sure as hell isn’t easy. Especially when they look to me and I have no idea what needs to happen next but they depend on me to know anyway. In that moment, I have to give them something even if I have nothing.

“So yeah. A perfect day for me is when all is right with my business, ringing phones and everything I already said. When that happens, all I can do is smile and think about how none of it would exist if I hadn’t made it exist. If somebody could make that feeling into a drug, they’d be a millionaire. I’m not even kidding.”

What is your greatest fear?

“Take all that stuff I said about my perfect day and reverse it. I do a lot of work to make sure that never happens, but I know it can. All it would take is a bad decision on my part. Not going to lie, that keeps me up nights.”

Someone is secretly in love with you. Who is it and how do you feel about that?

“My boyfriend, Drake. He’s an old college friend of mine. I never knew he had a crush on me until I crossed paths with him again and well, one thing led to another. Like I said before, right now our relationship is a long-distance one, and it’s for reasons neither of us are happy about. It’s…complicated.”

“As to how I feel about it, jeez, I don’t know. I’ve never been good with the squishy stuff. Mostly, I wish he wasn’t so damn far away. When I’m around him I can relax, not have to act strong and fearless like I do around my employees. He’s really good at that, letting me know that I can be human. I didn’t know how much I needed that in my life until he showed me. I don’t know if that counts as love, but I like it.”

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

“A police officer, definitely. My dad was a cop, and his family has public servants in it going back almost to the Civil War, cops and soldiers and firefighters and stuff. I was an only child, and I really felt the need to follow in his footsteps. It didn’t work out for me. I’d rather not go into why.”

If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?

“I’d get my affairs in order. Again I have people who depend on me, and if I were about to check out there’s a bunch of stuff I’d need to do to make sure those people would be okay without me. If I had time, I’d travel to where Drake is and spend whatever hours I had left with him. If I knew I was about to die, I imagine I’d be pretty scared, and Drake’s somebody I can be scared around. Most everyone else in my life isn’t.”

What is the one food you can’t live without?

“Coffee, without a doubt. In my line of work it isn’t a food, it’s a food group. (laughs)”

If they turned the book into a movie, who would be cast to play you?

“Hmmm…I don’t know. As you can see I’m a size twelve, and there aren’t too many actresses in Hollywood who have that much junk in their trunk. (laughs) If I were to go on acting ability, I’d say Jennifer Lawrence. She’s snarky the way I’m snarky, and she’s mentioned in interviews that she’d love to gain weight for a role instead of always having to slim down. Either her, or Catherine McCormick. I’ve been told I look like her, but only by guys who were trying to get into my pants, so I don’t know how true that is. (laughs)”

Check out Eric Plumes Website to find out more about Amber and check out The Eckart Mystery Series! http://ericplume.com

Eckart Mysteries Book 1 Amazon US:

http://a.co/2vh1WXk

Eckart Mysteries Book 2 Amazon US:

http://a.co/eKhpUJy

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