Mystery Tuesday: Who Is This Gal? Meet Chloe Carstairs

Today, mystery writer, Billie Thomas, has given her permission to have decorators, Chloe Carstairs and her mother Amanda, as guests on my blog. Southern Décor Magazine is conducting the interview.
Welcome, Chloe and Amanda!

Following is a transcript of the unpublished Chloe Carstairs interview for Southern Décor Magazine, the South’s premier lifestyle magazine for fictional decorators.

SDM: Thanks for joining me today, Chloe. You don’t mind if I record this?

Chloe: Not at all.

SDM: And your mother’s ok over there? She’s more than welcome to join us. Mother-daughter decorators could be a really interesting angle.
Chloe: She’s fine. She’s just along for moral support. And the “Rising Star” feature is usually about young decorators, right?

Amanda: Despite my advanced years, I assure you my hearing is quite sharp, Chloe.

Chloe: (Whispering) I give her ten minutes before she’s jumping in.

SDM: Alrighty then, lets get started. You’re relatively new to the decorating business. The houses you worked on this past Christmas was your first major projects?

Chloe: Yes and no. I’ve helped out at my Mom’s company, Amanda Carstairs Designs since I was old enough to hold a glue gun. But after she semi-retired, and started only doing the Christmas houses, I began helping her out, which led to me taking on my own clients.

Amanda: I wouldn’t say I semi-retired, dear. Let’s say I started taking fewer projects so I could spend more time with my family.

Chloe: Which I’m sure we all appreciated.

SDM: But she continued with the Christmas houses?

Chloe: The Christmas houses were too spectacular to give up. These were long-standing clients, folks willing to spend $30, 000 and up – way up – on their holiday décor…

Amanda: Excuse me, darling. I’d prefer we didn’t mention an actual dollar amount.

Chloe: Mom, there’s no such thing as client-decorator confidentiality. Mom, why are you coming over here? What happened to being here just for moral support?

Amanda: Moral support and fact checking. Talking about money is tacky.

Chloe: Did you see that? She just flicked her eyes at my tank top when she said tacky.

Amanda: I did not. You’re being paranoid. Though, that’s a lot of boob before breakfast.

Chloe: Can we get back to the interview? Why don’t you sit next to me, so you don’t have to “fact-check” from across the room.

Amanda: If you’re sure you don’t mind.

SDM: Are you kidding? An interview with Amanda Carstairs? This is the highlight of my career.

Chloe: You’re like, what? Twenty-four?

SDM: Next month.

Chloe: There will be other highlights, trust me. So back to the Christmas houses.

SDM: Yes. You had a lot of trouble with them this year. A severed hand. Two dead bodies. You were both held at gunpoint…

Amanda: We don’t like to dwell on the negatives.

Chloe: Especially the “held at gunpoint” part.

Amanda: Don’t look at me like that. It wasn’t my fault you ended up falling down a flight of stairs and mooning half the Birmingham Police Department.

Chloe: I didn’t fall down. I tackled a suspect. And since when do you say “mooning”?

Amanda: Since it became part of an official police report.

Chloe: Some of those boys still call.

SDM: Ladies, we seem to be getting off track. Let me ask you a rather delicate question: Did having two of your clients die at homes you decorated affect your business?

Amanda: Sounds like you’ve been talking to Bunny Beaumont.

SDM: I don’t … I mean …  why do you say that?”

Chloe: Because Mom’s a human lie detector. How do you know Bunny? And don’t bother denying it.

SDM: She plays tennis with my mom.

Amanda: Lovely woman, our Bunny. Just … lovely. To answer your question, no. It has not affected our business in the slightest. In fact, Chloe and I have formed a wonderful new partnership and our first project together will involve turning a gorgeous old castle on the outskirts of Birmingham into a luxury bed-and-breakfast. The transformation is going to be stunning. Chloe’s ideas for the sunroom took my breath away.

Chloe: Really? Because I thought your sketches for the dining room were perfection.

SDM: Isn’t that castle supposedly haunted?

Chloe: Yes.

Amanda: No.

Chloe: It’s supposedly haunted. I’m not saying it actually is. Though there have been some strange noises and there’s this one room that’s always cold …

Amanda: You felt cold because you were wearing a skirt the size of a pocket square.

Chloe: Which time?

Amanda: Every time.

Chloe: Next question.

SDM: Amanda, what would you say is Chloe’s biggest strength as a decorator?

Amanda: Easily her creativity. Her rooms have such a joy to them – from her colors choices to her playful mixes of patterns to the way she infuses light into a space. She’s a natural. I trust her taste completely.

SDM: And Chloe… oh cute, you’re all teary. Ms. Beaumont said you two didn’t get along.

Amanda: We get along just fine.

SDM: Those are all the questions I have right now. Could we get some pictures?

Amanda: Of course. Chloe, did you bring a change of clothes? 

Interview ends.
Author Billie Thomas

 Billie Thomas is the pseudonym of a Birmingham-based author. After the real Billie passed away unexpectedly at the end of 2011, getting Murder on the First Day of Christmas, the first of a series, revised and published was her daughter’s top priority as a way to honor the mom who had given her a lifelong love of books.

In her real life, Ms. Thomas writes within the advertising industry and is a founding member of the writing collective, IndieVisible. Other publications include Bar Code: Your Personal Pocket Decoder to the Modern Dating Scene.

The author enjoys combining her interests in decorating and gourmet cooking with her writing. She is still trying to solve the mystery of her own love life.

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