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Character Interview: Claire Conover from Margaret Fenton’s amateur sleuth mystery ‘Little Girl Gone’



character interviews logoWe’re thrilled to have here today Claire Conover from Margaret Fenton’s new mystery, Little Girl Gone.  Claire is a 30 year old social worker living in Birmingham, Alabama. It is a pleasure to have her with us today at Beyond the Books!

Thank you so for this interview, Claire.  Now that the book has been written, do you feel you were fairly portrayed or would you like to set anything straight with your readers?

I think I’m always pretty fairly portrayed by Margaret.  She used to work with child welfare social workers as the mental health consultant for the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources, so she knows about social workers and what they do every day.  She knows how difficult and draining this job can be, even if mine is at the slightly fictionalized Department of Human Services.

Do you feel the author did a good job colorizing your personality?  If not, how would you like to have been portrayed differently?

Once again, I think she nailed it.  She’s painted me as a very hard worker who’s very dedicated to her job and the kids she serves.  I don’t have much of a life outside work, a social life that is, and I wish that would change.  I could use some more friends.

What do you believe is your strongest trait?

I’m a workaholic.

Worst trait?

I’m a workaholic.

If you could choose someone in the television or movie industry to play your part if your book was made into a movie, who would that be (and you can’t say yourself!)?

What’s her name, from “When Harry met Sally”.  Hang on.  Margaret has to go look this up for me. Meg Ryan.  That’s her.  She’s a bit older than me, though.  Margaret really isn’t much a movie fan and really doesn’t know many actors and actresses.

Do you have a love interest in the book?

Oh Lord, that’s a loaded question.  I have a boyfriend and he’s really wonderful.  His name is Grant Summerville and he’s tall and handsome and owns his own business.  Really love him, but there’s this reporter named Kirk Mahoney who is always flirting with me.  And he is hot.  I know I should walk away and leave him alone but I don’t know if that’s possible.

At what point of the book did you start getting nervous about the way it was going to turn out?

Whenever I hear gunshots I get a bit nervous.  I mean I’ve had one close shave in Little Lamb Lost, and another in this book so I wonder how long my luck can hold.

If you could trade places with one of the other characters in the book, which character would you really not want to be and why?

I have a friend that I meet in Little Girl Gone, and her name is LaReesa Jones.  She’s 13 and her mother—well, let’s just say there is a lot to be desired there.  She lives with her grandmother and she’s pure hell.  But Reese has a lot of spirit and intelligence.  I wouldn’t want to be her, but I really like her!

How do you feel about the ending of the book without giving too much away?

Another close shave and a hell of a cliffhanger.  I’m really worried.

What words of wisdom would you give your author if s/he decided to write another book with you in it?

She’s working on it now.  My third book will be called Little White Lies.  There’s a bombing in Birmingham, and the victim has a baby.  Stay tuned!

Thank you for this interview, Claire.  Will we be seeing more of you in the future?

Hopefully by Christmas.  We’ll see.  She needs to get writing!


LGGcoverTitle: Little Girl Gone

Genre: Mystery

Author: Margaret Fenton

Find out more on Amazon

About the Book:

When Little Girl Gone opens, it’s September in Birmingham, Alabama, and Claire Conover is steeling herself. September—with its oppressive, unwelcome heat, back-to-school newness worn off, and skyrocketing reports of abuse and neglect—is a time of year Claire has come to dread.  As the crime rate increases, so increases the work load for Claire and the Jefferson County Department of Human Services Child Welfare Division. Seems this year is no exception.

When she takes into custody a 13-year-old girl found sleeping behind a grocery store, Claire is swept up in a case that turns out to be far more complicated, and far more dangerous, than initially meets the eye. Struggling to piece together the young girl’s identity, Claire finds herself with few answers and no shortage of questions.  Is the young girl a runaway?  An abuse victim?  Or something else?   But things go from bad to worse when the young girl’s mother is found murdered—and then the girl disappears.  Claire soon discovers that the mother was involved in an illegal gambling industry in Birmingham.  But even with this clue, the case becomes more complicated.  Could the young girl have pulled the trigger?  Is that even possible?  And where could she have run?  Did she run at all? In the midst of all the questions, only one thing is certain: Claire has to find the answers, and the girl, fast.

A swiftly paced, suspenseful, and shocking story, Little Girl Gone earns Margaret Fenton a solid spot among today’s best mystery writers.  Masterful plotting, extraordinary character development, and a pulse racer of a plot combine to create an extraordinary mystery resplendent with twists, turns, and surprises.  An unforgettable story informed by Fenton’s near decade of experience as a social worker, Little Girl Gone also shines a light on the plight of at risk children and the dedication of those tireless and compassionate workers who serve them.  A stellar entry into what Booklisthailed “a promising new series,” Little Girl Gone is mesmerizing.

About the Author:


Margaret Fenton grew up on the Mississippi Gulf Coast and moved to Birmingham in 1996. She received her B.A. in English from the Newcomb College of Tulane University, and her Master of Social Work from Tulane. Fenton spent nearly ten years as a child and family therapist before taking a break to focus on her writing. Her work tends to reflect her interest in social causes and mental health, especially where kids are concerned. She serves as planning coordinator of Murder in the Magic City, a one-day, one-track annual mystery fan conference in Homewood, Alabama. She is President of the Birmingham Chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of the Mystery Writers of America. Margaret lives in the Birmingham suburb of Hoover with her husband, a software developer.

Connect with the author on the web:

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