Aimee Hix has been nominated for just about every prize there is (think Lefty, Agatha, Anthony, Shamus, etc.) and her protagonist, PI Willa Pennington is why. The tough-as-nails private investigator puts herself on the line in her first two outings. We’re eagerly awaiting more…

How does a book start for you?

Something, and it can be something that I’ve seen a dozen times, will catch my eye and instead of seeing it as it is, I see something more, something awful. It’s like finally remembering something that’s been on the tip of my tongue and it’s finally ready to ignite sparks; it starts tumbling in my head, setting everything ablaze like an errant firework. 

Who in your latest book has surprised you most – and why?

I think Detective Jan Boyd surprised me the most. She gave Willa freedoms that I wasn’t expecting. She challenged her in ways I wasn’t expecting. She seemed to zig when I had planned for her to zag. She ended up being more like my mentor, Matt Clemens, than I had originally planned even though he was, role-wise, the inspiration for her in the first place.

When and/or where is your latest book set and is there a story behind that setting?

My Willa Pennington PI series is set in contemporary Fairfax County, Virginia. It’s my “hometown” and such a richly diverse area financially and culturally that it’s rife for setting fictional mischief.

What are you working on now?

I actually have three books in progress right now. 

  • The third Willa Pennington book, which I have just received the rights back from Midnight Ink/Llewellyn as they won’t be publishing mysteries anymore.
  • I’m starting a new series, cozier than my Willa books, based around the family secrets of a French-American woman.
  • I have a very dark thriller about what happens when a woman reaches her breaking point and refuses to be a victim any longer.

Which question didn’t I ask you that I should have?

Is having three dogs the best thing ever? Yes, it is the best thing ever if you like loud, muddy, and drool and fur on everything. Luckily, I do. Or I don’t necessarily like those things but I’m willing to put up with them to snuggle with the sweetest dogs ever. #teamblackdog

Aimee spent twenty years working as a federal contractor, so she spent a lot of time contemplating murder. It made total sense that once she retired she would devote her whole life to it. Fictional murder, of course.

She is a native of Northern Virginia and so she truly understands the trials and tribulations of her main character, Willa Pennington, an apprentice PI starting her new career in the Starbucks-laden, decidedly non-gritty streets of Fairfax County.

Aimee lives in Virginia her family, three dogs, and all her killer thoughts. You can visit her at