Today Melanie and I find ourselves in beautiful Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, USA!
It’s Cold! Queenslanders are so not used to snow and wind which cuts right through thermal undies. Though we are rather enchanted by the soft white powder fluttering down from the clouds, covering everything in ice and wonder.
We’re here to chat with Bailey Johnson, the main character in Danielle’s suspense series , Mail Boat.
We find the teen waiting for us in a local coffee shop sipping hot cocoa and pretty much keeping to herself. Her light brown hair, which is tied back, has a soft wave to it with delicate wisps escaping from the sides.
“She looks like any other teen, but this bunny has seen some darkness,” Mel whispers into my ear as we make our way toward the table.
I nod and pay closer attention to the teen. Mel’s right. There’s pain in those sharp bright eyes, pain a girl her age should not know.
We greet the girl in unison.
“It’s nice to meet you. Thanks for coming out all this way.” Bailey welcomes us.
We sit down and a waitress pops over to take our orders.
“Two hot cocoa’s please.”
“So Bailey, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?” I start the interview as Melanie places her Ipad on the table and readies her keyboard.
“What would you like to know?” She eyeballs the both of us before sipping her sweet chocolatey drink.
“Are you from Lake Geneva, or did you move here later in life with your family?” Mel asks as the waitress returns and places two steaming hot drinks before us.
“I guess I really don’t come from anywhere. I went into foster care when I was five because my mom and her boyfriend-of-the-day were doing drugs and getting into fights.
I never knew who my dad was, but I like to dream he’s basically some badass superhero and he’ll come rescue me someday. ”
Her sad words cause both Mel and I to swallow hard.
“Is there any person you admire?”
“Oh, God, I wish you hadn’t asked. It feels so weird, how much I look up to him, but…
Tommy. He’s been the Mailboat captain for just about forever—fifty years or something—and, like, he just never changes. I can count on him, you know? No matter how many times I close my eyes and count to ten, he’s still there when I open them again. And he likes to listen to me ramble about stupid little things like my secret pet mouse—yes, I told him—and strange things I read in books, and… he’s just kind of amazing.”
I glance toward Mel. I know the teens words warm her heart as much as they do mine.
“What about school and do you have a part time job?”
“I go to Badger High School, and I’m a MAIL JUMPER!”
“A mail jumper?”
“If you live on the lake around here, you can get your mail delivered by boat. It’s a tradition that goes back, like, a hundred years and we still do it every summer. The mail jumper (that’s me) stands on the front of this big, old tour boat, then jumps off as it passes the pier. We have to run to the mailbox, put in the mail, then get back to the boat.”
“Do you enjoy it?”
“Oh yeah! I don’t think I’ll go far in life, but landing this job is more prestegious than being crowned home coming queen!”
“Thats awesome. We’ve heard you’ve seen a little action as a mail jumper. Would you like to tell us about it?”
Bailey sits back and stares out of the window before she returns her attention to us.
“Thing is, the boat’s so big, it can’t actually stop at every pier or the mail route would take forever. So the boat just cruises by. We mail jumpers have to get back on board in time… or we end up in the lake.
If we miss the boat, it’s usually a big laugh for the tourists. But then there was that one time I fell in and found a dead body…”
Mel and I stifle a Gasp. But Bailey’s face is straight, it’s only her eyes that give us any idea of the shock she’d experienced.
“ ‘Debris’ really wasn’t the right word to describe the object submerged at the end of [the] pier. Actually, he probably would have been quite the hunk, if he hadn’t been all dead and everything. You know, tanned skin, sun-bleached hair, bulging biceps. Beach dude in a business suit. But the fact that he was tied to the pier post by his neck—with his head hanging at a weird angle—yeah. He needed to work on his approach if he was trying to pick up chicks.” ~ Bailey, Mailboat I
“Bailey, thank you so much for chatting with us, and good luck with school and mail jumping.”
About the Author.
Danielle Lincoln Hanna is the author of the Mailboat Suspense Series, set in Lake Geneva, WI. While she now lives in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, her first love is still the Great Plains of North Dakota where she was born. When she’s not writing, you can find her hiking, biking, camping, and kayaking. She also loves to spoil her readers with monthly giveaways featuring her favorite reads and souvenirs from her travels. For access to the drawings, be sure to sign up for her newsletter.