Today we're welcoming Liz Carmichael, the heroine of Murder at Eagle Summit. Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
I sure have. Who knew a ski resort could turn out to be such a frightening place!
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I’m a classical musician, and though I live in Kentucky now, I went to school at the University of Utah, where my family lives. My cousin and I have had a pact since we were girls – she’ll sing at my wedding, and I’ll play at hers. So when she and her fiancé decided to have a romantic winter wedding at the ski resort where we spent so much time during college, my friends Jazzy and Caitlin and I packed up our instruments and headed west so our trio could play. Of course I was looking forward to attending my cousin’s wedding, but there was a little matter of turning over a family heirloom, and I dreaded that. And I definitely didn’t want to see the best man, Tim Richards.
2. So, you knew Tim before? Why didn’t you want to see him again?
Well, it’s a little embarrassing. Tim and I were college sweethearts, and we got engaged during our senior year. But I got cold feet. We didn’t part on the best of terms, so I definitely wasn’t looking forward to seeing him again.
And the circumstances when I did see him were a bit of a shock. Tim is now a deputy sheriff in Park City, Utah. The first morning after I arrived for the wedding, a frozen body was found on the ski lift that runs right outside my room’s balcony. During the night I might have seen the victim – or maybe it was the murderer – and that’s bad enough. But even worse, I had to be interrogated by my ex-fiancé! Not a good start to a family wedding weekend.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I’m really independent, and I think that’s a strength. Also, I’m normally level-headed, and I tend to stay calm during stressful times. I accomplish this with a bit of an acerbic tongue, which I inherited from my grandmother. She’s another person I wasn’t looking forward to seeing in Park City, because I knew she would take every opportunity to remind me how I embarrassed her when I broke off my engagement with Tim. If you ask my grandmother, she’ll tell you my greatest weakness is my unreliability, and she’ll hold up my failed engagement as an example.
But personally, I don’t think I’m unreliable at all. If I have a fault, it’s that I carry independence to an extreme. I wield it like a shield, so much that I have trouble accepting help from anyone else even when my life is in danger. Not good, especially in the situation I found myself in at Eagle Summit.
4. What scares you?
If you’d asked me that question a year ago, I would have said, “What’s there to be afraid of?” But I’ve had a couple of encounters with some pretty frightening people recently, and now people with a personal agenda and no conscience scare me.
Another thing that scares me—though I don’t admit this, even to myself—is the suspicion that I made a terrible mistake when I broke up with Tim. What if he was my only chance at happiness? What if I never meet anyone else who can measure up to him? I don’t want to end up like my grandmother, alone in my old age, cranky and sarcastic.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d have a stronger faith, like my friend Caitlin. Her faith is so out there, you know? When something scary happens, like when we thought our room may have been searched at Eagle Summit Lodge, her first reaction was to pray. She’s always that way. I wish my first thought was to turn to the Lord instead of plowing into a situation with stubborn determination that usually ends up getting me in trouble.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I’m a Christian, but I’m hiding some secrets – from my friends, from myself, even from the Lord. I don’t want to face a painful truth about my past actions, so I don’t think about it.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
In an odd way, I’m grateful for the horrible things that happened at Eagle Summit, because they forced me to open up to my friends about my past. And when I did, Caitlin and Jazzy prayed with me. It was like their prayers and their encouragement cleared out some things that had been clogging my prayer life.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
"Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” (Psalm 51:7, NIV)
I had some dirty secrets in my past, secrets that made me feel unclean. Now they’re all out in the open, and I’ve been forgiven, both by God and by Tim. (Oops! Did I give anything away?)
And, of course, there’s the reference to snow, which is all over the setting of this story.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
Nobody could ever call me sweet. I’m too straight-forward, and occasionally a bit sarcastic. So I’d have to be a dark chocolate mousse, bittersweet and so deliciously rich you can only handle a few bites before you push it back and say, “That’s enough!” And yet, just recently I’ve softened a bit. So maybe you could plop a dollop of cream on top – thick, sweet, and white as snow, of course!
By the way, if you’d like to see a video about my experience in Murder at Eagle Summit, check out my friend Virginia Smith’s website. I told her my story, and she insisted on making a home movie out of it. Don’t tell her I said so, but it’s not half bad. www.virginiasmith.org
Wow, this sounds like a riveting story. Can't wait. Love the video. Very fun.