Sally Jo Pitts is a private investigator, educator, and writer. As a young child, she loved writing, but her career path took her to Florida State University, where she received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Home Economics Education. Later, she received a certification in guidance and counseling from Troy State University.
After teaching and serving as a high school guidance counselor, Sally Jo began writing down the stories that had always lived in her head. She is now also a licensed private investigator with certification in Voice Stress Analysis (lie detection).
Sally Jo lives in north Florida with her real-life hero husband, a former lawman, who operates in his own investigations agency.
What started you on your writing journey?
As a youngster, for fun, I wrote storylines that played out like movies in my head. Writing was a creative passion that gave me great pleasure. However, in college my career path led me into home economics education, and I became a teacher and later a guidance counselor. After retiring, writing ideas began nagging and nudging me to get back to my first love. Now I enjoy living in the imaginary world of my characters and creating a world of my own making what I hope will bring entertainment and inspiration to others.
Just as all good novels include a plot twist, the Author and Creator of our lives often writes in a twist that ultimately blesses us more than our original plan. Have you ever experienced such a “Divine Detour”?
My Divine Detour was meeting my husband. I was the victim in a criminal case, and he was the investigator. I later became a private investigator with him when he opened his own agency. His experiences and stories are the inspiration in much of what I write.
Let’s talk about your new book, Stumbling Upon Romance (Elk Lake Publishing, October 2019). Pease tell us about it.
Accident-prone dog groomer, Claudia Stewart, is a newcomer to Hamilton Harbor, Florida. She hopes to shed her black cloud image, fit in the community, and find a guy who will knock her off her feet.
Instead, Claudia and her canine client knock handyman Pete Cullen off his feet and leave him dangling from an overhead beam. Pete, rejected by a past love, wants to focus on restoration projects and avoid romance at all costs. But Claudia, even with her bungling ways, threatens to steal his heart.
What led you to write this particular story?
I wanted to create a character that felt she needed to change to fit in and find love. But she learns that just as God loves us and has a purpose for us as we are, true love is finding someone who loves as just as we are.
A few fun questions …
When the words aren’t flowing—or when you want to celebrate if they are—what is your favorite comfort food and why?
Chocolate of some sort! I especially like a hot mocha. I make my own with a breakfast blend coffee and stir in 2-3 tablespoons of hot chocolate mix.
What Bible passage or story best describes your journey of faith?
Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
In the story that is your life, are you the strong, female lead; the girl next door; the mysterious woman behind dark glasses; the super heroine; or the little girl trying to walk in high heels?
The little girl trying to walk in high heels paints a pretty good picture of me trying to pitch a story to an editor. I suppose I’ve played all those roles but I see myself more as the (introverted) girl next door.
I’m a dog lover. Please tell us about your pets, if any, or your favorite pet as a child.
I am a dog lover too. I have a miniature schnauzer, Gibbs.
Thanks, Sally Jo! It’s great to have you as a guest at Divine Detour.
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For more information about Sally Jo, visit her website and/or on Facebook or Twitter.
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Enjoyed visiting with you on your website, Kathy, and I love the idea of thinking about Divine Detours in our lives!
I enjoyed this interview with Sally Jo — and love that her dog’s name is Gibbs. An NCIS fan, perhaps?