Sally Jo Pitts is a former educator, who now writes whodunit mysteries. She holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Home Economics Education from Florida State University and a certification in guidance and counseling from Troy State University.

After a career in teaching and counseling, she worked for thirty years as a licensed private investigator with certification in Voice Stress Analysis (lie detection) alongside her late husband in his investigations agency. Investigative work now takes a back seat to her love for writing. When Sally Jo isn’t dreaming up new things for her website, she is searching out ways to complicate life for her fictional characters, who are ultimately searching for God’s purpose in their lives. Her new book, Sweet Deceit, releases this month.

Sally Jo resides in North Florida with a Schnauzer named Gibbs.


If someone asked you to describe yourself with one word, what word would that be?

Tenacious. Since I retired from education and investigations, I have felt pressed to write. I have this scripture sitting on my desk that sums up the feeling—“For I am full of words and the spirit within compels me.” (Job 32:18)

Love that scripture! What books have you read lately that inspired you?

David Baldacci – The Fix

Cleo Coyle – Roast Mortem

Both of these books challenge me to learn what I can from their giftedness in storytelling. Baldacci holds my interest with his plots and his interesting protagonist, Amos Decker.

Cleo Coyle has an amazing ability to tap the senses of taste and smell with her talk of coffee blends and she has a knack for writing in-depth character descriptions that really flesh out the different aspects of the person.

Let’s talk about your new book, Sweet Deceit (Elk Lake, March 2024). Please tell us about it.

The spark for Sweet Deceit was based on my late husband’s true experience (before I met him) of being appointed sheriff in a small Florida county after the governor removed the elected sheriff for malfeasance. Both he and the tight knit community initially didn’t want him to be there. His experiences while there fascinated me.

To make it a romantic suspense, I combined truth with fiction and intentionally picked an incongruent title to contrast the idea of good vs evil that he had to deal with.

Here is the back cover blurb:

Someone will stop at nothing to keep the secrets of Sweet County hidden.

Public Relations consultant ANNIE MCAFEE hopes to spend a quiet summer in Sugarville waitressing, housesitting, and job hunting. But her plans are upended after she’s run off the road and narrowly escapes with her life.

Rookie state investigator WILL BRICE is looking forward to a bright future with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement until the governor removes the Sweet County Sheriff and appoints Will to take his place.

Propelled into the middle of Sweet County’s dark secrets, Will and Annie find that deceit hides beneath its sugar-coated façade, and the townspeople prefer to turn a blind eye to wrongdoing.

Confronted with a web of mysterious threats, life threatening crises, and the death of a teenager, the two must work together with the help of an unusual sidekick to expose the corruption.

Can this unlikely crime fighting trio crack the town’s sweet cover?

Do you have a writing hero or mentor?

Susan May Warren. I’ve learned an incredible amount about story crafting from her by belonging to Novel Academy and attending Deep Thinker retreats. She is generous in offering all kinds of writing assistance while churning out bestselling books herself.

What keeps you on your writing journey when life tries to get in the way?

What keeps me on my writing journey when life happens relates back to the first question.

Something nags me if I have to miss working on a writing project. I see what I can put off in order to make up for lost time. Housework gets the biggest hit! I’ve adopted what a motivational speaker once said to a room full of teachers starting a new school year, “I consider dust a protective covering on my furniture.”

Please tell us about Book 2 in the series.

Book 2 in the Sweet County Secrets series is Sweet Double-Cross

If anyone had told research scientist Trudy Fields that she would consider marrying a man she’d met less than 24 hours earlier and trust him with secrets that could affect the world, she’d have called it ludicrous. But here she was, in this exact situation.

Thanks, Sally Jo! It’s nice to have you back at Divine Detour.

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For more information about Sally Jo, visit her website and follow her on Facebook, X, and Instagram.

To order Sweet Deceit, go to –