Monday, July 29, 2019

A chat with Vett Brayborn, a gifted detective!

Vett Brayborn is a character created by Dr. Sandra Tanner

Hello there, my dear readers! Ready to start another week? I'm doing an extra post today, for Ms. Vett Braybron, a fascinating cozy detective with a special gift. Tell us, Vett, what is your major strength while investigating a murder? 

I have a power from within. The easiest way to explain it is to say I have a gift of sight. Some people in my community don’t like those words and don’t understand what I can do. Nevertheless, I have a supernatural sight that brings me knowledge and discernment far beyond what anyone else has admitted to being able to know or discern. When I say knowledge, I mean having an uncanny understanding of what is right and wrong in a situation or thing. The knowledge is closely related to wisdom—knowing clearly how, when, where, and what to do with the knowledge presented to me. The discernment gives me the ability to look at a situation or environment and at some point know the truth. The truth is not always plain as day or quickly revealed. But after removing layers, I see it.

In my youth, I was afraid of my gift because my friends could not do what I could do; I didn’t want to be different. There were many times in my youth where my mother held my crying and shaking body while consoling me and helping me to see that what I had was nothing to be afraid of. She showed me that what I was able to do was my gift from God and that other people had gifts that I didn’t have. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was completely comfortable with it and knew explicitly that my gift was given to me to help people.

That's quite a strength! And what’s your major weakness while investigating a murder?
I’m a softy at heart. I tend to become too involved with the interested parties; I empathize deeply with the people I am helping. I share in their suffering and grief. I’ve tried to remain detached because I think the knowledge and discernment would come to me quicker if I did. You know the old adage “can’t see the forest for the trees.” I think I become too involved with making the people I work for feel better or comfortable that it takes a moment for me to see the situation outside of them. But I eventually do. When I was working to find the name of the murdered victim found buried on my deceased great aunt’s farm, I was so concerned about making sure my great aunt’s name did not get tarnished that I had to stop worrying and refocus on the main point at hand: There was a dead man who needed to be identified and his killer needed to be found. So sometimes, I need to stop and refocus myself.  I don’t want to be un-emphatic. I just need to stay better focused on the case in addition to recognizing and sharing the perspective of the people I work for. 

The human element is very important while wroking on a case. What’s your daytime occupation? How does it relate to your investigations?

I own a Southern food restaurant called Vett’s Place that I love. It is open seven days a week. I am the full-time manager and my Aunt Clove—my mother’s youngest sister—is the chef. She is the best cook I know. My restaurant does extremely well and I am proud of it.

Since I am the owner and manager, I can come in late or leave at any time to carry out my inquiries and investigations. My strong people, leadership, finance, and creativity skills helped make my restaurant the success that it is. These same skills assist me in my investigations. The biggest of these skills is people skills. My employees and clients trust me. I work hard to make sure they do.

Who do you see yourself closet to: Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple or Sam Spade? 

Definitely Miss Marple. I am not an elderly spinster, but I am an amateur consulting investigator, just like Miss Marple. Also, like Miss Marple, I solve crimes using my shrewd intelligence (and in my case, my gift). I, too, have a remarkable ability to latch onto a casual comment and connect it to the case at hand. I love the Miss Marple stories and can relate to them wholeheartedly. Two of my favorites are The Mirror Crack’d and a Caribbean Mystery.

The Mirror Crack'd is a favorite of mine too. Do you have anyone helping you in your investigations? Tell us about them. 

Unlike Miss Marple who has no regular secondary character around her, I have my best friend Dimma Kirkland. Dimma and I have been best friends since elementary school. She owns a successful real estate agency. Dimma did a great job in handling the sale of my great aunt’s farm and other properties. She does not always accompany me on my inquiries and investigations, but we do meet to discuss my findings. She has a special knack of asking questions that bring me enlightenment. Dimma has been married since graduating college and has one child, Simone, who is my godchild.

Dimma is the yang to my yin—up and down, respectively. When I am feeling down about a case I have yet to solve, Dimma will inevitably say the right thing that will pert me right up.

Let's wrap it up with a quote. Do you have a favorite one? 

I have two.
1.     And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (MEV Bible, Galatians 6:9)
2.     Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be. (Joseph Campbell)
Some days when I feel like I am getting nowhere in my inquiries and investigation, hearing or reading these two quotes are just what I need to get me back on track. These two quotes are so uplifting.

Thanks for the interview, Vett, and I hope to visit your restaurant soon!


A native of Pittsylvania County, VA, Dr. Tanner holds a Ph.D. in Organization and Management (Leadership focus) from Capella University, Minneapolis, MN, a Master of Science in Administration from Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI, and a Bachelor of Liberal Arts from the University of Richmond, Richmond, VA.
At an early age, she developed a love of mystery and suspense stories from reading popular detective novels and magazines. She directed this love into writing her own whodunit murder mysteries. Her published novels are Sundrenched WaterSecrets of Salmer Tawgg (So Now They Know), and Sacks of Murder. Her short story Oh, My Dear God! won 3rd place prize in The Writers Weekly 24 Hour Short Story Contest. She is currently seeking publication for her fourth murder mystery novel—Stolen Four Minutes
Dr. Tanner enjoys watching detective television shows, and she looks forward to solving the crime ahead of the detectives. She considers herself to be an amateur investigator and delights in formatting plausible whodunit scenarios.
She is a member of James River Writers. She is a past president and past director of the Richmond chapter of ISM (Institute for Supply Management). She served for 11 years as the president of the 23rd Investment Group, an investment group she founded, which is currently in its 19th year of operation.

Dr. Tanner lives with her husband in Richmond, Virginia, where when she is not writing, reading, or attending writing seminars, she travels seeing the beauty of our fifty states—eleven more states left to visit.

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