My name is Amelia Louise Ivery Hobbes. The Amelia was from my mother; she wanted me to have the spirit of Amelia Earhart. What I got was a hopelessly old-fashioned “Amelia Louise” with a last name that was always spelled Ivory on the first try.
I went through high school as Amy, spelling it “Aimee” and saying “Oui” to everyone.
I finally settle on Amy Ivery in college, which made for a short, snappy byline when I began a career in journalism.
I’d written under that name for a couple of years when Vincent Hobbes came along. A lot of women I knew kept their original names when they got married but I wanted to be part of my own family, so I became Amy Hobbes.
I began in journalism on the cops beat. It’s a place where there’s always news and I loved it. It’s how I met Vinnie-the-cop. His family called him that; I took it up through osmosis.
I was learning the ropes, getting more and more story assignments when I got pregnant with Heather, our daughter. When I went back to work, Vinnie insisted that I take a different, less dangerous assignment, so I starting covering local politics. Safe as milk until a disgruntled city sanitation worker holed up in the mayor’s office as I was interviewing His Honor.
SWAT was called, no shots were fired, everybody walked away, but Vinnie was upset.
Vinnie was a good cop, a careful cop, but he let the hysteria of a high-speed chase get him involved in a gun battle. The bad guy—who’d killed two innocent kids in a drug deal gone bad, then taken off in a stolen car—was dead. But so was Vinnie.
My widow’s pension wasn’t enough to support us and I couldn’t just stay home and be a mom. Too many ghosts were in my head. I needed something big, something challenging, to keep them buried.
The San Fernando Valley Globe helped with this. I was back covering local politics and went to a local rally for a councilman. I was chatting with a campaign staffer when a good-looking man came up and joined us. The staffer’s eyebrows rose, but he introduced me anyway.
“Amy, this is Brandon Colby. He’s a lobbyist in Sacramento Brandon, this is Amy Hobbes. She’s with the Globe.”
This Brandon guy was smooth. This Brandon guy was pretty. This Brandon guy was going to be dangerous. And I married him and moved to Monroe.
The only thing I wanted to solve was a crossword puzzle. My life was on a different track than I’d planned, but it was secure and safe. Until the day Brandon came home and announced he’d taken a different job. It was bigger and better and paid more. He’d be working at the national level. It was in Chicago. Heather and I wouldn’t be joining him. He was moving with his pregnant girlfriend, a staffer in the Illinois legislature.
It took two weeks before I got out of bed and went down to the Monroe Press to talk to the publisher. Now I’m the Managing Editor for the Monroe Press and end up solving a lot of things; my staff’s personal crises, AWOL reporters, managing a tiny and still-shrinking budget and the mystery of why people do things, including murder.