Hawaiian Eye – an Interview with JJ Fonne

How does it feel to be a private eye?       Amazing, I have to admit.  When my cousin Rey suggested we pursue careers as private investigators after several wacky escapades at our aunt’s creepy New England mansion, I had to laugh . . . hysterically.

What made you change your mind?       Dear Cousin Reynalda—it’s very hard saying no to her.

Does she tell you what to do all the time?     No.  Not that she doesn’t try.  [chuckles]  She’s a bit of a control freak.

Is it hard working with your ‘control freak’ cousin and her best friend?       We all have our peculiarities, traits, and quirks.  There are moments when we get on one another’s nerves but, overall, we get along very well.  Maybe it’s because the three of us are so different, that we gel as well as we do.

What do you enjoy the most about being a private investigator?       Fitting the pieces of a puzzle together.  It’s challenging and exciting when a scattered puzzle is laid out before you, and gratifying when it’s all been assembled.

I’ve asked Rey and Linda this, and now I ask you: what do you believe was your most dangerous moment as a P.I. so far?       There were a few, but I’d have to say being caught alone with William Howell at his estate; he was determined to kill me.  There was a lot of Hannibal Lecter in that man.

I’ve also asked your colleagues this: as a P.I., what’s one thing you’re good at and one thing you’re bad at?       I’m good at sticking with something or someone.  I’ve been likened to a dog with a bone, and I’d agree with that.  Rey would more likely state I’m as stubborn as an ox.  I’m bad at stepping back or away.  The stubborn dog—or ox—within won’t let me.  [laughs]

What are your long-term career plans?       I believe we all agree that we’re in the private eye business until we retire.  Rey’s talked about expanding the agency to a couple of other Islands.  We have a ways to go before that’s doable, but I can see it happening down the road.

What case are you working on right now?       We have two: we’re searching for a stalker and may have a jewelry store robbery to suppress.  I really can’t share more details.

Have you ever killed anyone in the line of duty?       Unintentionally, yes.

Care to elaborate?       No.

What advice would you give to those aspiring to become private eyes?
Learn all that you can first.  Take some courses.  Make sure you’re relatively fit and have self-defense training.  While the P.I. lifestyle may appear exciting on TV—and it truly can be—it has its dark and dangerous moments.  If you can’t handle stress, consider another profession.

You mentioned your aunt’s creepy mansion.  Is she the “dotty” aunt who lives on a vast estate that’s haunted by a ghost named Fred?  I understand you actually met him.       
Aunt Mat’s place was indeed haunted and, yes, I did meet Fred.

Truly?       Truly.

What can you tell me about him?       Fred Maxwell was a relative of Pete Maxwell, the guy who tipped off Sheriff Garrett about Billy the Kid’s whereabouts after that spectacular escape from the Lincoln courthouse in 1881.

So he was a cowboy?  Did you talk to him?  Take a photo or film him?       If the man wanted to be a celebrity, he’d have made his ghostly presence known and seen more often.

Weren’t you going out with a known drug dealer?       Alleged drug dealer.  Richie J was and has never been caught doing anything illegal.

But you admit you went out with him?       I went out with the man.

You’re not going to elaborate on that, either, are you?       There’s nothing to elaborate.

What do you do to relax?       Walk and box, stay fit, read.

What’s your pet peeve?       Three come to immediate mind: people who abuse animals, folks who throw garbage anywhere, and road ragers.

Anything else you’d like to share as a Hawaiian Private Eye?       I’m grateful for the opportunities had and people met so far; they’ve enabled us to develop skills and grow both professionally and personally.  Having moved to Hawaii—another one of Rey’s ideas—was a smart move.  Oahu’s the most amazing place on earth.

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