WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THIS BOOK?
If any of you caught my post on March 24th, you’ll know that I have written two other books on domestic violence. “The Evolving Woman” was non-fiction and was a compilation of real stories from real women of how they escaped from their victim status life and not only grew, but learned to live, love and trust again. Their stories are phenomenal.
My heroine, Cate Sullivan, was one of those “real” characters when I wrote the first words about her over four years ago in LOVE SHADOWS. She was genuinely compassionate toward Luke Bosworth when he had to sell his family home, the house his deceased wife had lovingly decorated, in order to pay medical bills. I didn’t have to think about her, as she was immediately, whole and vibrant to me. I knew that one day I would write her story. When I sat down to devise the storyline, I didn’t jump right into the abuse aspect of her back story. Cate spoke to me as many of my characters do. (Yes. I’m probably a little bit crazy…many of us writers are…we are so lucky.) Anyway, she was standing at my desk and said, “I’m living a lie. I’m not who you think I am.” Then her black hair altered to blonde and her brown eyes faded to the most gorgeous aqua shade. (Last autumn I actually saw those iridescent, spine-tingling pure aqua eyes on a stunt pilot….but that’s another story.)
Cate’s story unraveled faster than a ball of yarn in a room full of kittens. This book is the result.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SCENE?
I have several favorites, Sophie’s Italian wedding under the glittering strings of crystal lights; The scene when Trent watches Cate, Sarah, Maddie and Isabelle scull on Indian Lake one morning. Six year old Danny trying to convince his mother that he’s growing up and getting big enough not to require a child’s seat in the car anymore. Danny, actually, is quite funny. But hands down the following is my favorite.
They walked up the drive to the back steps, which led to the private entrance for the second-story apartment. Trent stopped Cate at the bottom of the steps. “I want to tell you that I think you’re very brave for doing this. You could have bolted like you did before.”
“I thought about it.”
“I’m sure you did,” he said, touching her cheek. “Why didn’t you?”
“Because this is my home. I’ve put down roots, and I don’t want to see anything happen here if I can prevent it. Maybe we wouldn’t be in this position if I’d turned Brad in years ago. This time I’m standing up to him. If you and the police need me to rout him out, then I’m willing to do it as long as Danny is never in danger.”
“I swear I’ll do everything—”
She put her fingers over his soft, full lips. Ones she wanted to kiss. “Don’t promise. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. Brad is a cancer in this world. He needs to be surgically removed. I know that now.”
Trent kissed her palm. “Like I said, you’re a very brave woman.”
“I’m not that brave,” she whispered. “Because right now I’m terrified to be standing in the dark with you.”
“I thought so,” he replied, and kissed her. It was a kiss like none other. Compelling, thrilling and comforting all at once. She felt heady, as though she’d had a glass of champagne. He drew her close to that iron-hard chest of his that told her she needn’t worry ever again. Trent could take care of her. But it was the feel of his tender lips against hers that caused shivers to race down her spine.
She put her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. If she could stay here, kissing Trent, she didn’t have to think about nightmares and a murderous ex-husband. At this moment, she lived another lie—that she was worthy of having a real love with a man like Trent.
WHAT OTHER INSPIRATIONS WOULD YOU LIKE TO MENTION?
I put my autumn tree in there to show you how real the cover of Protecting the Single Mom is. Indian Lake, as some of you know, is the fictionalized vision of my hometown of La Porte, Indiana. Those vibrant colors are so dazzling. The town itself is a character to me. It’s backdrop appears mellow and sweet, but like even like a pretty or handsome face, there is a deep river of emotions, insecurities, faults and fears that run through us all. The town lives and breathes just as do the characters.
WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DID YOU DO FOR THE BOOK?
The research for “Protecting the Single Mom” was massive. The stack of magazine and on-line articles I read was---frankly, a lot. One of the reasons for this, was the fact that the research into drug addition, drug running, gangs, law enforcement work, detective work, legal issues, justice systems both in state and Federal, all were combined in three books. My last book in the series, Sophie’s Path, dealt with drug addiction. Protecting the Single Mom, dealt with the increase of drug trafficking through small towns in the Midwest and leading up into Canada. I was researching two books at one time. I had planned a third, but we decided not to go that route.
The movement of the Mexican cartels into the middle of the United States is not a random occurrence. It is well-planned and financed. Because the mentality of small towns has long been and still is that of “It won’t happen here…drugs/gangs happen only in large cities”, the cartels have swamped our country and they aren’t leaving. Only by being acutely aware of our own surroundings, strange occurrences, odd “swaps” outside the grocery store, the McDonald’s restaurants (a favorite here) and the K-mart parking lots, the police cannot watch everything at every moment. The police rely more and more on “Neighborhood Watches”, citizens who call in and those Instagram photos you can send to the police. Let them check it out. These days, more than likely, what is happening outside your front door is not innocent. It’s a dealer selling to an eight year old.
In my research, I interviewed Special Agents and Special Drug Task Force Policemen who not only answered my questions, but gave me strong advice about my own actions and how to protect myself. The influx of drug dealers into our area is astounding. My research has opened my eyes, caused me to be more cautious about my “scheduled” errands. I try to plan my excursions differently. I close my garage door at all times. Lock my house doors. Car doors and I’ve installed more lights.
WAS THERE ANYTHING OF PARTICULAR NOTE THAT YOU WANT TO MENTION?
Just as I was finishing up this story, I came to work on a Monday morning. I work in my brother-in-law’s dental office as the accountant/bookkeeper, to mention a few of my duties. As I always do, I asked the “girls” how their weekend was. One of our girls, an assistant, said, “I was the victim of a drive by shooting this weekend.” Clearly, she was frazzled as she told the story. Her son-in-law is a drug task force cop. The week prior the police had arrested eight members of the Latin Touch Boys Gang. To retaliate the remaining members shot up three of the policemen’s houses. Mercifully, no one was injured. However, my co-worker, stated that the bullet went through the window and was embedded just inches above her head where she was sleeping. I immediately called Claire Caldwell, my editor, and told her the story. I wanted to put this incident in the book. Claire was all for it. So, when you get to the part about the drive-by shooting at Mrs. Beabots’s house…that was real. Fiction, but based on far too many real facts.
THAT was just about the most harrowing incident I’ve encountered while writing one of my books in a long time. Not the wildest---but close.
WHAT ELSE SHOULD READERS KNOW?
Check out my PRISM BOOK TOUR, if you haven’t already. I have giveaways, free books, Amazon cards, fun posts and more.
In July, my next book in my Indian Lake Series will be released. Here’s a sneak peek at the cover.
And what's a post without a giveaway?
Make a comment here and I will choose a winner on Monday for my new ROMANCING THE TOME tote. Autographed copy of FEAR OF FALLING and of SOPHIE'S PATH--both from the Shores of Indian Lake series. Plus bookmarks and more! Stay in touch with me and keep watching for more giveaways!
IF YOU WANT TO KEEP IN TOUCH WITH CATHERINE:
You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Wattpad, Amazon.com, BN.com, Apple, KOBO and www.catherinelanigan.com . If all that fails, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to hear your ideas and input. There are many more SHORES OF INDIAN LAKES stories coming from Heartwarming. Watch for my December release as well.