Whenever I give a talk about being an author, the aspect the audience seems to enjoy most is knowing the inside tidbits about a book and how it came about. My friends often tell me how much fun it is to see bits of my life in my books. Whether you've read any of these books are not, I hope you'll enjoy this "behind the scenes" look.
Until I Die Again was my first published book! The idea of someone dying and coming back in someone else’s body quite literally popped into my head. I loved the way it could play out, whether the heroine tells the truth or keeps it a secret.
Either way, it’s quite a dicey situation, and putting characters into these sorts of spaces make the most fun books. [evil chuckle] After this book came out, someone wrote to ask me how I knew about walk-ins. Apparently this is a thing! The truth is, at least for me, there are so many odd things that happen in our world, and anything is possible. I merely played with those possibilities in several of my books.
The lizard in the book, Greenpeace, was based on a lizard that was hanging around our back porch for a couple of years and in particular, during the time I was writing this story. I, like Chris, used to talk to the lizard because, hey, I’m odd–I admit it. I think the green anoles are the coolest lizards, very sly and wary. The monkey I totally made up, but he seemed so real to me. Chris’s dogs, well, one of them anyway, is based on my real dog, Phoenix. He was a special guy who blessed my life for 14 years. By the way, if you haven't read Until I Die Again, it's available free at most major book retailers. Grab Until I Die Again on Amazon.com or find links to all retailers on BookBub.com.
Silas, a character who appeared to me in full clarity of being, and Katie, inspired by an old photograph of a runway model, anchor this tale. Their lives intersect with the animal world in ways that are both heartbreaking and transformative. The catalyst for this story was my own visceral reaction to animal cruelty, a theme that threads through the narrative, revealing the complex tapestry of human-animal relationships.
Writing about the losses within this book was a profound challenge. The departure of cherished animal characters was not just a narrative necessity but a journey through grief, both for the characters and for me. These moments of loss, though difficult to pen, became crucial turning points in the story, offering a space for reflection on the nature of compassion and companionship.
This book also pays tribute to those quiet, often unnoticed moments of connection between humans and animals. Drawing from my own poignant memories of loss and companionship, it seeks to capture the essence of that unspoken bond. As I merged fiction with fragments of my life, the story unfolded into a realm where joy and sorrow, humanity and animal kinship, are inextricably intertwined, inviting readers to navigate the bittersweet landscape of our shared existence. Find Unforgivable on Amazon.com or find links to all retailers on BookBub.com.
Chloe Samms is probably the heroine most like me. I didn’t do it on purpose. A writer can’t really mold a character the way they want, anyway. A character becomes real and asserts him or herself. And that’s what Chloe did. Compassionate to all creatures, sometimes to the point of ridiculousness—I once made my husband pull off a busy road because there was a lizard clinging to the windshield. Chloe hangs bats from her roof to keep birds from flying into the glass. My husband wouldn’t let me do this, so I bought those decals that are supposed to look like a hawk’s shadow. Unfortunately, they don’t work all the time. I even save bugs, and so does Chloe.
Her cat, Gypsy, is my cat, Gypsy. Her aunt Stella is a loose version of my mom, and her dog is actually my mom’s dog, Rascal. All of the silly things Stella does for her dog…yep, all real. Okay, she doesn’t have an actual bed for Rascal, but he does sleep on a pillow. She covers him with a towel and then if she gets up during the night, she makes sure he’s covered.
Around our area we have a lot of waterways. There was an old man who lived on his pontoon boat, and he ended up in the story. Or at least his likeness. :') Find A Trick of the Light on Amazon.com or find links to all retailers on BookBub.com.
I hope you enjoyed this brief behind the scene of a few of my favorite books If there's a book you're wondering about, please reply to this email, and I'll try to add it in my next look beyond the book!
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