April, 2017 Harlequin Heartwarming release
This book is a thrill for me on many levels. It is the seventh book in my “Shores of Indian Lake” series. For some reason in my head, I thought that if I could successfully construct the first six books, they would become the solid foundation for the next twenty to come—at least that twenty evolving in my head.
In my first book of the series, Love Shadows, I had introduced Cate Sullivan, the realtor who knew Luke Bosworth (that book’s hero) and his deceased wife, Jenny, quite well. Cate had helped Luke through the difficult and sad time of selling his family home that Jenny had loved in order to pay off the crushing debt of her hospital bills.
When I sat down to lay out all the character traits, foibles, arcs, concerns and motivations and was struggling to be both organized and professional about my approach—it didn’t happen. I asked myself question after question about Cate and my hero, but my literary structural outlines were blank.
Instead, as if in a lucid dream, I saw Cate standing next to my desk and she leaned down and said, “I’m nothing what I seem. I live a lie. Everything about me is false.”
As if I were watching a movie, Cate’s hair changed from dark brown to light blonde, her brown eyes morphed into stunning aqua eyes and in a rush, her entire backstory, pains, the life she’d led as an abused wife, the courage she had to escape him, flooded my head and washed onto my pages like a rogue wave headed for shore. The entire story came to me just as quickly. That’s when I started asking more questions and I got answers. Plenty of them.
Years ago, I wrote a non-fiction book, “The Evolving Woman: True Confessions of Surviving Mr. Wrong.” For years, as I’d gone on book tours for my MIRA books, I conducted an essay contest in which women who had once been abused, physically, verbally or mentally, by their husband or boyfriends, sent me their letters. At the end of the month-long book tour, I read all their letters and with my agent, we chose a winner. Their gifts were a weekend at a resort spa. Dinner in the city. Things like that.
Their gift to me was having my eyes opened to the kind of courage and bravery that resides in us. These women were pushed to the brink and when cornered like a wild animal, they reacted. They fled. If they had children, they saved their children. They went to shelters, friends’ houses—usually out of state and in the worst cases, they had to flee to foreign countries.
In nearly all of my novels, I have confronted a social or moral issue that women face, whether in contemporary times or decades, even centuries ago. Again and again, the one that comes up, from North America to Asia, to South America to Iceland is women’s rights and domestic abuse. It pervades all social classes. It knows no boundaries of race. No religion can stop it. No law can govern it. When one person believes they can rein power over another to their own betterment, this evil will always persist.
When children are involved, they seldom overcome the scars of the abuse they have witnessed or endured. They either grow to adulthood believing abuse is the norm or they become the abused. The chains that hold these individuals back are strong and made of a substance more durable than iron. These chains are forged in fear.
My original title for this book was “DANGER ZONE”. Though I’ve always felt that it is a dangerous thing to risk one’s heart to another, there are a myriad of danger zones when the hero is the cop not only commanded to protect the victim, but what if the hero/cop puts the heroine in more danger than she would have been without him?
That’s what I did in “Protecting the Single Mom”. Trent Davis must protect Cate and her six year old son, Danny, from her abusive ex-husband who is now a Midwest drug lord. In order to snare Cate’s ex-husband, Trent’s stings fail. He must resort to using Cate as bait to draw her ex-husband out. But never in Trent’s imaginings does he think that Cate’s ex will kidnap his own son.
When I was writing this story, I interviewed several Special Agents on the Drug Task Force here in my town, which is by the way, the prototype for Indian Lake. My Special Agent friends gave me valuable insight into boring stakeouts and the dangers of the huge stings and drug busts they’ve successfully conducted. One such sting resulted in over thirty arrests, putting several drug dealing gangs out of business. These men and women risk their lives every minute. Every day….for us. That psyche of theirs gave me all the insight I needed for Trent, my hero.
I’ve always been fascinated by romances and love stories slammed against the backdrop of war, unrest, chaos and danger. There is a heightened sense of immediacy and awareness that the attractions the hero and heroine feel, yes, they can be due to not knowing if they will wake up tomorrow, but it also brings true feelings to the surface. Pasts are revealed. Sins are forgiven. Needs are met. Wants are discussed.
There’s no patience in the middle of bullets flying or hand to hand combat. Once survival is met, the next question is, “What makes me happy? Truly happy?”
And at the end, in the end, isn’t that what we should ask ourselves every minute of every day? Did I live this one to my fullest? Did I love my best? Did I make my own “Happy ever after?”
Shores of Indian Lake Series: Love Shadows; Heart’s Desire; A Fine Year for Love; Katia’s Promise; Fear of Falling; Sophie’s Path; Protecting the Single Mom; Family of His Own (July, 2017); Mica’s Baby (December, 2017)
@cathlanigan (Twitter); Facebook; @catherine 9721 Pinterest; www.catherinelanigan.com Prism Book Tour—March 26-April 7.
Catherine Lanigan is the international bestselling and award-winning author of over forty published titles in both fiction and non-fiction, including the novelizations of Romancing the Stone and The Jewel of the Nile, as well as over half a dozen anthologies, including “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living your Dream”, “Chicken Soup for the Writer’s Soul”, and more. Ms. Lanigan’s novels have been translated into dozens of languages including German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. Ms. Lanigan’s novels are also available in E-books on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com, Apple Store, Mobi and Kobo. Several of her titles have been chosen for The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Clubs. Her Vietnam war-based novel, The Christmas Star, won the Gold Medal Award Top Pick from Romantic Times Magazine and has also won Book of the Year Romance Gold Award from ForeWord Magazine as well as Book of the Year Romance from Reader’s Preference.
Lanigan is the author of a trilogy of non- fiction books regarding angelic intervention in human life: Angel Watch, Divine Nudges and Angel Tales published by HCI and Cedar Fort. Skyhorse published Lanigan’s “how-to” book on writing: Writing the Great American Romance Novel. Lanigan was tasked by the NotMYkid Foundation to write a non-fiction book addressing teen addictions. Ms. Lanigan’s first Young Adult adventure novel, The Adventures of Lillie and Zane: The Golden Flute, was published by Cedar Fort. Currently, she has published six novels in the Shores of Indian Lake series for Harlequin Heartwarming: Love Shadows, Heart’s Desire, A Fine Year for Love, Katia’s Promise and Fear of Falling. Sophie’s Path pubs July, 2016. She has recently contracted for three more in the series: Protecting the Single Mom, (April, 2017) Family of his Own (July, 2017) Mica’s Baby (December, 2017). As a cancer survivor, Ms. Lanigan is a frequent speaker at literary functions and book conventions as well as inspiring audiences with her real stories of angelic intervention from her Angel Tales series of books. She is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and abuse and was honored by The National Domestic Violence Hotline in Washington, D.C. (THE EVOLVING WOMAN). She has been a guest on numerous radio programs including “Coast to Coast” and on television interview and talk show programs as well as blogs, podcasts and online radio interview programs. Catherine’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit her at www.catherinelanigan.com, on Facebook, LinkedIn, Goodreads, Pinterest, Google + www.heartwarmingauthors.blogspot, http://www.Prismbooktours.blogspot.com and Twitter@cathlanigan.