Category Archives: Interviews
Myth Agent is a compelling time travel story that relates the experiences of two people experiencing time travel from both sides. What was your inspiration for the setup to this novel?
I approached this from the unusual experiences of two people from fairly ordinary walks of life—a professor of paleontology and an antiques shop owner. In Myth Agent, time travel is not technical and futuristic, needing advancement. Instead, it is an ever-present universal element, not something to be invented, but rather something to be discovered, such as a long-lost prehistoric secret, reflective of the professor’s calling.
I was inspired decades ago by the book Time and Again, by Jack Finney, in which ordinary people time travel by means of a kind of self-hypnosis. In Myth Agent, the reader doesn’t see a person make a conscious choice to time travel as in Finney’s book, but in both, the time travel is organic or biologic in nature.
Time travel comes with its own set of paradoxes. How did you decide to deal with these in your story?
While there are a number of theoretical aspects to time travel and the paradoxes time travelers might undergo, the full mechanics are not explained in Myth Agent. For instance, there is no time when characters coexist with themselves in the space-timeline. However, a character does travel back in time thirty-five years (from age forty to age five—within the number of years she has lived) and in that scene she and a person she knows from thirty-five years hence see each other. It is later given to speculation as to whether this very brief meeting had a future impact on several characters’ lives.
I enjoyed the unique and slow development of both Rutt and Odessa’s characters. What were some ideas that guided you while creating them?
I wanted the reader to know something of the characters’ lives from childhood to adulthood, and as I built their lives, I came to wonder how a man—a science professor—in the early 1900’s would interact with a five-year-old girl from the 1940’s. Would their fundamental differences be too problematic, or would some universal connection, no matter where and from what time period they came, allow a meaningful connection? It was exciting to imagine where such a connection could lead!
What is the next story that you are working on?
I’ve decided Myth Agent needs to be continued—that’s what’s keeping me at the keyboard!
It’s 1945, soon after VJ Day. Odessa Shatto, an antiques dealer, is pierced in the side by a prehistoric bone. The next morning she awakens, horrified to see a hideous green slime creeping over her, hardening into a cocoon that quickly entombs her in darkness and leaves her fearing for her life. Each time it happens, she remembers feeling a sense of being thrown hard, as though from the hand of a giant. And the last time, she remembers her trajectory crossing with that of her fiancé, a soldier who has been injured in the Pacific in World War Two. They may think of their paths crossing as a gift, but in reality it will produce agonizing results.
Ruttledge Rosenbaugh, a professor of science devoted to his students at Hensley University, has spent years learning from his mentor, whose mantra was that time travelers are constantly around and unnoticed. But nothing Ruttledge has ever heard or read on time travel prepares him for what he witnesses in his secret laboratory in 1910. After recuperating from the ordeal, he spends years trying to prove the existence of time travel, while a jealous rogue from his past lies in wait, hoping to debunk any time travel theory the professor develops–no matter the cost.
Myth Agent is a time travel tale, woven of the fantastic, and interspersed with traces of historical fiction.
Left On Main is an emotional romance novel following Libby and Seth as they grapple with their love and their past. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
As a person who has experienced divorce myself, I wanted to tell a story that shows how the experience can become a turning point and an opportunity for change. The challenges that happen in our lives can make us reassess ourselves and our lives— but only if we choose to learn from it. But I wanted to tell more than a love story between two people. Left on Main– and the Heart of Madison series- is equally the story of a town and the people drawn together inside of it.
Libby is an interesting and well developed character. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
Libby came into my head fully-formed. As positive as she often seems, she’s equally careful and guarded. I wanted to take the readers through her heartache and through her falling in love to show that trusting others and moving on isn’t as simple as it sometimes seems. Her choices throughout the story are reflective of her complexity.
I enjoyed the relationship between Libby and Seth. What were some ideas you wanted to explore with their relationship?
Libby and Seth are like any of us in that their past relationships have shaped how they relate to others in the present. As a former therapist, I know well that many of our coping skills are drawn from our experiences, and how we react to the present is often as much- if not more so- predicated on the past as on what’s actually happening in the moment. Still, how we love and exist within relationships comes down to our choices. Seth and Libby are faced with very relatable choices about life and love.
This is the first book in the Heart of Madison Series. Where will the next book pick up and when will it be available?
The next book drops right into the story of Seth’s sister Lindy and will be out in the Spring of 2020. Expect a faster paced story with plenty of twists ahead, and you’ll also get a chance to follow up with Seth and Libby and the rest of the cast of characters in Madison.
Libby Reynolds is having to reboot her entire life after a sudden divorce and relocation. Seth Carver has let work become his whole life, becoming himself the kind of anachronism he surrounds himself with in the antique store he owns. They’ll fall together, but can their love withstand a visit from the past she’s left behind? Left on Main is the first in the Map of Madison series.
Twisted Pines follows Abe as he takes a job at a summer camp where children are going missing under mysterious circumstances. What was the inspiration for the setup to this intriguing story?
Having worked at a camp during my summers in college, I understand the pressure that comes with looking after children. Parents entrust you to ensure their children’s safety; and so the thought of having a child completely vanish is a nightmarish one to say the least. Although I never personally had a camper go missing, I hoped to tap into this anxiety to give the story a pervasive sense of tension.
I felt that the story did a great job of keeping things consistently ominous and otherworldly. What themes did you want to capture while writing this book?
I’m drawn to the theme of an unknown force that lurks out of sight, and yet pulls very tangible strings – wreaking all sorts of havoc. I also like the theme of helplessness, of paralysis in particular – the vulnerability that comes with being a guinea pig, subjected to the whims of others.
Abe is an interesting and well developed character. What were some ideas that you pursued during his character development?
In my life I’ve known many camp counselors, as well as many film students. And although Abe’s character is not based on any one person, I’ve pulled traits from real-life characters that I’ve come to know over the years. I’ve also been acquainted with people whose parents have had run-ins with the law, and had a chance to see how the delinquent actions of one’s parents can affect the attitudes and behaviors of their children. On a personal level, I can related to Abe’s desire to tell an engrossing story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
My next book also falls within the realm of sci-fi. I’m a fan of genre mash-ups, and so my follow-up will be a contemporary sci-fi thriller. No idea just yet as to when that one will be come available. So I better get back to typing…
Where have all the children gone? At rustic summer camp Mendocino Pastures, that’s the question on everyone’s mind. First one, then two, then three campers vanish – only to reappear a short while later with no recollection of the missing time. The disappearances raise questions about the children’s safety, not to mention the camp’s time-honored reputation.
When Abe, a freshman camp counselor from UCLA film school, stumbles upon a ghoulish-looking humanoid roaming the coast, he suspects this creature may play a role in the children’s unsettling disappearances. Armed with camera, journal, and a thirst for the truth, Abe sets out to pry the lid off the uncanny mystery shrouded among the camp’s TWISTED PINES.
The Conflict of Desires follows an executive trying to convince aboriginals to give up their land for his companies interests. What was the inspiration for the setup to this story?
In my years as a business journalist, I have stumbled upon many cases where big corporations with key interests in mining face resistance from the native residents. All those episodes of tussle and murky face-offs between a company and the original tribes form the bulwark of inspiration for my story. When companies foist their agendas on unsuspecting people and trample on their resources and brazenly try to usurp their livelihoods, the backlash is inevitable. My story should serve as a humble call to those transnational corporations to abjure coercion and embrace compassion for the people at whose expense they are expanding their frontiers of growth. Having said that mine is a work of fiction and any resonance with the ‘real’ should be treated as happenstance.
Ramesh is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his development?
As a character, Ramesh arouses intrigue and empathy in equal measure. He’s no different from legions of his real life counterparts who are lumbered with tasks not so pleasant and choices tempting yet fraught with risks. So often it happens that characters in the mould of Ramesh run into a knotty life matrix- they have to solve the Rubik’s cube. For me, fleshing out Ramesh as the lead character who carries the plot narrative draws from people who are perturbed by upsetting dilemmas. Most do cave in to the pressures of the job and dictates of the boss, playing it safe. That’s where Ramesh soars above the clutter- he wins with his conscience.
What is the next story that you are writing and when will it be available?
My next work on fiction dissects the woes of workplace. I believe it will be an enjoyable read. Hoping to release it next calendar.
An executive of a top notch company sets foot in a remote hinterland in a poor, eastern state of Odisha in India. Ramesh Sahay, the protagonist of the story is tasked with a mission- to woo the aboriginal tribals for pushing his employer’s interests. But the natives who have guarded the wealth of their hills for over a millennium are no pushovers. And, Ramesh is pitted against forces antagonistic to his mission. Ramesh realises the odds stacked against him. Nonetheless, his visceral urges and the mandate of a big corporation in which he has invested over a decade of his prime impels him to an unequal confrontation. How does he go on to win this tussle? Or a change of emotions tugs at his heartstrings? The story dissects the dilemma of his choices and the conflicts that shroud him. Read on to relate and connect.
Neither Light Nor Dark follows Lily who has to reunite the suffering lands of Arcadia and abolish the rule of Reficul. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
I honestly had a dream that I could not escape from. I sat down one night and poured it out into my laptop. Over time I got inspiration from everywhere- other books, movies, music.
Lily is an interesting and well developed character. What were some obstacles in the story that you felt were important to her character development?
I think finding out all of the lies about her former life and learning how to deal with her new future definitely helped make her into the girl that she becomes. This is more obvious in book two, The Darker Light.
I loved the fairytale-esque lore embedded in this world. What were some themes you wanted to capture while creating your world?
I love fairytales! C.S. Lewis’ The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was the first book that I remember falling in love with. His world definitely inspired me to go in that direction. The whole idea of us having a predetermined destiny was a big part of the story. I wanted the reader to ponder, “Do I have a choice?”
This is book one in the Beyond the Gates series. What can readers expect in book two of the series, The Darker Light?
Book two is full of surprises. So many things about the characters are revealed that you will find yourself wondering who to trust. Lily is taken back into Arcadia where she is faced with a past that she never knew existed. The journey is harsh but new friends are made and old ones are reunited. Book two is my favorite. I feel like lily really grows up in this one.
YA Fantasy fiction full of surprises. This is a story about a girl, the man she loves, the boy who stole her heart, and Reficul, the evil ruler that stands to ruin it all. Lily Channon gets caught up in a war only she has the power to stop. The only problem is she doesn’t know why or even how. Her quest for answers leads her on a journey through love, crazy, hard to swallow, painful betrayal, and has deadly consequences. Will she find her place? Will she be willing to give what is required of her? Does love really exist, or is EVERYONE a liar? Find out what happens in this exciting book.
Floating on Secrets follows the intertwining lives of Flair an Austin through a neo-psych rock romance story. What were some goals you set for yourself as a writer for this novel?
I wanted to write a Romantic Suspense with Gothic elements – that was also a Psychological Suspense like the rest of my novels, to keep that momentum going (so I call it a Seductive Psychological Suspense.) I planned for it to work for New Adult readers, who are often conservative people in the Midwest. I grew up in Indiana, and I researched what young people are like there, now. I hoped the book would have more mass appeal than my other novels, as this one doesn’t take on such heavy historical and social themes as they do. It focuses on issues that young people deal with such as establishing themselves solidly in the work force.
I wanted to write a book that portrays the white-hot need to be with a certain person and dramatizes the wild-fire of love. A book that men would like as much as women, because it’s not just Romance, but crime, Lynchian weird mystery, and a band.
Your book uses a sensory deprivation tank in a unique way. How did you come about this idea for your book?
I like Gothic Romance, in which the heroine isn’t so sure about the man she’s intrigued by. Is he a criminal, a murderer, a manipulating liar? So, it began with her having no idea what kind of man she encountered in the tank. She makes a very risky decision to give him the benefit of the doubt, putting herself in danger, but also in the way of love.
The tank is an engine of the Hero’s Journey, as it’s how one can cultivate visions in the other world of the subconscious to bring back to the tribe to enrich it.
The relationship between Flair and Austin was uniquely and deeply developed. Did their relationship develop organically while writing or was it planned?
Much of it developed through the process of my listening to Neo-Psych Rock the whole time while writing the manuscript. I listened to that in order to get in touch with my raw passion and longing for romance. At first, music wasn’t such a big part of their world. But they became identified to me by the type of songs they resonated with. Austin was like The Black Angels’ most throbbing drum-heavy, driving brave songs like “Young Men Dead,” and Flair was like The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s heart-wrenchingly beautiful, mystical “Anemone.” The two sounds intertwine perfectly.
As I felt how much the music helped them reach the hallucinatory state they sought in the float tank, how much it embodied their intensity of desire and aching inwardness, I wanted it to play a larger role. I decided to use the book to introduce people to that type of music, and to entertain people who already love it.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The next books are non-fiction, such as about the craft of writing. I’m taking a break from novels to focus on my work – teaching fiction writing and editing manuscripts.
When the tank sets her mind free, will it open her heart to love or set her down a dark, fiery path?
Flair’s a neo-psych rock outcast in her small Indiana town. Spending her time in a sensory deprivation tank in an effort to enhance her mind seems like the right thing to do. But when the bartendress discovers the chamber is anything but isolated, she’s left with a question: who is the man who caressed her hair and escaped into the night?
With the mystery going through her mind like a playlist, Flair sees something she can’t explain in the corner of her vision. Do the strangely narrow men she hears tales about have a darker purpose in mind for him? To answer one sensuous question, Flair may just have to solve an existential one. Before it’s all over, music, telepathy, and love could be the least of her worries…
Floating on Secrets is a seductive psychological suspense novel that’s meant to turn your bath steamy. If you like indie rock, chilling Gothic Romance, and just a hint of David Lynch, then you’ll love award-winning author Tantra Bensko’s New Adult novel that delves far below the surface. Buy Floating on Secrets to solve the mysteries of the heart and mind today!
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers is a unique cookbook that contains centuries-old recipes of your grandmothers from the times of Crypto-Jews. Why was this an important book for you to write?
Keeping the memories of my ancestors alive is very important to me. So many times once the elders die, the younger generation has no idea what their history was. I find that by recording the recipes of my grandmothers and by telling stories that were passed down to me, I am successfully leaving bread crumbs for the future generations of my family.
Was there a lot of research you had to do for this book? Did you have to hunt for the recipes or were they readily available to you?
I found the recipes in one place but they were faded, lightly written and difficult to understand I had to do separate research into the Spanish and Portuguese ancient tradition to be able to compile the information historically.
My favorite recipe from the collection is Bola Catalana. What is your favorite dish from the book?
My favorite dish is the periquillos because through this dish I learned all the customs of my family. I am beyond thrilled whenever I smell them cooking because it transports me right back to my grandmother’ kitchen.
Do you plan to write more books on food or Jewish history?
Yes I do. I am almost finished with a book on Cuban Kosher cooking. While it is not historical, it is a 30 year hands on work as I have changed all the typical Cuban Recipes to Kosher.
Recipes of My 15 Grandmothers is a collection of recipes and stories from the times of the Crypto-Jews who were hiding and pretending to be Catholic during the Spanish Inquisition while practicing their Judaism underground through the present. The grandmothers of the family devised clever ways to disguise the fact that they were still keeping kosher while appearing to be eating pork. Until modern times, the family pretended to be devout Catholics, yet passed many of the Jewish customs on, sometimes in the form of these recipes, their true legacy. For several hundred years they hid their fasts and celebration of Jewish holidays, revealing them only via their recipes and some kosher kitchen customs. This collection was found recently, hidden away at Genie Milgrom’s mother’s house.
Makers of Destiny is a thrilling novel following Tanya Grey through a post-apocalyptic New America. As a writer, what were some goals you set for yourself with this novel?
This novel is a direct sequel to the book Die To Live Again, in which the main protagonist Tanya Gray survives the global nuclear war, and is changed by the nature’s hidden defense mechanism that is activated as a result of the atomic detonations. I ended the first novel on a positive note, with Tanya being transformed into a new being superior to humans and exposing and punishing the people responsible for the nuclear holocaust. I had several goals when planning Makers of Destiny. The first goal was to show the United States recovering from the most devastating conflict in human history. The second goal was to explore Tanya’s character further as a person, presenting her in this novel not only as a warrior-healer, but also as a diplomat, a wife, and a mother. The third goal was to introduce new challenges and dangers that Tanya must overcome while helping to restore the country and combat hostile social and religious forces considering her species as enemies of mankind.
What were some ideas you wanted to continue in this novel from book one and what were some new ideas you wanted to explore?
Writing a sequel is always an interesting challenge. The events in Makers of Destiny take place fifty years after the events in Die To Live Again. After exposing and punishing the members of a secret cabal of some of the most powerful and richest men on earth responsible for the nuclear holocaust, I wanted Tanya Gray to earn some measure of peace and explore her own potential as a member of a new powerful race that would have to coexist with humans. Although changed physically and spiritually, in her heart, Tanya is still human, with very human feelings, dreams and desires. Therefore, I wanted to present Tanya as a spouse and a parent, as well as a very important member of the United States government. In this sequel, I wanted to explore the new ideas about Tanya’s relationship with her old and new friends, as well as uneasy coexistence with humans who do not trust her because of her superior power and intelligence. For Tanya, new challenges arise when a mysterious force form the past awakens to challenge the New America, and fanatical movement against her species threatens the delicate balance. To summon it up, I wanted this story to be just as powerful and character driven as Die To Live Again.
There were so many elements in this story that could be pulled from headlines or history. What were some sources of inspiration you drew from while writing?
I always felt that science fiction must be solidly based on scientific and political facts that define new technologies and new policies that do not yet exist. One of the most powerful sources of inspiration came to me from reading science fiction and post-apocalyptic novels that deal with potential dangers to the existence of mankind. The second source was the solid scientific data about the dangers of planetary pollution, corporate greed, political corruption and advancement of weapons of mass destruction. The third source of inspiration came from my interest in military history from the ancient times to the present day. Human beings are antagonistic species, and managed to find many reasons to turn the hunting implements into weapons of war. Struggle for survival and deep fear of the unknown is embedded deep in our genetic makeup. I wanted to explore this side of human condition when dealing with such things as the end of civilization and its aftermath. The fantastical elements in the novel were introduced to show the power of nature that always prevails against the misguided ambitions of men.
Do you plan to write more novels in this series? If so, where will the next novel pickup?
That is a very interesting question. In my spare time, I am doing some brainstorming in regard to the continuation of the series about the adventures of Tanya Gray. Tanya is a fascinating character that I created and consider as one of my strongest and most enduring protagonists in post-apocalyptic universe. If I decide to write another novel about her, it will likely be the last one in the series, turning it into a trilogy. The story, as I see it will most likely pick up one hundred years after the events in Makers of Destiny. Tanya’s species live for more than 400 years, and during that time, Tanya would gain more wisdom as she witnesses her children grow to maturity and face a world rich with adventure, discovery and danger. There will most likely be another powerful force that would try to lay claim over the resource rich territories and minds of men as well as many colorful villains. The third novel is still in basic stage of development but I want to see Tanya live again on the pages of my new book. Time will tell!
HER ACTIONS ARE THE LAST HOPE FOR THE CONTINUED EXISTENCE OF NEW AMERICA. . . .
Fifty years have passed since the nuclear war. New America has risen from the ashes and once again becomes the new superpower. But peace and prosperity have come at a great cost. And the new American nation is still divided in the bitter struggle to save it from past sins. New political and religious forces are once again on the move, determined to shape the country’s destiny.
Surviving the Armageddon and the savage Second Civil War, Panther warrior-healer Tanya Gray serves as a presidential advisor. She now has a family of her own and is looking forward to a better tomorrow. But the balance of power is changed when a new ruthless and mysterious force from the past lays claim to New America’s remaining resources. And once again, Tanya Gray is forced to fight to extinguish the flames of a new Civil War.
Demon of the Black Gate follows a young girl who is destined to confront a terrifying demon that’s been released. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The original idea was writing a story from a demon’s point of view, which had fascinated me for a long time. I found myself wondering what Balrog’s story was when I first read the Lord of the Rings fifty years ago and I’m sure that provided a lot of the motivation. The Demon of the Black Gate was initially going to be about the demon, but the character of Cerra hijacked the tale very early on and it became her adventure. Nonetheless, the Demon remains a central and vital component.
As I had fashioned the demon from the elements, it occurred to me that I should fashion the counterpart as a product of the senses. We have extraordinary sensory capabilities that we rarely use to their full potential. I thought that someone who was blind would take the remaining senses more to heart than a normally sighted person. The nature of the simple, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ subplot was the next concession and the character of Cerra, was born.
Depriving my main character of sight was a far harder exercise than I’d anticipated. However, it did what I wanted it to do, focus on the other immediate senses of touch, hearing, and scent. Perception is an amalgam of the available senses, what we do with the sum of the parts, and I tried to take the reader into that realm. Perception became Cerra’s ‘superpower’, the counterbalance to the dynamic fury of the demon.
Cerra begins as seemingly harmless but grows to become a force to be reckoned with. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
At the very first, I placed her with a confidante, a stray like herself that would help her get around. I didn’t get but a page into the chapter when I decided to write out the aide character completely. I realized that I needed to make Cerra stronger and more independent in order to do what the story would likely require of her. Her blindness would not be a crutch. That decided, her character began to grow in bounds. She developed a voice and personality, humor and determination. Characters can end up saying things that change everything! I soon found myself trying to keep up with the story as it unfolded.
In the course of the book, I placed Cerra in some untenable situations and it was her refusal to quit, her ability to rely on her animal companions and her sharp perceptions of the world around her, that kept her going, not I. Not giving her the advantage of sight, allowed me to explore her world in a very different way, even shed light on notions of a metaphysical nature that had nothing to do with magic.
Rovinkar was a character I loved to hate and I found him to be exceptionally well developed. Was his character planned or did he develop organically while writing?
I often start fashioning a character from someone I have met. They become unwitting actors, developing traits and personas as I take a striking feature from their personality and go from there. The wizard grew with the tale. All of my characters do. I needed an Achilles’ heel for Rovikar and it became his impatience and lack of focus, wherein opportunity was far easier to envision than execution. His art needed precision in all things, yet his thoughts would stray to the future leaving the now at risk. I also must confess to using political figures as models in the entitled roles for the motivations of power always run a certain course and are very predictable.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m nearing the completion of the second draft of a book entitled “Deck of the Numinon”. I had envisioned a story based on fortune-telling deck of cards for quite a while. Given the power inherent in the deck, I decided to reprise the roles of Cerra and the Demon rather than create a new protagonist. I confess to enjoying the challenge of writing Cerra’s character and was anxious to allow for a new adventure. I hope that it will be available by Spring of 2020. Time seems to fly, but the book is in very good shape at this point. Of course, my editor has yet to see it.
An elemental demon, created in ancient times by forbidden magic, is summoned as a weapon of war. When the wizard loses control at a crucial moment, the demon is left free to ravage the land. Cerra Meadows, blind since age seven, is fated to confront the demon and becomes instrumental in breaking the spell that created it.
The wizard seeks to regain control of the demon and eliminate Cerra, who must rely on her wits, a faithful black cat, and the ability to see what no one else can.
From Miracle to Murder is about surviving domestic abuse, a misogynistic religious cult, and being falsely accused of the murder of a disabled child. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I began From Miracle to Murder as a letter to my daughter, Anne. I needed her to know how much I loved her and her brother, Adam.
I fought like a mother to protect them but opponents overwhelmed me and I failed. After Adam was murdered, I was accused, and Anne was given to my abusive ex-husband. There were times I became so despondent, giving up would have been easier then continuing to live but I learned how to be an advocate for my daughter.
I have no super power, talent, or strength, so if I can survive a Pandora’s Box of horrid events, I hope others will be inspired by Miracle to know they will not only survive, but they will become a presence and a voice for those who are unable to speak for themselves.
You share a lot of emotional and personal moments in this story. What was one thing you were not sure you could discuss in this book?
Discussing the extent to which Anne and my relationship with her was damaged was extremely painful. Adam’s death was horrid, but watching Anne be destroyed in increments of days and months as the years passed by people who were trusted by the authorities was evil. The first priority of a parent is to protect their child. I failed to do that with both Anne and Adam. I hold my inability to shield them from harm accountable for the misery that followed.
What do you hope readers take away from your book and your experiences?
If you are in a relationship and are wondering if you are being abused, listen to your inner self and seek help. It is possible to break the cycle of abuse. It begins with you.
Never, never lie. Tell the truth at all times. If I had told even one lie all those years when I was accused of murdering my own child, it would have been found and my credibility would have been destroyed. Never telling a lie saved my relationship with Anne when she was ready to work with a counselor. My prayers for her return were rewarded when she looked at me and said, “Mom, you are the only one who never lied to me.”
Forgive yourself for your mistakes. I did the best I could with the tools I had to use at the time. I was too naïve and trusting. These aren’t sins but please be aware of your environment and the credibility of the people who are in your space.
No matter how awful the situation, please avoid any medication, prescribed or otherwise, that may lead to an unintentional dependency. Follow the advice I was given and wait until the situation improves, then indulge in a glass of your favorite beverage. Better yet, go on a hike, a walk, or vacation, and visit your favorite healing place.
Writing a memoir often causes one to reflect on past choices. Is there anything you see differently now that you wrote this book?
If I could return to the past and change one of my decisions, it was when my father told me to go to my high school counselor’s office and turn down the scholarships and grants I had earned. I wanted to go to medical school and become a doctor. I was too timid and too dominated by the rules of my father and the religion in which I was raised to stand up and say, “No. I’m going to college.” That one declaration of independence would have totally avoided the hell that followed.
I now firmly believe an advanced education for both men and women is the key to a lifetime of enlightenment, success, emotional and financial independence.
From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Adam is about surviving domestic violence, the trauma of being raised in a misogynistic religious cult, the murder of a disabled child, and being falsely accused of that murder. It is the memoir of a true crime. It’s the story of a mother who was determined to survive. It’s a, “Oh my God, this really happened to a mother and her children! But she survived! She’s doing all right! Then, maybe so can I.”
From Miracle to Murder is not an essay into court or investigative procedures. Instead, the reader is invited into the author’s life. She wants them to see what she saw, thought, heard, and felt as she says her last goodbye to her son and when she’s formally charged. Experience what she does when she is pushed to the edge of insanity, adjusts, acquires skills to survive, and then creates a different normal as she forgives and finds joy again.
Joyce loved her son. She treasured every minute of his short life. In spite of what the rest of the world viewed as terrible physical deformities and mental disabilities, Adam laughed. He enjoyed being alive. Joyce was devastated after he died. When police showed up at her door and accused her of murdering her little boy, her world shattered.
The characters are real people. What they did, what they said, and what they wore happened. All scenarios are depicted as accurately as possible and are based on police reports, depositions, court records, a grand jury transcript, criminal trial transcripts, psychologist’s written evaluations, eye witness accounts,journals, victim impact statements, different avenues of public media, Adam’s autopsy, and the author’s haunting memories recalled to the best of her abilities.
From Miracle to Murder: Justice for Adam is for anyone who believes in the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. It is hoped that readers will walk away from Miracle with a greater faith that they can survive the impossible, forgive the unforgivable, learn how not to become a victim, and the importance of creating moments of clarity in the midst of chaos.