I am excited to be here with you today to bring you a guest post from Author, Deborah Coonts. She is the author of After Me, so stay tuned at the end for more details about that. Please help me with giving her a warm welcome!
Stories, such ephemeral things. AFTER ME, my latest, and, as a suspense/thriller quite a departure for me, almost didn’t get written. I’ve always loved suspense, especially chase books. You know, the women-in-peril books where the heroine finds her badass and gives the bad guy more than he can handle? Yep, those.
And somehow (most likely because I am 95% hambone) I ended up writing funny romantic mystery. But I never forgot my first love.
However, I will tell you, AFTER ME, punished me a bit for putting it down the line. The story began much as all the others with the proverbial writer’s what-if question—okay, multiple what-if questions.
But, I need to backtrack just a tad.
Probably about the time I was a zygote, I fell in love with medical science—why I didn’t go to medical school is a great topic for the psychologists, however a bit moot at this point. I’m the only person I know who had a dual major in accounting (thanks, Dad—insert sarcasm here) and anatomy and kinesiology. So, when stems cells hit the news feeds I was all over it. I even attended the “public” day at the World Stem Cell Conference. Yep, when I’m interested in something, I go whole hog—that’s why writing is THE perfect career for me. I was fascinated with the promise of stem cell therapy. AND THEN…
A friend mentioned a metaphysical theory about how our bodies store memories. Ohhh, the writer juices started to simmer (my muse is as odd as I am.)
Due to my life-long medical info junkie habit, I was familiar with the anecdotal tales of high level organ transplant donees manifesting tastes, proclivities and aptitudes of the organ donors, so again, I dove in. Did you know that research has just confirmed that very stressful events actually alter our DNA? I know, cool right?
So in theory, memories can be stored in our cells. And if stems cells are our “birth” cells, if you will—cells that can be stimulated to turn into many types of cells…including neurons…you can see where this was taking me.
So, here’s the what-if daisy chain:
So, WHAT IF a young woman, a former undercover cop with the NYPD, suffering from a genetic form of early onset Alzheimer’s, is undergoing stem cell therapy?
And, WHAT IF, she’s in the witness protection program because she knows too much about a bust gone bad, the bad guys, and twenty million in diamonds that went missing?
And WHAT IF, she can’t use her own stem cells in the therapy program as they would contain the same genetic defect that caused her problem in the first place?
And, WHAT IF, the therapy is working and she starts remembering?
AND, WHAT IF, the bad guys finds out?
That could explain the dead body she finds in her bathtub with the note in his pocket that reads: I KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE.
And the chase is on.
This sounds pretty straight forward, right? I mean, it’s a chase, right? Au contraire!
My first attempt at the story began as a typical third-person thriller with multiple viewpoints. But the story just seemed more remote than I wanted. The terror, the frustration, the anger, the struggle of the protagonist lost something in the distance of even a close third person telling.
Okay, easy fix—I’ll write it in alternating third and first person viewpoints. Better, but story fell flat in the third person and just took off and ran, singing all the way (to sorta mix metaphors) when in the first person.
Now I happen to be a big fan of the first person, but, seriously? How was I going to tell the whole story from the within the head of a person who has HUGE holes in her life story, even in her daily timeline?
I needed writer super-powers I didn’t have. After several false starts and one three-month hiatus during which I had to put the story aside as I had no clue how to finish it—I couldn’t use her memory issues to solve the story—(Can you imagine the hue and cry if one day she <snap> suddenly remembered? Oh, my, that would be cheating of the worst form!)—I finally quit whining, and buckled down.
And my protagonist, who told me her name was Kate, started talking to me. She’s quirky, edgy, and a bit of a badass—just as I’d hoped she would be. And she finally told me her story.
I love it when that happensJ
I hope you give AFTER ME a shot, pun intended. It’s the book I hoped it would be. I’d love to know if you like it, too. And, if not, why? I always learn so much from folks who share my love of story and who give my stories a chance.
Thank you, Valerie, for hosting me today. And thank Everyone for your love of a good book. I get to do what I love for a living because of you. Very much appreciated, I assure you!
Thanks Deborah for stopping by today!
Author bio: My mother tells me I was born a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. These things I do know: I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer. I am the author of WANNA GET LUCKY? (A NY Times Notable Crime Novel and double RITA™ Finalist), its six sequels, LUCKY THE HARD WAY, the latest and just out, and four between-the-books novellas. Currently I’m stretching my writer muscles working on a women’s fiction/contemporary romance series set in Napa—the first novel, CRUSHED, is out now. Next up is AFTER ME, a thriller incorporating cutting-edge science and a protagonist who literally can’t remember why everyone wants her dead. In the pipeline is a romantic suspense series featuring a female helicopter pilot, as well as the next Lucky adventure—all very different projects. So, if you see me with a glass of Champagne in hand, you’ll understand. I can usually be found at the bar, but also at www.deborahcoonts.com.
Get a copy from Amazon Here.