Terri Reed is always an automatic buy for me, so I am very happy to have her on Behind the Book. This book is written in Terri's page-turner, suspense style with a faith element that very naturally sustains the story. What drew me into this book from the beginning is the blurb. It has everything to hook me --heroine's horrible childhood and loveless marriage, an autistic son, and a protector who has failed a witness before and so he is determined not to fail this time.
I suggest you run to buy The Innocent Witness. You won't regret it. Please join me in learning more about Terri Reed and this particular book.
What was the spark that led you to come up with this story, and how did that spark blossom through your characters?
I stumbled across an article from 2002 about a plane crash that killed a US Senator. There was some question if the crash was really an accident or was murder. I started playing the ‘what if’ game. I knew I didn’t want to do something as big scale as a plane crash. And I wanted there to be no question that the crime was murder. But who? And why? And what if there were a witness? As I started to answer those questions, the characters began to take shape and the plot developed.
When I read this book, the theme that smacked me between the eyes was how we all wear masks, and how even the mask changes depending on the occasion. I know there have been times in my life when I wondered if the mask I wore was the real me or not. Why did you choose this as one of the important themes in your book?
You’re right, I think we all wear masks. I think it starts out subconsciously but can be deliberately developed as either a way to cope or overcome some flaw or for more sinister reasons. I know that my persona when I’m in public is much different that the shy and reserved person I really am deep inside. This dichotomy provides much fodder for a writer. So when I was developing the character of Vivian Grant, I decided to explore this. Here was this woman who on the outside was polished and seemingly had everything, but inside was a different story. I wanted to reveal her inner psyche through the circumstances of the story.
In your January interview with Behind the Book you mentioned that redemption, forgiveness, trust, hope, giving up the illusion of control are threads that run through all of your books. How does that play out in this one?
All of these run through the book and can be seen at various points. Anthony Carlucci, the hero of The Innocent Witness, needed to find redemption from something he blamed himself for. In order to be redeemed he had to forgive himself and give up any illusions he had that he could control life or circumstances. Ultimately, Anthony learned through Vivian to place his trust in God. On the other hand, Vivian’s trust in God was tested many times, but she never lost hope. Her faith was the one constant she could count on. But trusting another man? That was harder to do and took every ounce of hope she had.
Your heroine's son is autistic. This is a disability that has a wide range, from someone who needs constant care to a person who can lead an independent life. What made you choose this disability for this particular story?
I needed a reason why Mikey couldn’t tell what he’d seen the night his father was murderer. I chose autism because I have some personal experience to draw from. Growing up my best friends little sister was autistic and my neighbor’s son is also. The disorder is very individualized and has such a wide variety of symptoms, which helped in creating the character of Mikey.
Because of the subtitle "Protection Specialists" this seems to be part of a series. Can readers expect more from you in this series?
Yes, this is a series. The Innocent Witness is the first book. The second, The Secret Heiress, will be a January 2012 release. The third book, as yet untitled, will be a September 2012 release. More books will be coming in 2013 and beyond.
What's next for you? Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?
January 2012, The Secret Heiress
June 2012, The Deputy’s Duty-book 6 of the Fitzgerald Bay continuity series
September 2012 Untitled-A Protection Specialists book.
Here’s the blurb for The Secret Heiress
A SHOCKING REVELATION
Finding out she is heir to a fortune shocks Caroline Tully to her core. And to “qualify” for the inheritance, she just has to visit her newfound grandfather’s Mississippi home from Christmas to New Year’s. Adopted as a baby, Caroline knows nothing about her mother’s family...and doesn’t realize they can’t be trusted. When attempts are made on her life, there’s only one man who can protect her. Donovan Cavanaugh—a man who made her lonely heart want to love again. Posing as her fiancé, Don promises to find the would-be killer. But will his protection—and his love—be enough to keep her safe?
Protection Specialists: Guarding the innocent
Thanks for joining us on Behind the Book! As always, you provide intriguing plots and thought-provoking themes.
You can purchase The Innocent Witness in ebook form or paperback at these retailers. You may also order it at your local bookstore.