Q: WHAT INSPIRED SAVING HOPE?
I was a high school teacher for years and heard some heartbreaking stories of situations concerning teens. That can be a difficult time for some. This story is about human trafficking and the ways some young people can get caught up in it against their will. This is a problem not only in the world but in the United States. The stats are alarming and many of our young people are being targeted.
Q: ALTHOUGH YOUR BOOK IS FICTION – WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF SOME ELEMENTS IN THE BOOK THAT CAME FROM REAL LIFE?
The story is purely fiction but comes from my research into human trafficking. The school in my book is based on other types of places that are available for teens in trouble—a place to find refuge and a second chance. I’ve read about how people prey on teens at malls and other teen hangouts and wanted to show how it might happen…. how easily it could happen to a young naive girl. I also included something about throwaway kids—children whose parent has kicked them out of the house and find themselves on the streets.
Q: WHEN MAKING UP STORIES, HOW MUCH DO YOU DRAW ON YOUR OWN LIFE EXPERIENCES AND PEOPLE YOU KNOW, VERSUS DRAWING ON RESEARCH ABOUT COMPLETE STRANGERS?
In some books I draw on research more than life experiences. But when developing characters, that is often more from my life experiences than any research I’ve done. The plot may evolve more from research. I’ve shot a gun but on a target range only. I try to interview or talk with people involved in what I’m writing about, if possible. I visited the Garland office of the Texas Rangers. The receptionist and a ranger were very helpful. I also have a friend who is an investigator. He has been on a police force as well as a Deputy U.S. Marshal. He has been great to run scenarios by.
Q: FACT VS. FICTION – WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT SOME EXAMPLES IN YOUR NOVEL WHERE YOU TOOK SOME LIBERTIES WITH THE FACTS?
I try to stay as true to what is real as possible but ultimately the story has come from my imagination. When I talk with experts, especially in law enforcement, I ask if what I want to do is possible—sometimes not necessarily most likely to occur. I’ve never run a shelter for teenage girls but I’ve read about them, so when I came up with Beacon of Hope, I based it some on what I’d seen and read about. But I also imagined how I would want to run a place to help teenage girls get off the street and have a chance in life.
Q: WHAT DO YOU WANT READERS TO TAKE AWAY FROM SAVING HOPE?
I want people to enjoy the story. It is fast paced with several sub plots going on. Yes, I’ve written about a tough subject, but in the end hope prevails. I want teens and parents to become aware of a problem in the United States while reading, I hope, an entertaining story.