Betrayed follows a group of adopted brothers that get sucked into a dangerous mystery with criminal elements. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
The characters are the same from my previous books. They are a mismatched, patch worked group of adopted brothers, each carrying baggage from their previous lives. George, who is full-blooded Navajo, receives a call from one of his closest, oldest friends. It is typical for him to want to help. His two brothers, both avid hunters, see this as an opportunity to hunt elk, something neither have done before. Their parents let them go, but only because of George’s ties to his native land, and with the company of his two brothers and two officers who are both friends of the boys and friends of the parents.
It was a way for me to include much of George’s history, yet update it to present time and the present day impact on the culture and climate of the Navajo people. I wanted to further tell the story of the boys, but surround it with a mystery.
Your characters are intriguing and well developed. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
I believe plot is character driven. If a book or story does not have well-developed characters, there is no story. Think of Friday the 13th. Other than Jason, can you picture any character from that movie? I believe the reader wants to “know” the characters. As much as possible, I believe the reader wants to picture them, hear them talk, see them in action. My writing will always have solid characters defined by their situation and circumstance, and my writing will always have at its core, a thriller/mystery aspect to it.
What were some themes you wanted to focus on in this book?
I wanted to have the characters explore who they are. I wanted the characters to struggle, both from their heart and soul, and from external forces. I wanted “pressure” placed on them in order for them to develop, to grow, and to explore their feelings. You find in Betrayed a struggle with Brian, that in many respects, his two adopted brothers don’t have. George, for the most part, has dealt with the disconnect from his Navajo upbringing and the new life among white culture. George has yet to justify killing, because the Navajo respect life, and killing runs against that grain. There has been so much that has happened to Brett (Stolen Lives, Shattered Lives, Splintered Lives), that he still struggles with who he is. His trust level will always be rather shallow because of those experiences.
Given this, I wanted these three boys to be thrown into a completely foreign situation, not only in terms of setting and culture, but in terms of having someone after them for no reason they can understand. For Brian and Brett, they traveled to Arizona to hunt and camp. George traveled to Arizona to help find his friend. None of them, nor did their parents, know what they were about to face.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I am two-thirds through Blaze In, Blaze Out. It takes place in Northern Wisconsin during bow and arrow deer hunting season. Brian and Brett, and the two cops from Betrayed, are their to fish. Both activities they’ve done before, multiple times without incident. However, a case O’Connor had been working on catches up with him, and before anyone realizes it, all in that party are involved. Again, it is a thriller/mystery. I hope to have it completed yet this winter, and off to an agent or publisher in the spring.
Integrity is protecting someone who betrayed you. Courage is keeping a promise even though it might mean death.
A late-night phone call turns what was to be a fun hunting trip into a deadly showdown. Fifteen-year-old brothers George Tokay, Brian Evans and Brett McGovern face death on top of a mesa on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Arizona. They have no idea why men are intent on killing them.
Betrayed is a contemporary psychological thriller and an exploration of the heart and of a blended family of adopted kids, their relationships to each other and their parents woven into a tight thriller/mystery.