Q: I love the subtle but compelling mystical undertone in REDEMPTION, especially the legend of Pico Blanco, which I was actually aware of. How did you come up with that element of the story? Jorie Winston, ME
A: That part of the story came about as I was researching how a body decomposes on limestone. I contacted a geologist who worked in Northern California where the novel takes place. While he was telling me about the various elements of limestone, he suggested I consider using Pico Blanco as a location for the murder due to its natural limestone outcroppings. When I did a quick search on Pico Blanco, I found out about the Native American legend of the birds that formed the area. It was so intriguing to me that I readjusted part of the book and started to incorporate the birds (as metaphors) into the story. I like to think it’s when science met mystical and merged beautifully.
Q: The kidnapping backstory in REDEMPTION reminds me of an old case I read about in Carmel, California. Did you base the story on that case? D. Stowell, CA
A: The story in REDEMPTION is completely made up. If it bears any resemblance to a true story, it’s completely coincidental. (And if you read the book, you know about those pesky “coincidences,” don’t you?”)
Q: I read an interview somewhere that stated you did not use an outline to write REDEMPTION. Did I hear that right? I’m not sure how that’s possible, given the complexity of the story. Carol Meyers, FL
A: It’s true. And looking back, I have no idea how I did it. I certainly wouldn’t do it again nor would I suggest other writers try to juggle all the elements in their head like I did because it starts to get very frustrating at times. I spent a lot of time researching the book, including Fundamentalist Christian cults, alcoholic recovery programs, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Stage 4 cancer, etc. since these varying issues are all involved in the story. I had a fairly clear idea where the first 50 pages were going, so I just started writing what I had in my crowded head. After that point, I had a reasonable idea of where the story was headed so I kept writing, all the time thinking that I’d put together an outline eventually. But, the story kept writing itself and as long as I held the various storylines in limbo above my head so I could integrate them, I was fine. But seriously, I would NOT do it again.
Q: How did you come up with the character names for the “bad guys” in REDEMPTION?A: I usually give the darker characters (i.e, “the bad guys”) the names of people who I have had conflicts with in my life. Anyone who knows me personally and reads my books will often recognize those names and get a chuckle out of it. However, in the case of REDEMPTION and the main dark character, Lou Peters, I made an exception. I had put a name to every character in the book except “Lou Peters” and I desperately needed come up with something fast. Diving into my memory of past conflicts, none of the people’s names worked for the character. Then I thought, what if I took the first names of my editor at that time and the first name of my agent at that time and blend them together? I checked with my editor to get his OK since his first name would be associated with a fairly vile character. At first he wasn’t taken with the idea but then he emailed to tell me that he would accept the “honor” in “the spirit that it was given.” And thus, Lou Peters was born.