you love to have a weekend to yourself? Imagine that your husband and
daughter go camping and your son is at college. Like Abby Bennett,
wouldn't you be dreaming of all that wonderful alone time? Now suppose
your husband and daughter are lost in the aftermath of a flash flood.
Would you ever stop looking for them?
The following scene happens once rescue operations have begun:
It was one of those perfect spring days: a breeze fiddled along under a blue umbrella sky while the sun rose, a butter-yellow balloon above the sudden earth. It was the picture of innocence, a child's crayon drawing. Not one vestige remained of the horrible rain Abby had driven through to get here, and it disconcerted her and infuriated here . . . this weather that lay on her like a blessing, that wouldn't hurt a fly, that would take nothing from anyone. She felt mocked by it.—Evidence of Life by Barbara Taylor Sissel (Harlequin / Mira, 2013, p. 36)
- Setting: American Southwest; Texas hill country
- Circumstances: a father and daughter who may or may not have been killed in a flash flood; as Abby searches for them, she realizes she never really knew her husband
- Characters: Abby and Nick Bennett and their children, Lindsey and Jake; Kate, Abby's friend; Dennis, the sheriff
- Genre: mystery; psychological thriller
- Themes: marriage, trust, deceit, parenting, grief, holding on to hope, moving on
In celebration of the release of Evidence of Life, author Barbara Taylor Sissel stops by today to tell us about the origins of the story. Thanks to Meryl L. Moss Media for organizing this guest post for me.
Question: Can you give us some background on Evidence of Life and how you came up with the idea?
Answer from Barbara Taylor Sissel: As a mother, I’ve always been a worrywart. I know it’s pointless and unnecessary and that it gets me nothing except stressed out and sleepless. Still I do it, even now that both my boys are grown. I’d like to think it’s at least partly an act of the author in me that causes me to dream up a worst-case scenario and then imagine its consequences. But whatever it is, the scaffolding for Evidence of Life was built around this tendency to worry.
Then, of course, the news is filled with stories about natural disasters, heavy flooding for instance, where family members become separated from one another. I combined this idea with an unlikely setting: the Hill Country of Texas. It’s an area I love, that is known to be dry, exceptionally dry, except when it’s not. Floods there are rare but devastating events when they occur. The deluge can come on so quickly, dumping endless inches of rain in a matter of hours, creating flash floods, catching unsuspecting people off guard.
Suppose someone you loved, your husband and daughter, say, were to vanish in such a storm without a trace? What would you do? Sit home and wait? Or try and find them? How long would you keep looking? How would you sustain hope and for how long? As a mom, I wondered about these questions. Abby came into my brain, and I wanted to tell her story. I wanted to find her answers.
I have the same questions! I am looking forward to finishing the novel and discovering whether Abby ever learns the fate of Nick and Lindsey.
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