Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Maryann Miller and One Small Victory

Today's guest blogger is Maryann Miller, the author of One Small Victory.

About the book:

Life can change in just an instant. That's the harsh reality that Jenny Jasik faces when her son is killed in an automobile accident, but never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect to be working undercover as a member of a drug task force. She is, after all, just a Mom. In the course of her work, she discovers that she is capable of much more than running a household and managing her floral shop.

I asked Maryann to tell us how she created her strong female lead. Here's what she had to say:

Jenny Jasick, the central character in One Small Victory came to me as a full-blown character when I read a short news item about a woman who infiltrated a drug ring and helped bring down the main distributor in the area after her son was killed in a car accident and marijuana was found at the scene. The news story had few details about the woman, other than what she did and the fact that she couldn’t tell anyone about it, so I immediately started wondering what it must have been like to do this.

The more I wondered, the more the character came to life on an emotional level. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to lose her son, then take some of the emotional turmoil of grief and put it into action. Then how did she get on the task force? What was it like to meet with the dealers? The answers to those questions not only helped me get to know Jenny more, but also helped with the plotting. Because of the nonfiction books I have done about drugs, I already knew quite a bit about how the drug business operates, but I didn’t know how a rural task force is put together, or in what capacity Jenny would work. Because the news story said the woman couldn’t tell anyone what she was doing, I surmised that she worked as a confidential informant, but I had no idea how a CI is handled on the rural law enforcement level. Luckily, my son had some contacts in a small town police station, as well as the county sheriff’s office, so he was able to put me in contact with the right people to answer all those questions.

The choice to set the story in a small rural town was made for several reasons. First, I thought it would be more believable that she could bully her way onto a small task force as opposed to one in a large city. I thought it would be easier in a small town for someone to see her trying to connect to the dealers, and that would add complications to the story. This was also a way to highlight the fact that illegal drugs are such a growing problem in rural areas.

Readers will relate to Jenny on a number of levels, especially women. We all like to read about strong, capable women because I think it helps us see our own strength. Not that we would go to the extreme that Jenny did. In fact, I had one reviewer who stated unequivocally that even though she admired Jenny, there was no way that she, the reviewer, would ever be out on the streets at night trying to combat the drug problem. I also had one reader who told me that halfway through the book she wanted to tell Jenny to stop. Go home and take care of the children you have there. But the reader also said that by the time she came to the end, she realized that staying home and doing nothing was not an option for Jenny. And in the long run, what she did was good for the other two children because she worked through her grief instead of wallowing in it.

If visitors to this blog would like to know more about Jenny, they can read an interview with her that is in my press room on my website. http://www.maryannwrites.com

Thank you so much for this opportunity to be here and write about my book and my character.

The ONE SMALL VICTORY VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR '08 will officially begin on September 2, '08 and end on September 26, '08. You can visit Maryann's tour stops at www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com in September to find out more about her and her new book!

As a special promotion for all our authors, Pump Up Your Book Promotion is giving away one FREE virtual book tour to a published author with a recent release or a $50 Amazon gift certificate to those not published who comments on our authors' blog stops. More prizes will be announced as they become available. The winner will be announced on our main blog at www.pumpupyourbookpromotion.wordpress.com on September 26!

This virtual book tour has been brought to you by:


Chris Redding said...

Dang, Add another one to my already bursting TBR pile!
I LOVE strong heroines and I think as mothers we are capable of anything when it comes to our children.

Crystal Adkins said...

Wow, I totally agree. Mother's are a total different kind of person when something messes with their kids!

Helen Ginger said...

You're right. I love strong women leads. And I love a book that has you mentally arguing with the protagonist, yet by the time you get to the end, you're cheering her actions.

Maryann Miller said...

Thanks Chris, Crystal and Helen for stopping by to leave comments. Interesting that you mentioned arguing with the protagonist, Helen. I had one reader recently tell me that halfway through the book she kept wanting to tell Jenny to stay home and take care of the kids she had left. But in the end the reader realized that Jenny was taking care of her kids. It is such a thrill when the readers get what you are trying to say without whapping them over the head with it. :-)