Interview with the Author
What inspired you to write this book?
I volunteered at a domestic violence shelter for three years. I saw so many men come in with no place to go. They are the victims without a voice. If they could find services, they are very limited. I felt I needed to shine a light on this silent issue. Change can only come when we finally acknowledge that there is a problem.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’ll let you know when I figure it out. In the mean time I’ll just keep writing.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
Yes, It’s all on the horizon.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Out of The Shadows?
Dane Johnson is a typical dad in his mid-thirties. He is married to Julie, his high school sweetheart. He goes to work, comes home and spends his spare time with his family. Except he has a secret he keeps hidden from the outside world. His wife is abusive to him and his son. He’s at a loss. He can’t get help, no one believes a man can be physically abused. Dane does what any loving parent would do to protect their child. He takes all the abuse thrown at him in order to protect his son.
Brady is thirteen years old. He’s at a point in his life where he’s trying to discover who he is and trying to deal with the turmoil at home and at school.
Danni is Brady’s best friend who just happens to be a girl. Like Brady, she is trying to find her way in life. She is the only one who knows everything Brady is going through. She wants to help him, but she doesn’t know what to do.
Julie is Dane’s wife. She is a very bitter person. Her jealously of Brady and Dane’s relationship is what fuels her rage towards Dane.
Abby is Brady’s guidance counselor. She was in an abusive relationship, so she recognizes all the signs. She tries to help but it might end up costing her, her life.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
Sadly, I saw many men come to the shelter for help and get turned away. That was my catalyst for the story. I put myself in Dane’s shoes. As a parent I wanted to feel what he felt. I thought back to when my son was thirteen. How would he handle what Brady is going through? The drama they have at that age changes drastically day by day.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I thought about the most popular names in the book world and made sure I didn’t use them. I didn’t want any comparison to any other characters, mine included.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
This was a very difficult book to write. I didn’t want it to be too long because the subject matter is difficult especially when children are involved. I needed to take the reader on a very gut-wrenching ride, yet I needed to make sure the reader felt there is hope! Judging by all the reviews and messages I’ve received I think I shined a light on a subject that really needed it. People are now talking about it. Fighting against the stigma.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The titles come to me as I’m writing. They are never planned. Out of The Shadows didn’t come to me until the last paragraph!
Who designed your book covers?
Tracy Beavers owner of Roar Marketing Group
Robin Harper owner of Wicked by Design
Stacey Ryan Blake owner of Champagne Book Design
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No, I achieved what I set out to do.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Yes! I always do a lot of research when I’m writing a book. I knew that the available help was very minuscule. I was surprised to find some agencies that are offering help. However, so many people don’t know they exist. I included them in an author’s note at the end of the book.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I would have Chris Pine play Dane, Noah Schnapp to play Brady and Kristen Bell to play Julie.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
I know this is a difficult subject. Please be advised I don’t hold back. This book will make you feel you are going through this with Dane and Brady. This could be a trigger for those who have experienced domestic violence.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
The very last line. You’ll understand when you read it.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I would spend it with Brady. I would want to see the world through the eyes of a thirteen-year-old. To see hope for the future without any of the ugliness in the world is priceless.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
All my characters are a little of both. I’m older so I have many years of different experience to pull from.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story, or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I start the characters on their journey. If they are headed down a rabbit hole, then I guide them back on the path I intended for them.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Out of The Shadows is a must read. It fights against the stigma of domestic violence. It makes the reader stop and ask these questions:
What would I do in this situation?
What would my child do?
If a male co-worker or friend came to me with this story, how would I react? Would I believe him?
How did I miss the signs he was in dire need of help?
My hope is that after reading Out of The Shadows, people will become more aware and offer help and hope to those who need it.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
Yes, they are coming out this year.
What did you edit out of this book?
Some of the violence. I couldn’t see my words through my tears.
Is there a writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
Bromberg. Her writing is real. She paints a beautiful picture with all the feels. I would have loved to sit down with Tom Clancy.