Hello book lovers, welcome back! Welcome to our Tuesday post! This includes #TeaserTuesday, #BookBeginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros! Enjoy!
Into the Dark (The Cincinnati Series Book 5) (Cincinnati 5) by Karen Rose
With Into The Dark, Karen Rose has outdone herself, which is hard to do. This story is a great read for the holiday season: full of intense scenes of suspense, a sprinkle of romance, and great characters the readers will fall in love with. The core of the story is finding acceptance, trust, and love while struggling to avoid extreme danger. But an added bonus is how Rose delves into subjects such as living with the handicap of deafness, being HIV positive, and child abuse.
The story opens with a bang as teenager Michael Rowland is being chased by his stepfather, while carrying his younger brother Joshua. Michael knows that Joshua is going to face a fate worse than death after seeing his stepfather drug the younger boy. From his hiding place, he sees a man murder his stepfather. Not knowing what to do, yet having a sense of safety, hoping that the danger has passed with the stepfather’s death, Michael and Joshua return to their home.
Everything appears back to normal as Michael realizes that his drugged-out mother will not be able to pick up his brother from soccer practice. As he shows up, the soccer coach Diesel Kennedy realizes Michael is bleeding from his head. Knowing something is dreadfully wrong, he convinces Michael to accompany him to the clinic where Dr. Dani Novak works. Once she examines the boy, it’s obvious he’s been abused and is deaf.
Because of the abuse, both Michael and Joshua have to be put in a foster home. Dani is an emergency foster parent for deaf children and decides to take both these boys into her home. She knows she can help Michael because she is deaf in one ear and has learned sign language. She and coach Diesel decide to work together to protect Michael and Joshua from their mother and the killer who wants to eliminate all witnesses. Besides trying to keep the children safe, Dani and Diesel also are dancing around their feelings for each other, attempting to overcome the emotional baggage. Their support group of friends and family come together to help in both cases.
After reading this novel, people will wish this heartbreaking and emotional story never ends. The protagonists are complex and caring with good hearts who teach each other how to trust again. The mystery is intense and will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Elise Cooper: How did you get the idea for this novel?
Karen Rose: This story had been building in my head for quite a long time, since the second book in the series where Diesel walks into the clinic where Dani is working. In writing their story, I knew it had to be around deafness. I would say this book has organically grown over several books. Remember in another book, Dani is stabbed and Diesel is there to rush her to the hospital.
EC: Dani and her brothers Deacon and Greg have Waardenburg Syndrome. Please explain what it is?
KR: I also have it. I didn’t realize I was subconsciously writing about it with Deacon’s character until it was on the pages with his white hair and unusual eyes, a blue and brown eye. I am deaf in one ear and my daughter is completely deaf. It is a genetic condition that primarily causes deafness and lack of pigmentation.
EC: Are the character’s other senses heightened?
KR: On TV, viewers see where a character does not have a certain sense and the others are heightened. I think it is more that people with the loss learn to become more aware of their surrounding environment. For instance, if I am in a big crowd, I become more aware because of my hearing loss in one ear. It can be very disconcerting.
EC: How would you describe Diesel?
KR: A gentle giant with a lot of tattoos. I would describe him as a big Mr. Clean. He is caring, protective, and an honest-book. He even got a tattoo with the Star of David for his mother who converted to Judaism.
The first hero I ever wrote where a male suffered abuse as a child was Diesel.
EC: How would you describe Dani?
KR: Someone who is very guarded and is willing to always help others, but not herself. In the beginning of the book, she does not like herself very much. Dani projects calmness and serenity because she never yells in anger, but instead internalizes and fumes. She blames herself for a lot of things that went on in her life. Overall, she is kind, caring, and patient.
EC: Why did you make Dani HIV positive?
KR: In the book Did You Miss Me readers were introduced to Dani’s brother Deacon. He says to someone, ‘you need to get yourself tested because the same thing happened to my sister who trusted the wrong person.’ I decided to make Dani HIV positive to allow me to explore many of the misconceptions. Since I plotted out Dani’s story years ago, the treatment was different then. Now, the treatment and prognosis are easier to control where the levels are undetectable. I hope I shed some light on it.
EC: You handled the abuse scenes without putting in the grossness?
KR: I want the drama in the book to be the aftermath. I like to take a page out of the old movies where the body is shown without blood and viewers see the reaction of the on-lookers. Many times, these scenes are scarier and people get a lot more emotionally involved. I showed how Michael feels embarrassed, fearful, humiliated, and scared. Probably because society tells men who were abused, they are somehow less of a man. This is why I wrote the scene where Diesel tells Michael how it happened to him also.
EC: Why the X-Men reference?
KR: I have Dani with dark hair and white streaks as well as deaf in one ear. I was born with that white streak that Dani has. In one scene in this book she says to Diesel, ‘where were you when I was a child and was made fun of all the time.’ I was made fun of to the point I wanted to be invisible. No one wants to be different as a child. I thought how the X-Men can put a positive spin on it. Joshua, the younger brother, sees Dani’s white streak and is immediately reminded of the X-Men character, Rogue. I even gave Dani’s dog Hawkeye a super-hero name.
EC: The dogs play an important role in this book?
KR: This is a running tongue in cheek since I wrote an earlier book where this killer never leaves any witnesses. A woman comes out of the store carrying dog food and I had killed her. My editor would not let her be murdered. I spent days trying to figure out how she could be shot in the head and then live. A friend who is a trauma surgeon told me that a person shot execution style with their head tilt at a certain angle could survive. The bullet will not penetrate the skull. This is what I did to Dolores, who readers would recognize as running the animal shelter. Now everyone gets a dog from her.
EC: How would you describe the relationship?
KR: At first, they were tragically apart. Dani’s fear is holding her back. Once she realizes it this helps her to make the final step.
EC: The bad guy is a “Dexter” type character?
KR: I realized that some readers will cheer him because he kills pedophiles. The antagonist, Cade, does not have a line he will not cross. He justifies to himself that if he kills off all the witnesses who are innocent, he can continue protecting people. But in reality, he just likes to kill people.
EC: So, you make chocolate and Star-Trek references?
KR: I love chocolate and needed a lot to write this book. Regarding Star-Trek, my husband is a Trekkie and goes to all the conventions.
EC: What about the American Girl dolls reference?
KR: There is a story behind it. Some time ago we lost everything including our house. We dug ourselves out after ten years. At that time, I found out my oldest daughter always wanted an American Girl doll, but said nothing because we had no money. When she was 18 or 20, we went to the store in New York. The doll she always wanted was discontinued but I bought her another one, and we even went to the café. They brought this high-chair that connects to the table for the doll and there was a tea set for the adults and the dolls. That year, for Christmas, I found the discontinued doll on eBay. Now my daughter has 8 to 10 dolls. American Girl is very considerate of everyone since there are dolls with a blue and brown eye, and others with braces on their legs.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next book?
KR: The next book will be out in August 2020 and will be the second book in the Sacramento series. It will continue the cult arc and the threat it poses to Mercy.
When I finish the Sacramento series there will be another book in this series, the Cincinnati series.
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
I’m also taking part in First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros
Every Tuesday Vicki @ I’d Rather Be at the Beach now hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where readers share the first paragraph of a book that they are reading or plan to read soon.
Into the Dark (The Cincinnati Series Book 5) (Cincinnati 5) by Karen Rose
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday, Book Beginnings and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros are this week!