Today’s #TalkTuesday interview is also our #TeaserTuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, all of which feature Shattered Silence by Marta Perry. A joint effort by Elise and I! Enjoy!
Chat with Sassy on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/SBgoodreads
Shattered Silence by Marta Perry flawlessly intertwines a mystery with contemporary themes, while giving a sprinkling of the Amish culture. She illuminates the differences between the Amish community and the larger urban society.
The plot begins with new divorcee Rachel Hartline attempting to touch base with her ex-husband, Paul, to discuss putting their home up for sale. After catching him trying to download some sensitive company information things go very awry for her. First, she must deal with Paul’s disappearance, and then a private investigator, Clint Mordan, hired by the CEO to locate the flash drive, suspects her of being a likely participant in her husband’s scheme. After having her house broken into, turned upside down, and having her life threatened she decides to seek the haven of her grandparents. They are Amish and Rachel knows she will be safe with them. As Clint follows Rachel from Philadelphia to the tiny Amish community of Echo Falls, Pennsylvania, he figures out that whatever loyalty Rachel might still feel, it doesn’t include lying or covering up for her ex-husband. As he and his partner hit dead ends he wonders why their client is keeping them in the dark, and becomes more protective of Rachel. As they begin to trust each other, both realize that there are few people they can trust to ensure Rachel does not become a murder victim.
Perry does a great job of balancing the family element within a suspenseful plot, which have moments of fear, dread, and tension. Once the first page is turned readers will be hooked, as they must navigate all the different twists thrown at them.
Elise Cooper: You contrast the city life versus the Amish life?
Marta Perry: I wanted to write something that would dramatize the modern life of the character against the quiet secluded farm life. I have always lived in areas where there are Amish. As a child, I lived in Southern Pennsylvania where there was an old order of Mennonites. We all went to school together so I have several friends in that community. I understood that there are some aspects of their life that are different than mine.
EC: It seems stories involving the Amish are popular, including bestselling author Linda Castillo?
MP: I never met her but I have read her books. I think at first, people thought it was a fad and would not last, but it has turned into a sub-genre. Readers enjoy it because they can react to the complexity of their modern life. They enjoy reading about those who live in the contemporary world but have a much simpler life. I have spoken with some Amish who say, ‘if you like our reliance on family, rely on yours or build one; if you like the fact we are interconnected within our community, do it in your community.’ I think many wish they had the simpler existence, similar to when they were growing up.
EC: Were you influenced by the Harrison Ford Amish movie, “Witness”?
MP: The movie was set in Lancaster County. At that time, I had insight on what they got correct and what they got wrong. They contrasted beautifully the differences in life style. The opening scene in the train station with all the noise and confusion versus the hills, farms, and serenity of the Amish place. I wanted to give this type of an image in my book. I wrote of the suburban areas, for example, how the characters had to navigate during rush hour, all that traffic. Rachel understood those in the city keep to themselves, reserving their private space.
EC: Rachel enjoyed her time on her Amish grandparents’ farm?
MP: She felt safe and secure, but knew there would be no solitude because people are always around. If someone wanted to be solitary don’t go to the Amish because family, Church, job, and community are all intertwined.
EC: The language of the Amish has guttural intonation?
MP: They speak Pennsylvania Dutch derived from the German language. It is an archaic language since they still speak the language of the 1700s. When they come across a word where there is no translation to the Pennsylvania Dutch they use the English word, appearing like it is thrown into the middle of a sentence. Remember I am not writing their language but it is in English, and I need to use the same sentence structure.
EC: How would you describe Rachel?
MP: She is a Kindergarten teacher and I based her on some of the wonderful, kind ones I knew. As a traditionalist, she is devastated by the fact that she couldn’t make her marriage work, always thinking she would marry for life. Those people in her life that are close to her let her down, a big element in the formation of her personality. Although conscientious she has trust issues, including trusting her own instincts. I do not think she is as independent as she assumes. For instance, when she realizes she is in trouble and needs help she doesn’t flee to the nearest big city where she can disappear, but goes back to what represents home to her, the Amish community, seeking security and safety.
EC: How would you describe Clint?
MP: He is motivated by a sense of duty. He is a very righteous person who believes in duty first and honor above all. Unlike Rachel he was raised in a very secure and stable environment. Clint is haunted by the fact he felt he let his police partner down and is determined that now as a private investigator it will not happen again to Rachel. He would not talk about this issue because he is uncomfortable talking about his feelings, forcing Rachel to develop a short hand to figure out what is going on with his emotions.
EC: How would you describe the relationship between Clint and Rachel?
MP: They are basically made for each other, but it takes a long time to realize. They complete each other. Although they express it in different ways, they are similar in their values at the deepest level of family, trustworthiness, and honestly.
EC: You made her husband Paul a gambling addict?
MP: He stole savings and jewelry from Rachel. He put it ahead of her. He was always looking for that part of the gold that would transform his life.
EC: You also explore the issue of divorce?
MP: Most of us have seen that as a couple they had this community of friends together. But after breaking up suddenly it becomes for the friends or the individual hard to navigate the separation.
EC: Family is an important theme?
MP: People should love unconditionally. This does not mean children cannot be scolded, corrected, or punished. It is similar to how her grandparents loved Rachel no matter where her life took her. When a child leaves the Amish community, there is a sense of grief with a feeling that the child is denying the lifestyle and beliefs. As time passes they do maintain a relationship with their son or daughter. They still go to all the Amish family picnics and birthday parties. They make the distinction they are no longer Amish, but still are family.
EC: There is a scene in the book where Rachel’s Amish family were willing to have a car drive them to her?
MP: It is common among the Pennsylvania Amish. They do not own or drive a car, but if they need to make a long trip there is nothing in their rules to prevent them from hiring an English driver. The horse and buggy is the reason for the ban on owning cars since it is central to their way of life, with everything needed to be a reasonable distance.
EC: Can you give a heads up about your next books?
MP: This is the last book in this series, in which all are related by a place. My next series will start with a book about an Amish outsider, and will be related by characters. A man left the Amish community and married an “Englisher.” The marriage disintegrated and then she was killed. He wanted to seek a place to recuperate with his eight-year-old child so he reluctantly turns to his Amish family after he becomes a person of interest. I am also going to write an Amish saga that will be more complex; although it will be with another publisher.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Shattered Silence (Echo Falls #3)
One moment Rachel Hartline is secure in her career and community. The next, she’s in the wrong place at the wrong time—watching her ex-husband commit a crime that puts her in unfathomable danger. Fear and hurt send her home to an Amish farm and the family she’s always trusted. But a private investigator is close behind—and he may be a threat to her in more ways than one…
Cold, calculating Clint Mordan isn’t convinced Rachel is as innocent in her ex-husband’s schemes as she claims, but when her ex’s enemies target Rachel, Clint is driven to keep her safe. Maybe the terror in her beautiful eyes and the target on her back aren’t an act. But as his feelings toward her deepen, Clint realizes he’s the only one who can keep Rachel alive in a game where only the killer knows the stakes.
• Grab your current read
• Open to a random page
• Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
• BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
• Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! Everyone loves Teaser Tuesday
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.
Shattered Silence (Echo Falls #3)
Looking forward to visiting your blogs and seeing what your Teaser Tuesday and First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, are this week!
Luv Sassy x