It’s Scarlet Thread Sunday, when I share a thread of something I’ve learned in the labyrinth of life. Today, however, I used my thread to tug Catie Rhodes over to the blog to tell us about her paranormal mystery, FOREVER ROAD.
First, here’s the book blurb:
Seeing ghosts is rough, but owing a ghost a favor flat out sucks.
My name’s Peri Jean Mace, and I’ve seen ghosts ever since I can remember. Don’t get too excited. Seeing across the veil branded me as a loony during my growing up years, and I learned to keep my yap shut about it.
Now I’m not sure I can anymore.
See, my cousin up and got herself killed the very same day I promised her a favor. Now she’s back in spirit form and determined to make me pay. If I don’t solve her murder, she’s going to haunt me forever. Talk about the debt collector from hell.
That’s not my only problem. An obnoxiously hot cop wants to arrest my best friend for the murder. My bigmouthed archenemy holds a clue to the killer’s identity. And there’s this mean—and ugly—woman who wants to beat me up.
None of this can turn out good.
Catie and I became friends online, but eventually discovered that we don’t live terribly far from one another. Thus, Catie has become a face-to-face friend as well. When I received an advanced copy of her book, I confess that I really wanted it to be good. (What do you do if a good friend writes a book and you don’t like it?)
I needn’t have worried. FOREVER ROAD is well-worth your time! An awesome debut novel. One thing stood out to me as I read–how Catie’s description of the East Texas setting and its people added depth to the novel. So I asked Catie to chat with us about her love of the Lone Star State.
Thanks for having me, Julie. I’ve been looking forward to joining you for some greasy deep-fried food stimulating conversation for quite some time. Thanks for inviting me to talk about one of my pet subjects—Texas.
Before I get into my version of a Travel Tex commercial, let me explain why we’re talking about Texas. When I sat down to write FOREVER ROAD, I created a fictional East Texas town called Gaslight City. I spent hours figuring out the geography of this town. By the time I wrote about it, the place seemed real to me. That’s why Julie invited me to explain why I set my book in Texas.
I am fond of saying Texas is in my blood, in my bones…and it is.
My family has been in Texas a very long time. One of my many-greats-grandfather’s name appears on musters from the Texas Revolution. He was John C. Gallion (listed on the musters of the Northeast Beat as J.C. Galion). My father’s side of the family is descended from John C. Gallion’s daughter Ellen.
My Thornton ancestors, on my mothers side of the family, came to Texas by covered wagon in the 1850s. James D. Thornton and his wife Princess Clarky Ann Tullos (a Native American) settled in Trinity County, Texas. Their descendants still live on the land James and Clarky settled all those years ago.
The people from whom I am descended came to Texas for opportunity, to secure a better future. They survived obstacles unimaginable to a generation who is lost without high speed internet. Texas was a frontier when my ancestors came here. It was either sink or swim. Whatever happened, help was not coming. In spite of adversity, wars, and poverty, my ancestors survived well enough that I’m here telling y’all where I came from.
To me, that’s what Texas is all about. It’s about working hard and taking chances to achieve dreams. It’s about independence and individuality. It’s about never giving up in the face of adversity.
There is one famous Texan who best expressed this sentiment. Surrounded by the Mexican Army at the Alamo, William B. Travis wrote
“I am besieged, by a thousand or more of the Mexicans under Santa Anna—I have sustained a continual Bombardment & cannonade for 24 hours & have not lost a man—The enemy has demanded a surrender at discretion, otherwise, the garrison are to be put to the sword, if the fort is taken—I have answered the demand with a cannon shot, & our flag still waves proudly from the walls—I shall never surrender or retreat…”
Travis’s resolve never fails to inspire me. His words encourage me to keep going through adversity, doubt, and fear. There is no way I can be more afraid than he must have been as he faced the last days of his life. But even facing certain death, Travis reacted with dignity and faith. And defiance.
I like to think we all have our place in the world, and Texas is mine. To repeat myself: this land is in my blood, in my bones…and even in the sweat of my effort. That’s why I write about Texas.
I hope some of you will check out FOREVER ROAD. It is a mystery featuring ghosts, but it is ultimately about surviving life’s curveballs and having the inner strength to keep going anyway…in small town East Texas.
Catie Rhodes decided to turn her love of lying into writing fiction after she got fired for telling her boss the President was on the phone. It didn’t take Catie long to figure out what she wanted to do when she grew up. Drawing on her East Texas roots, her love of true crime, and her love of the paranormal, she writes the kind of stories she wishes the book stores sold. With her faithful Pomeranian, Cosmo, at her side, Catie relishes being that kid your mother warned you about, the one who cusses and never washes her hands after petting the dog.
Find Catie Online:
Feel free to ask Catie or me any questions about FOREVER ROAD, Texas, ghosts, whatever in the comments.
ROW80 goals met: Wrote 9430 words on YA mystery; finished Margie Lawson’s course on Writing Body Language; exercised twice this week.