“Loose Ends” takes readers on a white-knuckle ride with two sisters on the run — from the law and from their past Caroline Taylor deftly tackles a tale of secrets and intrigue
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In the midst of Bicentennial celebrations, Carson Mahoney narrowly escapes a home invasion that reduces her house to rubble. In a West Virginia commune, her sister Cam kills the commune leader. Now both sisters must flee.
Already a suspect in her secretive husband’s murder, Carson fears the police will suspect her of arson and put her in jail. It happened before, back when the two sisters were teenagers, imprisoned in a foreign country. It cannot happen again.
But running away is also not an option. Cam needs to find the innocent whose life she has saved. Carson must find the thugs who destroyed her home and her livelihood. All too soon, the sisters learn how impossible it is to hide and how difficult it is to trust those who offer help. Will they survive long enough to clear their names?
Caroline Taylor has written a tightly woven thriller full of female empowerment and bravery, with strong women seeking justice and formidable opponents in their way. With twists and turns, jolting from the present to the past, readers will be holding their breath until the very end.
Caroline Taylor is the author of two mystery novels, “What Are Friends For?” and “Jewelry from a Grave,” one nonfiction book, “Publishing the Nonprofit Annual Report: Tips, Traps, and Tricks of the Trade,” and numerous short stories and essays, which are featured on her website at www.carolinestories.com. A collection of short stories, titled “Enough: Thirty Stories of Fielding Live’s Little Curve Balls,” is forthcoming from Literary Wanderlust in April 2018. A longtime resident of Washington, DC, she now lives in North Carolina.
About the book
When armed gunmen invade Carson Mahoney’s Washington, D.C., home in 1976 and then blow it up, she decides she must disappear. She’s already a suspect in the murder of her former husband, so calling the police is not an option. Neither is jail. Carson turns to her sister Cameron for help.
But Cam has her own troubles. Now living in a West Virginia religious commune, she discovers the commune leader “counseling” a three-year-old girl with his fly open. She slashes his throat and flees with the child, only to be captured. But jail is no option for her either. It is a hell that stretches back ten years to a foreign country where both sisters were imprisoned for debt owed by their parents, a place where raping female captives is a job perk. Cam manages to escape the commune only to wind up cornered in a hotel room. The only way out is a three-story fall to the ground.
Meanwhile, the thugs who invaded Carson’s house reach her before she can summon help, and she learns that she is one of many loose ends to be tied up because of her former husband’s role in the assassination of Orlando Letelier.
Caroline Taylor | December 7, 2017 | Moonshine Cove Publishing
Paperback | 9781945181269 | $13.99
An Interview with Caroline Taylor
You are an experiencedwriter, having tackled fiction, non-fiction and short stories. What drew you to write a thriller?
Did changing genres change your approach to writing? I am a big fan of Thomas Perry’s Jane Whitefield series, featuring a woman who helps people change their identity and disappear. I thought I might try my hand at something similar, based in Washington, D.C., where I lived for many years. It didn’t change my approach to writing, per se, although I did have a lot of fun putting my two main characters into a mess of trouble and then trying to figure out how to get them out of it.
Were any of the characters in your book inspired by real people?
Not so much real people as a desire to write about women who do not let victimhood define them. I also thought it would be interesting to make one of them a graphic designer, which I was, briefly, back when waxed galleys and press-type were the tools of the trade.
How did your experiences living abroad inform your plot line in “Loose Ends”?
It was a real eye-opener for me to learn that rights we take for granted as U.S. citizens do not extend beyond our own borders. And it shows how naïve some Americans traveling abroad can be, as recent incidents in North Korea and Mexico have shown. It seemed to me an excellent way to create the backstory that explains both sisters’ justifiable fear of incarceration.
What can readers learn from the strength of Cam and Carson?
They are both named after heroes (real and radio) of the Old West. In that way, they are throwbacks to a time when circumstances did not allow you to fall apart or whine or become immobilized by fear. You had to pick yourself up and press on, against whatever odds you faced, because surrender meant certain death.
What led to you to explore corruption within a Christian commune?
Mostly media accounts over the years of child abuse in religious cults. The images of women from these cults and how they are made to dress made me think they were powerless and probably unable to prevent the abuse. Perhaps they themselves were victims of abuse.
Do you have a method for tackling writer’s block?
If I can’t think of what to write, I go for a walk, take up some household task that involves physical rather than mental labor, or, when available, work on a freelance editing assignment—anything that gives the creative side of my brain a rest.
If you could sit down with three authors, who would they be and what would you ask them?
Elmore Leonard: How do you manage to write such spot-on dialogue for your low-life characters? Alan Furst: Tell me your secret of writing a scene about sex that makes it both sexy and interesting but never graphic. Olivia Manning: Guy and Harriet Pringle are unforgettable characters — Guy for being such a useless, albeit charming cad, and Harriet for her blindness to what’s happening around her and her acerbic tongue. Were they based on people you knew or an amalgam of people you knew, or did they spring solely from your imagination?
There are so many storylines in “Loose Ends,” but you said you write without an outline. How did you keep everything straight?
With great difficulty. But I had no choice. I have tried to outline a plot, but it always winds up looking trite, derivative, boring, or all of the above. Once I write an opening scene, I take Ann Tyler’s advice and just let the characters take me where they want to go. Sometimes that works beautifully, as it did with Loose Ends. Other times, I have to stop their journey, turn them back, and start them down another path until I begin to see where they will end up.
Why did you decide to name chapters after songs?
The 1970s was awash in unforgettable music, and I wanted to pay homage to it. Some of the songs are of earlier vintage, but I tried to make the song titles as contemporary as I could while also having them suggest what is going to happen in the chapter.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Understand that rejection does not mean you’re no good. Rejection simply means that the person doesn’t want your story and that it could be because of personal prejudices, the current market, competing stories, or even personal or work issues that make rejecting a piece easier than taking it up. Learn from rejection on those rare occasions when someone gives feedback. But, also, look at that feedback with a critical eye. One reviewer of Loose Ends thought my characters were cold and unfeeling because they didn’t cry or cave under duress. To me, they seem like strong women, women who have survived a terrible ordeal in the past and who have learned the hard way that it’s up to them to make a life for themselves, to find justice in an unjust world.
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