We have the pleasure of meeting Sara Peters, a character from The Fourth Victim.
We'll get a chance to talk to the author, Beverley Bateman, in a bit, but now we have on the stage...Sara!
Marie Lavender: Hello, Sara. Please have a seat.
Character Sara Peters: Hi, Marie.
Marie: Great to have you here! We're going to start out with some simple questions, okay?
Sara: All right.
Marie: So, what is your occupation? Are you any good at it? Do you like it?
At present I am a trained member of a global rescue team with psychic abilities that saves women at risk from physical and mental abuse, or potential death. I’ve been trained as part of a team and yes, I’m good at it. And I like it.
Marie: Wow! That's amazing.
Tell us...what is your family like?
Sara: My parents are both dead. I have no siblings. My husband is dead (thank heavens) and I have two children; a twenty-one, almost twenty-two year old daughter and a nineteen year old son. My family now are the sisters on my team, a mixture of women with varied psychic powers. We are a very close and supportive family.
Marie: Okay, let's try something else.
What did your childhood home look like?
Sara: It was a very average two story, three bedroom, two bathroom home in a middle class neighborhood in Seattle.
Marie: I see.
Do you have any hobbies, Sara? What do you enjoy doing?
Sara: Reading, gardening, which was all I was allowed to do when married. Now, I enjoy walking my dog, hanging out with my team members, practicing karate and strengthening my psychic ability to see the dead, and spending time with my daughter.
Now, what is your greatest dream?
Sara: To be married to a wonderful man whom I love, continue to become stronger for my children and myself, and continue to help other women.
Marie: (Nods.) Sounds like a plan!
Let's try a different question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Sara: This is difficult to answer. Before my husband died recently, I could say what I wished and what was stopping me. But now my husband has died, nothing is stopping me and I am taking the responsibility for myself and becoming the person I wish I could be - a strong individual, taking responsibility for her own life, working on improving my lifestyle and helping women in life-threatening situations, whether it be mentally, emotionally or physically.
Marie: Well, I am actually impressed with how you've handled everything!
So...if it's not too painful or personal, can you tell us one thing? Who was your first love?
Sara: My husband, Gordon.
Marie: And what's the most terrible thing that ever happened to you, Sara?
Sara: Marrying my husband and having him be an abusive man who turned me into a doormat. Until I married Gordon I was an intelligent, independent woman. He subtly turned me into a shadow of myself; a mentally and emotionally abused woman.
Marie: I'm so sorry to hear you went through all that. :( I was also in a pretty abusive relationship years ago, and it was tough to climb out...
Let's try another question, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved that dream, why not?
Sara: Growing up I wanted to be an independent woman with a career, married to a wonderful man, have children and a wonderful family. No, I didn’t achieve that dream. I became a doormat with no life. I didn’t achieve the dream, but I’m hoping that now I can.
Well, I want to ask you something else...
Who is your role model, Sara?
Sara: My role model is Nadia Fareedah Nassif, a founder of The Foundation and my recruiter.
Marie: So, is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Sara: It would have been my husband. I loved him, but when I realized he had destroyed me I hated him. I was glad when he died.
Marie: I guess I can't blame you there!
So, tell us...
What is your deepest desire?
Sara: To become even stronger and save more women, especially those who are emotionally or physically abused and have no idea how to escape their situation. And to help my children recover from the role model they saw of me, as an abused woman as they grew up.
Marie: And what is your greatest fear, Sara?
Sara: That I could ever regress back to that shell of a woman, or that anything could hurt my children.
Marie: I certainly appreciate your candor.
Well, it looks like we're running out of time, Sara. Thank you for visiting us today.
It was so interesting getting to know you! (Waves at her guest as she heads off the stage.)
Now, let's shift over and get the author's perspective. We have Beverley Bateman on the stage today!
Author Beverley Bateman: Hello! Glad to be here!
Marie: (Smiles.) Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age!
So, we just got to talk to a female character from your story...Sara. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about her?
Beverley: Sara is a housewife, almost forty years old. She was an average young woman, independent, intellectual and working on a Business degree when she married at twenty and gave up her career for her emotionally and mentally abusive husband. He manipulated her so she became a woman totally dependent on her husband, unable to make a decision. She had two children who are now in university. After her husband’s sudden death, she is working on becoming a strong woman, the woman she was before she married. She is recruited by The Foundation to train and become a part of a team with psychic abilities, to help rescue woman at risk.
So, tell us.
What are your character's greatest strengths?
Beverley: Her ability to survive, her recognition of how she became an abused victim and she will never go back to a situation where she could be abused. It has made her stronger and given her the desire to help other women who may be in the same situation as she was.
Marie: Survivalism is definitely a test of character!
So, what are her greatest weaknesses?
Beverley: Not standing up to her husband, and wishing she had been a stronger and better role model for her children.
Marie: Yes, guilt can be a major roadblock after surviving such trauma.
So, what are some of Sara's favorite foods?
Beverley: Italian foods and pizza.
Marie: (Chuckles.) Well, I definitely agree with those! :)
What's a positive quality that your character is unaware he or she has?
Beverley: How strong she really is both physically and mentally, how she survived her husband’s abuse.
So, will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Beverley: I hope they like her and cheer for her. In the first scene she’s an abused wife who set that role model for her children, but when her husband dies unexpectedly she fights her way back to becoming a strong woman, and is now helping other women who may be in her previous position.
Marie: I certainly support the notion of giving back!
Well, now that we have a real taste of Sara, we have a few questions for you as well as the author.
What first gave you the idea for The Fourth Victim?
Beverley: I’m not quite sure. I believe women should be helping women. Most of my books are about strong women. If women are abused mentally, emotionally or physically, it would be great if other women helped them. So I developed The Foundation, three women who work together to help other women in all situations.
Marie: That is inspiring! Isn't it cool how our books evolve? ;)
So, what is your writing style like, Beverley? Are you a pantster or plotter?
Beverley: I’m a half and half. I get an idea and I do a brief sketch of chapters and scenes for the story with some of the characters' goals and objectives. Then I sit down and write the first draft of the book.
Well...I'm throwing this one in for our aspiring writers.
Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Fourth Victim, or getting it published? What would you do differently next time?
Beverley: The biggest challenge I had with writing The Fourth Victim was the plot in general. It’s a trio of women who worked to help women and then build an organization to help women and train other women to help women. It’s complex. How to organize the information and it’s too much for a book, but what do you cut out? What would I do different – try to break the information into smaller categories and perhaps more books.
Marie: I know what you mean...a story idea can evolve so rapidly, and before you know it, you have sequels and subplots. ;)
Well, it was such a pleasure having you on Writing in the Modern Age, Beverley. We hope you can come back sometime soon!
Beverley: Thank you for giving me, as well as Sara, a chance to visit your blog.
Marie: Of course! :)
Readers, here is the blurb for The Fourth Victim.
Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
Mac has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara, sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?
The office said he’d had a heart attack. Was he alive? Did she want him to be? What if her husband had to stay home for a few weeks to recuperate? Palms sweating, Sara’s breath came in short, shallow bursts at the thought.
The taxi jerked to a stop in front of the hospital emergency entrance.
Sara fumbled through her purse and counted out her meager number of dollar bills. Gordon didn’t allow her to have a credit card and he only allowed her to have a small amount of cash. She didn’t have enough money to pay the taxi.
“I’m so sorry. I left home without any cash. I…I… Would you take a check?” Tears spilled over and trickled down her flushed cheeks.
The driver spun around. A short stubby finger waved at the sign over the rearview mirror. “Look lady, it says right there—No Checks.”
“I know, I know. I’m sorry. My husband’s had a heart attack and I… I don’t know what to do.” Sara ran her fingers through her hair.
The driver shook his head. “Aw, shit. Go ahead, lady. Write the check.”
Sara pulled the single crumpled check Gordon allowed her carry for emergencies out of her purse. When she touched the check, a vision of Gordon floated in front of her.
She froze and rapidly blinked her eyes. She only saw the ghosts of dead people. Gordon didn’t believe her and forbade her to ever mention it.
Could he really be dead?
“Gordon?” she whispered.
“Lady, are you writing that check or not?”
“Yes, sorry.” Sara scribbled her signature on the bottom of the check. “Please, fill it in, and give yourself a generous tip. Thank you, thank you so much.” She clutching her worn purse to her chest, slid out of the cab, and scurried through the emergency room doors.
What if he was dead? She didn’t have any money. Gordon did all the finances and never shared anything with her. How would she manage?
Twenty years ago she could have handled it. Could she do it again? But he couldn’t be dead. Gordon would never allow that to happen.
His face flitted in front of her, fixed in an angry glare.
He had to be dead or she wouldn’t be seeing him. He didn’t want to be dead. He didn’t want her to be free. If he thought she could see him, he’d be furious.
Sara shuffled toward the reception desk. She glanced over her shoulder, searching for some sign of Gordon, listening for his voice, waiting for him to yell at her. She couldn’t believe he was really dead, even though she had seen him. She clung to the edge of the transition counter, her head down, chewed on her lower lip and waited to be noticed.
Finally a brusque voice snapped, “Can I help you?”
Sara looked up to see a heavy set, older woman in a loose blue top. The woman’s thick dark brows met in a vee in the middle of her forehead.
“I’m sorry, I… I’m looking for my husband. His office phoned to say he’d been brought here.” Sara shrunk into her body.
“Name?” the woman commanded.
“Gordon, Gordon Peters.” Sara stared at her worn black oxfords, then at the scuffed, gray linoleum with the red, blue and yellow lines that led to different areas. Maybe she shouldn’t have come. Maybe she should have waited for Gordon to call and tell her whether she should be here or not. But if he was dead, she would have to make her own decisions. Her pulse raced. Her head pounded. For the last nineteen years, she had never made a decision. Gordon made all of them for her.
“When was he admitted?” The woman reminded Sara of a sergeant major.
“I’m not sure, less than an hour ago. They told me to meet him here. Maybe he’s been discharged already?” She chewed her thumbnail. If Gordon had been discharged he’d be furious at her for spending all that money on a taxi. But she’d seen his ghost.
Tension twisted her stomach into knots. The pain caused her to clutch her purse tightly against her abdomen. She needed to get home and start dinner. She’d have to take a bus. Did she have enough money? She opened her purse.
The woman moved to a second pile of folders and pulled one out. “You’re his wife?”
Sara nodded. “Yes. Can I see him?”
His ghost floated in front of her. This time confusion mixed with his anger
“Have a seat, Mrs. Peters. I’ll have the doctor speak to you.” The sergeant major’s voice softened. She indicated a chair near the desk.
“No, please, I need to see him right away. He’ll be upset if I’m late.”
Sara slumped into the seat, and dropped her head into her hands. Gordon might be dead, but he would still make her pay for spending the money on the taxi, and not getting to the hospital sooner. It was another sign of her incompetence. He’d remind her she didn’t deserve a man like him.
She gasped. Gordon stood a few feet away. He shook his fist. No, it wasn’t him. It was his ghost. It couldn’t be. Gordon said she didn’t see ghosts. He’d never come to her even if he was dead.
Universal reader link: https://books2read.com/u/b6ky2E
This book sounds good! Readers, don't forget to pick up a copy of Beverley Bateman's romantic suspense novel, The Fourth Victim! :)
About Beverley Bateman:
Murder, mystery and romance fills award-winning, Canadian author, Beverley Bateman's life. She loves to plot, kill and hopefully baffle the reader. Her nursing and public health nursing background helps with some details and administering a community care facility program had her investigating and directing investigations into irregularities and sometimes a death. She even has court experience.
She began writing in her preteens and loved to write locked room mysteries. Reading Nancy Drew helped her figure out plots. Facing breast cancer, she decided she needed to do what she’d always wanted and began to write. She completed her first romantic suspense novel and hasn’t stopped writing since. She recently moved and now lives among ranches and wheat fields in southern Alberta, with her husband and Shiba Inu dog.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Bateman/e/B008M01F5E