I was invited to do a guest post on Beware of the Reader’s Blog. In it, I talked about my inspiration behind my latest release, Overcome. I wanted to share that post here in case you missed it.
I Wasn't Here For Your Viewing Pleasure
“[There’s] something not at all attractive about a girl knowing car shit.”
These words were once spoken about me.
Before I began my writing career, I managed my husband’s performance automotive business.
I did it for more than thirteen years.
I drove the race cars we built.
I knew ‘car shit’ not only because it was my job, but because I was an enthusiast.
I did not know ‘car shit’ to be considered attractive or otherwise.
Having worked for so long in an industry that is predominantly male, I feel extremely grateful for the fact that my negative experiences with the opposite sex were limited. Comments like the one above or the occasional client seeking technical advice about his vehicle and refusing to get that advice from me were the extent of what I dealt with. Thankfully, I had significantly more positive experiences than negative, but nearly all the bad ones related to the fact that I was a woman.
Should my knowledge be a threat to a man?
If I’m a guy and I know my ‘car shit’ I’m revered in the industry. But if I’m a woman and I know the same, I’m considered unattractive to some.
I wasn’t here for your viewing pleasure.
In mid-October 2017, eleven years after it was first used, a hashtag went viral.
I spent the next two months reading tons of stories from sexual assault and rape survivors. I read about PTSD and rape trauma syndrome in rape survivors. I learned about fight and flight. I also learned that the most common response is neither of those, but that it’s freezing instead. I read sexual assault survivor guides. I learned about reactions that family and friends can and do have when finding out a loved one has been sexually assaulted. I read about what sex is like after rape.
It was distressing and heartbreaking. It was also inspiring.
There were awful stories of devastation and despair. There were empowering stories of healing and recovery.
I learned a lot, but one of the most important lessons was: It’s not your fault.
It’s not your fault, even if you froze. It’s not your fault, even if you wore a short skirt. It’s not your fault, even if you showed cleavage. It’s not your fault, even if you walked alone at night. It’s not your fault, even if you kissed him. It’s not your fault, even if you liked him.
During these two months of research, Cruz & Lexi’s story came to me. I didn’t know the title at the time, but it would eventually be called Overcome.
Throughout my research, I kept looking for a recovery plan. Guess what? There is no 12-step process for recovery from sexual assault. Unfortunately, that meant I had no road map to follow for Lexi’s story. But I took the time to appreciate that and ultimately realized that, from a creativity standpoint, that was the best part about it. I had the freedom to navigate Lexi’s journey of healing wherever she took it.
I had a lot of goals when writing Overcome, but there are four that were most important to me: handle the subject matter with care, allow Lexi to rediscover her sexuality, see to it that Lexi understands it’s ok to trust people again, and give Lexi a hero (Cruz) who is patient, confident, protective, and supportive.
Overcome is the second standalone, contemporary romance novel in the Cunningham Security series and I’m very proud to say I’ve met my goals in completing it. Lexi is a truly remarkable heroine. She’s suffered something tragic and horrific, but she shows incredible strength and determination to heal herself. Cruz is, in my humble opinion, the perfect man for her. He’s extremely understanding and gentle and he makes Lexi’s well-being his number one priority, putting her needs over his wants.
Lexi and Cruz’s story is an uplifting tale about overcoming tragedy and learning to trust and love again. It is meant to be an inspiration to women, whether they’ve experienced any form of sexual harassment, assault, or rape, or not. And it is a tribute to the men who are not held captive to some primal urge and who truly believe that a woman is so much more than just a pretty face or a hot body, present only for a man’s pleasure.
Huge thanks to Sophie at Beware Of The Reader blog for giving me the opportunity to share my inspiration for Overcome and the story behind the story.
If you haven't picked up your copy of Overcome, you can do that here.