Book Title: The Beached Ones
by Colleen M. Story
Category: Adult Fiction (18+), 354 pages
Genre: Paranormal, Literary, Ghost, Fantasy
Publisher: CamCat Books
Release date: June 14, 2022
Content Rating: PG-13 + M:
The book does explore suicide, and there is one scene indicating potential sexual abuse (that is stopped before it starts). There is the occasional swearword, but they are not frequent.
HE CAME BACK, DETERMINED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.
Daniel and his younger brother grew up in an abusive home. Daniel escaped. Now an established stunt rider, he intends to go back to rescue his brother. But then one jump goes horribly wrong . . .
He recovers to find himself in Iowa, unscathed, yet his life has drastically changed. His best friend won’t answer his calls. Even his
girlfriend is hiding something. Increasingly terrified, he clings to the one thing he knows: He must pick up his brother in San Francisco. In five days.
From the isolating fields of Iowa to the crowded streets of San Francisco, Daniel must fight his way through a fog of disjointed
memories and supernatural encounters to face the truth and pay a debt he didn’t know he owed.
What was the inspiration behind the book?
The idea for this book came to me after watching the movie, “Sarah’s Key,” which was based on the book of the same title by Tatiana de Rosnay.
The movie had a profound effect on me. Without giving too much away, the main character is haunted by the death of her little brother, for which she blames herself. At the end of the movie (spoiler alert), unable to shake her guilt, she commits suicide. Close curtain.
That movie haunted me for months. It seemed so unfair, what happened to the main character. And I kept feeling like her story was left unfinished. What happened after the suicide? The Beached Ones gave me a chance to explore that general question, although of course, within an entirely different story.
What’s the most interesting or unusual thing you learned while researching for this book?
I was lucky enough to be able to travel to research this book—I took the same journey the characters take from Harlan, Iowa, to San Francisco, California. I had researched and written the book beforehand, but taking the trip myself helped me improve the story in countless ways.
First, actually seeing, smelling, and hearing the locations encouraged more realistic and sensory setting descriptions. Taking the journey by car also helped me to feel in my bones the effects of the long road trip, and sharpened my sense of the time it would take.
Finally, I met some amazing people that influenced the story. One, in particular, had a big impact.
On the last day of my trip as the sun was about to set, I went to see one of the key locations in the story once more. I stopped to get some pictures and just happened to run into a security officer. He was patrolling, as was usual in this location, and wanted to let me know that the “gates” would soon close. I took advantage of the meeting to ask him some questions.
I soon realized that the muse had just introduced me to a very special person. I ended up talking to him for a good twenty minutes or more, and during that short spell, got nothing short of gold for my story. Pure gold.
This man had experienced exactly what happens in my climactic scene. He told me details I never could have imagined—details that were critical to the story.
It was surreal, as I hadn’t planned the meeting. But it was as if the universe had given it to me so I could write the best ending possible for the story.
I was so wrapped up in the moment that I neglected to get the gentlemen’s name. I feel horrible as I would have liked to have thanked him in the acknowledgments. I’ve related this story at the end of the book, instead, in the hopes The Beached Ones finds its way to him one day.
What do you hope the reader takes away from your book?
First of all, I hope readers enjoy The Beached Ones for pure entertainment. It has a bit of mystery and a bit of thriller in it, with intense pacing that accelerates as it goes.
But it would also be cool if readers came away from The Beached Ones with compassion for those who are at the end of their ropes, and more so, with the understanding of the theme—that we help ourselves by helping others.
I’ll never forget an experience I had a short time after my father died. I was feeling pretty down, understandably, and absorbed in my pain. I had to conduct a business meeting that day with a professional in the printing industry whom I had known for years. He was as congenial as always during our meeting and revealed only afterward that he had also lost someone special only a few days before.
My eyes were opened. I realized that at any one time, the people around us may be struggling just as much or more than we are. Being able to offer a shoulder that day helped lift my spirits. In my life it has never failed—when I can leave a smile on someone else’s face, improve someone’s day, or even just offer a listening ear, my load gets a little bit lighter.
Do you write every day?
I try to write every day, but often I don’t succeed. Work and other responsibilities can take up my time. But every day I recommit to writing. If I don’t, too many days go by without it, and then I have a hard time remembering what was going on in my story. It’s much easier if I write almost every day as then it stays fresh in my mind.
What is the last great book you’ve read?
I recently finished reading Peace Like a River by Leif Enger. I loved his unique descriptions and original ways of putting things. Plus the story was unlike any other I’ve read, and full of heart.
Colleen M. Story is a novelist, freelance writer, writing coach, and speaker who loves animals, music, and the great Pacific Northwest.
Her novel, Loreena’s Gift, was a Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, among others. Her next novel, The Beached Ones is forthcoming from CamCat Books on June 14, 2022.
Colleen has written three books to help writers succeed. “Your Writing Matters” helps writers overcome self-doubt and determine once and for all where writing fits in their lives.
Her previous release, Writer Get Noticed!, was a gold-medal winner in the Reader’s Favorite Book Awards and a first-place winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards. Overwhelmed Writer Rescue was named Book by Book Publicity’s Best Writing/Publishing Book in 2018 and was an Amazon best seller.
With over 20 years as a professional in the creative industry, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like “Healthline” and “Women’s Health;” worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She continues to work as a full-time freelance writer, helping clients create informative and inspiring communications in a variety of media formats.
Colleen frequently serves as a workshop leader, writing coach, and motivational speaker, where she helps attendees remove mental and
emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.
Go to Colleen’s website for free chapters of her books.
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