Welcome, readers, to Leroy, Indiana – the quintessential small Midwest town with a twist. Step inside and see just how dangerous small-town living can be. Shadows from the Grave is the third installment in the Leroy’s Sins Series, stand-alone Romantic Suspense novels that center around the fictional Ohio-River town of Leroy, Indiana. All the books are available in both e-book and printed format. Here’s a little hint of what’s inside:
When it comes to murder, the past is never really dead…
For ten years, Chase Hudson has carried the weight of his college girlfriend’s unsolved murder on his shoulders. When a ghost from the past comes calling, Chase’s friends and family become the targets of a serial killer who’ll stop at nothing to make Chase suffer. Can Chase convince the authorities of his innocence in time to catch the real killer?
Annie Jameson-Tucker has been burned more than once. Afraid to get her heart broken again, she is careful to keep her lovers at a distance… until Chase Hudson manages to slip inside her walls. Will she let him stay, or will her insecurities destroy their chance at happiness?
This book came about as rather a surprise to me, the author. There are times when characters will stand up and demand attention as I’m writing, and the conception of this book was much like that. I had planned an entirely different book as the third for this series, but by the end of the second book, Under the Moon’s Shadow, it was very apparent Chase’s story had to be told first.
In each book, there is usually a character who stands out, who is my favorite. As much as I like Chase and Annie, I have to say that I think a secondary character is my favorite from this book. His name is Murphy, and he’s Chase’s cat. He’s a very needy little guy, and has serious separation anxiety issues. Murphy came about a couple of ways – Chase needed someone, and I didn’t want that someone to be a romantic interest off the top of the book. I wanted to add someone who could contribute an endearing, quirky attitude to the story without being overtly ‘cute’. As my books aren’t sweet, happy romances, and as I’m not a naturally funny comedian, quirky seemed to fit better. Murphy is definitely that. He gets into trouble that most two-year-old children can’t accomplish, and he drives Chase crazy in the process.
The character of Murphy himself is based on a real-life Murphy, who is an eight-pound fawn ‘kitten’ owned by our former veterinarian. He’s a very alpha cat, despite his size, and is definitely in charge of the household. When Dr. G shared some of her Murphy’s exploits with us, I knew that I had to include him in a book. He’s not the kind of cat one would want for a first-time cat owner, and that’s exactly why I ‘gave’ him to Chase. The real Murphy steals food from countertops and plays “Chase me!”, steals keys, glasses, licks mold off of plants to get high, and generally keeps his mom on her toes. How could I resist that sort of personality?
Even though ‘my’ Murphy doesn’t catch any bad guys or solve any mysteries, he’s still an integral part of the story. He humanizes Chase, provides comedic relief during heavier scenes, and hopefully his antics will ring true with cat owners, helping them connect to the story. One thing I’ve tried to make sure I do with my books, my hallmark, if you will, is that ninety-nine percent of readers who pick them up and read them can relate to someone or something in the books. For me as a reader, that is a quality that I look for. If I can’t connect to the story, I can’t become invested in it, and my enjoyment of the reading diminishes. I want to provide that connection to my readers, and I think characters like Murphy help me do it.
T. L. Haddix is the author of the Leroy’s Sins Series, stand-alone Romantic Suspense novels which are available in both print and e-book form at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other fine online retailers. She lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband and three cat-children, and is hard at work on the next installment of the Leroy’s Sins series. You can contact her at www.tlhaddix.com, through www.facebook.com/tlhaddix or at www.twitter.com/tlhaddix.