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Today I welcome back my ol’ pal R. Renee Vickers — yes, musey-poo herself — to talk about her upcoming WOCA release, CHASING ASHES. And how much do I love that title? I wish I’d thought of it first, but I’ve got to say, it fits the serious subject matter perfectly. I hope you guys will join me in learning more about Renee’s story and the cause she’s supporting by penning this emotional tale.

Welcome back, Renee! You’re working on a special project right now—WOCA, or Writing Out Child Abuse—and while I know it’s not yet available, I’d love for you to tell our readers about the charity.

Thanks for having me back to your pad, Sarah! It’s always a fun time hanging with you. And thank you so much to taking time out of your schedule to shine light on this worthy endeavor. WOCA is a project near and dear to my heart and I’m hoping that our passion for helping victims and survivors of child support is infectious!

Absolutely! What drove you to write a book for this cause? When can readers expect charity titles to become available?

J.S. Wayne is a great project pitcher. He uses his amazing super-Swedish-Chef spatula flinging ability to shock and awe… no really, all he had to do was tell me what he had in mind and I was on board. I made it through my childhood with minimal scars (thank goodness) but as a parent I often think of the what-ifs when it comes to children’s safety.  So participating in a project that could help raise awareness and aid victims and survivors was a no brainer.

I absolutely agree with you there. J.S. had me convinced to join up from moment one (only I write slow and am still working on it, lol) and as a parent it is *so* hard not to wonder and what-if. That’s one reason I think this story will resonate with readers of all backgrounds. We all want to keep our babies (and grandbabies) safe!  You’re here to tell us about CHASING ASHES. Can you introduce us to the story?

I’m not going to lie, this was a difficult story to write. The project called for us to write about child abuse, and to write about characters who have been abused or are going through the abuse means that as the author must get into the head of that character as they’re experiencing their story. I assure you, I’m no sissy. I can read and write horror and often find it enjoyable. But, when it comes to kids getting hurt… it wrecks me, to be completely honest. So it took me a while to conjure the gumption to work this one out.  Much to my relief, Chasing Ashes, came to me as a story of a survivor doing everything in her power to save as many people as possible from the fate she suffered through, even if that means she must do something unthinkable.

I’ve had the same struggles while plotting my WOCA story. Like you, I get so involved and my characters are so real, the *pain* is real. I hope what readers might find difficult to read will result in stories which resonate deeply with them, as I’m sure yours will. ;c) What might readers be surprised to learn about the plot or characters of CHASING ASHES?

There are three main characters in this story but they all share one similarity, they were all victims. It was important to me to show the simple fact of reality, which is that victims have a choice once they’re away from the abuse. They can either chose to survive and move on with their lives or they can chose to perpetuate the abuse and be stuck in the endless cycle.

Hopefully WOCA will have a hand in helping those who were affected to move on–it’s hard to imagine a more admirable cause! Let’s have some fun with CHASING ASHES. What’s the first sentence?

The sound of the engine rumbling up the drive way tore her from her sleep.

Oooh, I love the use of the word “tore” — it adds such urgency. What’s your favorite line in the book?

My favorite line is where the title came from. It’s Grace speaking about the act of seeking revenge. “I heard this saying once that seeking revenge is like chasing ashes as they fall from the sky.” This line just came to me before I sat down to write. When you seek revenge you chase what should be insignificant. Ash looks pretty when it falls from the sky, like snow, but when you catch it you’re left with nothing but a little soot in your hands. Though revenge seems like a good idea, once you have it what are you left with?

Yowza! That’s deep and absolutely profound. Let’s dig a little deeper. How about an excerpt … three sentences long! Yep, that’s it. Three!

Three??? Only three? Hm…okay, how’s this? Again, this is from Grace’s POV:

I caressed the deadbolt latch between my forefinger and thumb while I took one last look at him.

I want to remember this moment forever.

As I shut the door I could feel the corner of my mouth quirk up in a victorious sneer.

Aw, man, what a great tease! Nice little twist at the end, too. (Clearly she kicked some boo-tay!) Which scene of CHASING ASHES was most difficult for you to write? Why?

The antagonist is a real S.O.B. and in some ways I got a lot of sadistic pleasure in putting him through his paces. That’s not to say I didn’t find delving into his mind to be difficult, because it was. Giving him a believable reason for his actions was difficult and writing from his perspective on what he intended to do to Madeline, or him reminiscing on he did to his other victims just flat out gave me the creeps at times.

I can only imagine. (I need to read it so I’ll *know* LOL!) Which scene of CHASING ASHES would you most like to experience for yourself? From whose POV?

Oh, shoot…none of them? Option C? No, this isn’t a story where I’d like to fantasize being in at any point.

Yeah, I can’t say I blame you there. What are you currently working on? 

I’m in the revision and editing phase of my story Evening at the M.U.T. That was supposed to come out earlier this month, but it ran into a snag as stories sometimes do. I’m playing with a couple other stories right now, but there’s nothing on the near horizon to speak of.

I know that snag thing *way* too well. *hangs head* Okay, m’dear, let’s get your blurbs out there and give ’em something to mull over while we’re waiting for release day.

A Light in the Darkness | the anthology

In A Light in the Darkness, the inaugural anthology from the authors of WOCA, a dark world awaits you. Spanning centuries of time, encircling the globe, and running the gamut from eerie historical fiction to gritty urban fantasy to page-scorching erotic romance, these authors unflinchingly dissect the horror of child abuse in all its forms. These authors have taken great pains to ensure the innocent are assured justice and the guilty pay for their crimes in the unique fantasy worlds they have created. Sadly, in real life, this is not always the case.

CHASING ASHES | blurb

Special Investigator Grace de Pierre has a sixth sense when it comes to abduction cases, so when Madeline Sanders is reported missing from her home in Macon, GA, Grace is called in to help with the investigation. In the race against time, the detectives struggle to find the right clues to save Madeline. Grace knows all too well what could happen if they’re too late.

COMING IN JUNE 2012

R. RENEE VICKERS | bio

Born in Florida but raised in various towns in New England, R. Renée Vickers now lives in a small town just outside of Charleston, South Carolina, with her husband and children. And although work and family life leave her little free time, she spends every available moment indulging in her favorite passion, writing.

LINKAGE

This is such an amazing cause, and I can’t wait to buy my copy of the anthology! Thanks so much for stopping by to tell us about your story, Renee. Readerly-types, I thank you for joining us and hope you’ll consider asking this worthy cause to your TBR pile. Have a fantastic day, everyone!