For many months Stacy Green and I have been planning this guest post. Her romantic suspense novel has an amazing cover and has been out since November 2012. Already positive reviews have flowed in. Not to mention the positive vibes created by the Into the Dark Charity Tour. Let's hear it for Stacy!
Thank you so much to Wren for having me today. I’m excited to talk about my debut novel, INTO THE DARK.
The book is set in Las Vegas, a city most of us associate with glitz, glamour, and high rollers. As a relatively sheltered girl from the Midwest, that was my image of Sin City when I first started researching.
My original idea was simple and a little shallow: I wanted to write about a SWAT officer, because they’re pretty sexy and the entire operation fascinates me. I set the story in Vegas because the city has one of the few full-time SWAT teams in the country. So there I was, with my heroine, Emilie–who was pretty vanilla at that point–stuck in a bank with two masked men. One of them has no interest in stealing from the bank. He’s after Emilie.
So I needed an escape route. I immediately thought of the founding fathers of Las Vegas–the mob. Surely there had to be stories of underground tunnels or escape routes somewhere. So I Googled “Las Vegas tunnels.”
That’s when I found out about the people who live in the storm drains beneath the city. The drains stretch over 200 miles, and it’s estimated between 100-200 people live in the system at any given time. Some make a living working the casino junket, cashing in credits they find. Some work small jobs that don’t pay enough to survive. Many are addicts brought down by their drug habit.
The homeless living in the drains were first brought to light by reporter Matthew O’Brien’s book, Beneath The Neon: Life and Death in the Las Vegas Tunnels. I immediately ordered the book and read about Las Vegas in a brand new light.
Suddenly INTO THE DARK was about much more than a SWAT officer with a hero complex and a tormented heroine. I not only had the perfect escape route, but I had an opportunity to talk about something real.
So I started writing, and over the months, created Nathan and Emilie. Nathan’s looks took a backseat and instead his true characteristics–loyalty, bravery, and festering guilt over his past–drove his character. Emilie went from being a stubborn woman to a strong female lead with ambitions and intelligence. Both characters venture into the drains, Nathan more than once. Both experience a life-changing reality down below.
INTO THE DARK isn’t about the storm drains or the people who call them home. It’s about learning from the past and accepting the events that made us who we are today. But the darkness and desperation of the tunnels add a depth to the book–a contrast to the bright lights and tourists–that makes the plight of the main characters real. Without the discovery of the tunnels, INTO THE DARK would be a different story.
Because of the inspiration from the homeless, the Charity Blog Tour for INTO THE DARK is about giving back. Readers can enter my Rafflecopter Contest for the chance to win the grand prize: a $100 donation from me to the homeless charity of their choice. The contest also allows participants to donate to HELP of Southern Nevada, the organization that assists those living in the drains and others in need in Las Vegas.
Into The Dark was a personal journey for me, and one that I’m very proud of. I hope you love it as well.
An Excerpt From INTO THE DARK
Emilie’s resolve faltered as they reached the tunnel entrance. She peered over Nathan’s shoulder at the triad of pipes branching off in different directions. Big enough for a tall man to walk through easily, their murky blackness was as foreboding as anything Emilie had ever experienced.
She pressed the button on her flashlight and shined it into the abyss. Four other lights joined hers, and the inner concrete walls of the tunnel became visible. Graffiti was scrawled over them. A bevy of cockroaches scuttled away from the intrusion.
Emilie followed Nathan and Chris across the threshold and tried not to give in to the claustrophobia that immediately wrapped itself around her. The tunnel was wide enough for two people to walk side-by-side with room to spare, but the sense of being closed in was amplified by the heavy silence. The group’s splashing feet echoed and then faded away into the never-ending darkness. How deep were the channels?
A smell resembling the rotten egg she’d once dropped on Evan’s porcelain kitchen floor hit her full force. Emilie’s hand flew to her mouth.
“Something else, ain’t it?” Chris’s voice broke the uneasy stillness. “I liken it to a men’s locker room filled with dirty socks and jocks after a five-mile run.”
“If you guys stink this bad, you need medical help. Christ.”
“At least my stomach’s not rumbling anymore,” Nathan said.
“Shit, I could eat,” Chris said.
“You can always eat. You’re like a human trash compactor.”
“Do you guys have any idea where to find Snake?” Avery’s voice came out muffled.
Chris turned around and shined his light on Avery. “Dude, that hanky over your face ain’t gonna stop the stink. Embrace it. Feel the burn.”
Emilie laughed as the knot in her stomach began to uncoil. The banter made it easier to forget why she was here.
Her right foot suddenly came down on something hard in the shallow stream of water. She stumbled into Nathan’s back before an arm caught her from behind.
“Watch it,” Avery said. “Last thing you want to do is fall face-first in this.”
“Sorry.” Emilie clutched the hem of Nathan’s thin T-shirt. “I tripped over something.”
She shined her light into the two-inch-deep water. A pair of soulless black eyes stared back at her. A child’s doll lay abandoned, its once-blond hair soaked with the filthy water.
Children lived down here?
All other digital formats at MuseItUp Publishing
The homeless living in the storm drains of Las Vegas played a vital part in INTO THE DARK, and I want to give back. From November 1st until February 28th, participants will have several options to enter the raffle, including donating to HELP of Southern Nevada. The grand prize will be a $100 donation from me in the winner’s name to the homeless shelter of their choice.
Stacy Green is fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind and explores true crime on her popular Thriller Thursday posts at her blog, Turning the Page.
After earning her degree in journalism, Stacy worked in advertising before becoming a stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. She rediscovered her love of writing and wrote several articles for Women’s Edition Magazine of Cedar Rapids, profiling local businesses, before penning her first novel. Her debut novel, INTO THE DARK, is set in Las Vegas and features a heroine on the edge of disaster, a tormented villain, and the city’s infamous storm drains that house hundreds of homeless. INTO THE DARK is available on all digital formats and paperback November 30th.
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