Yesterday I received some copies of the cover flats for Amber Morn. Always a nice sign. Next step--a real book.
Amber Morn releases March 7 and should start showing up in stores a week or two later. This is the fourth and final in my Kanner Lake series.
It wasn't an easy book to write. Amber Morn features an ensemble cast, and it's the first time I've written a story like that. I suppose if there's one main character among them all, it's Bailey Truitt, since the trauma takes place in her coffee shop, Java Joint. But the POVs of all the hostages are included, as well as POVs from outside law enforcement, negotiators, etc.
I had plenty of research to do for this book. Once again Tony Lamanna, who has served as police chief of a small northern Idaho town the same size as my Kanner Lake, came to the rescue. Besides being able to guide me on how a small town would handle a major hostage crisis, Tony also is a nationally certified hostage negotiator. It was fascinating to learn from him the nuances of personalities and events that can occur during hostage negotiation.
One of the biggest things I learned is how fluid such a situation is. Major things planned to save the day can suddenly become moot because an angst-filled hostage-taker has just changed his mind on something, or upped the ante in some way. The hostages go through stages of emotions themselves, as we'd expect, but so do the hostage-takers. Those folks have a lot of adrenaline pumping right after their hit. It takes some time for them to calm down. Then the play of personalities upon one another can begin.
Imagine old codger Wilbur taken hostage. How would he react? Or S-Man, my science fiction writer ... Young reporter Leslie ... Retired teacher Angie, who's usually all fun and laughter ...
And on the other side of the story--what happens at the command post for negotiating? Who's allowed in? How does it all work? How does a negotiator talk to a volatile perp loaded with big guns and ammunition?
Yup, quite the learning curve for this pea-brain novelist.
And I did it all with a broken ankle. Which meant--no kicking cabinets.