I am thrilled to have Cheryl UpChurch, author of The Girl and The Gangster with me today, as part of her book tour! She shares with us, what inspired her to create the character – Sara, the protagonist of the story. But before we go on, a little about the book first-
TITLE: The Girl and the Gangster
RELEASE DATE: February 20, 2016
AUTHOR: Cheryl Unchurch
PAGE COUNT: 609
IMPRINT: Black Hawk
SYNOPSIS: Sara and her twin brother, Jack, run a fledgling investigative service in St. Louis, Mo. They are hired by a rich man who inadvertently leads them to the Cunnelli crime family and the boss, Anthony, who is smitten by Sara’s inclination to flirt with danger which includes being shot at, slashed, whacked with a baseball bat and almost jailed for moving a dead body. Sara must wrestle with her conscience when faced with danger while Anthony Cunnelli, a self-professed criminal, comes repeatedly to her aid, unheeded but heartily welcomed. Her sometimes boyfriend Agent Dan Brady, chafes at Sara’s relationship with Cunnelli and worries that her morals are being compromised by a slick talking grifter. Sara leans first to the gangster that saves her, comforts her and desperately tries to change his life to keep her.
Author Guest Post
How did I come up with this crazy idea of an investigative, inquisitive and determined young lady like Sara Kelly? She is like me, positive in a negative world, tolerant towards divergent ways of life, (In The Girl and The Gangster Sara’s Uncle Ernie is gay) and ambivalent about the effectiveness of justice in America. As a twenty-three-year-old woman I thought she should have dual love interests that hate each other but work together to save my heroine from her own folly. I read voraciously and pick up snippets of this and that and weave it into a broader narrative. I find if I have an idea and leave in alone, let it percolate in my mind; allow it to show its unique colors I can form it into a cohesive story. I wanted a rich arrogant man and his wife
I read voraciously and pick up snippets of this and that and weave it into a broader narrative. I find if I have an idea and leave in alone, let it percolate in my mind; allow it to show its unique colors I can form it into a cohesive story. I wanted a rich arrogant man and his wife deny they drove home one night in a terrible storm and plowed into a young man running across the street. I wanted the couple to deny it after they were being blackmailed, after they were threatened by the mob, after the wife wrestled Sara on the floor of a Denny Restaurant until Sara Kelly got the truth out of them. I’m not saying they were guilty, but Sara got the truth and carpet burns in the process.
The reader has to identify with the main character or they will get bored and close the book. Sara Kelly, my protagonist, is flawed, makes lousy decisions sometimes, trusts people too quickly, throws pity parties on a regular basis and tries heartily not to love the wrong man. The reader is fallible and so is the person trying to solve the crime. Not every crime fighter has to take her clothes off during a chase but my girl does when she lands in a pile of spoiled mayonnaise. I try to put humor in all of my story lines to give the reader a break, to make him smile or even laugh at the lunacy of the situation. Not every crime fighter has to ride in glass strewn bed of a pickup truck while the driver hopped up on Vodka cackles like a witch and throws her the bird through the back window. Sometimes I toss and turn in bed thinking how I can develop a story that pulls in the reader so thoroughly that he or she is angry when the last page is turned. Does my girl Sara walk into a park chasing a suspect in an insurance scam? No, she steals a horse from a cop that undresses her with his eyes while making lewd remarks and then has the gall to ask her to watch his horse while he takes a leak. What is a girl to do? Of course, I do not advocate stealing horses so Sara suffers legally when her galloping steed hoofs it over the suspect, leaving him lying in the grass.
I think I might have a devious mind to think of all these weird ways to catch a criminal.
Cheryl Upchurch currently lives in Missouri and is a widow with two grown children, Mindi Rowland and John D. Unchurch.
She has a BS in Secondary Education, History and English as dual majors and earned her MA in Counseling. She has worked as a middle school guidance counselor for seventeen years in the Parkway School District in St. Louis County and has been writing all her life. Her first book The Metamorphosis of a Middle School Dweeb was published in 2010 based on the suicide of a child due to bullying.
You can reach out to Cheryl at email@example.com
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