By Dawn Ius
Maegan Beaumont knows where her dark places are—and she doesn’t mind getting dirty.
Because at the bottom of that black pit is a creative force that drives her writing and inspires the creation of Sabrina Vaughn, the damaged protagonist in Beaumont’s award-winning thriller CARVED IN DARKNESS, and the sequel out this month, SACRIFICIAL MUSE.
Vaughn’s job is to hunt down murderers—a job she does very well despite her dark and tortured past. At seventeen, she was abducted by a psychotic killer, raped and tortured for nearly three months, and then left for dead in a deserted churchyard. She survived.
“There is, in all of us, a will to survive,” says Beaumont, who before becoming a full time writer and mom worked in the mental health field for nearly a decade. “I worked with countless cases of horrific abuse and if there’s one thing I have learned, it’s that the human spirit is resilient.”
Resilience is one of Vaughn’s key character traits. Even before she was abducted, she was always the girl who spent life on the outside looking in, struggling with the hand she’d been dealt and yet determined to persevere.
Beaumont knows a little something about perseverance. As a debut novel, CARVED IN DARKNESS has racked up an impressive number of awards and commendations, including the 2013 Gold Medal for suspense/thriller by an Independent Publisher. CARVED was also a Foreword Book of the Year finalist in the horror category. Despite this, Beaumont admits her publishing journey veers a bit on the crazy side.
As a closet writer for many years, she’d picked away at Sabrina Vaughn’s story, but it wasn’t until Beaumont turned thirty-five that she finally typed the end on the first draft—a whopping 750 pages later.
“It represented so much time and energy, I couldn’t justify putting it in a drawer and walking away,” she says. “Not when I’d just turned thirty-five and might never get a chance to know if I was good enough.”
As it turned out, she wasn’t. By Beaumont’s own admission, the book sucked and so she enrolled in an online writing course and convinced the instructor, Les Edgerton, to let “my lame, no prior-writing-experienced ass into his novel-writing course.”
“He changed my life,” she says, admitting his weekly critiques of her work made her physically ill. “But it was exactly what I needed. It took me a year to rewrite CARVED and when I finished, Les recommended me to his agent, Chip MacGregor, and he took me on. Within four months of signing on with him, he’d sold CARVED to Midnight Ink.”
SACRIFICIAL MUSE carries on from where CARVED ends—with Vaughn learning the identity of the serial killer behind her extended period of rape and torture. She’s trying to move on from the humility and anxiety of her past, but when nine red roses repeatedly show up on her desk, followed by an ominous red envelope, Vaughn realizes that a new killer is targeting her. She is his chosen muse and the Fates require sacrifice.
“When I wrote CARVED, it was meant to be a stand-alone novel, but the characters saw things differently,” says Beaumont.
The third book in the series is almost wrapped up, and Beaumont plans on spending the summer writing a prequel to CARVED, which will delve into Vaughn’s back story and the weeks leading up to her abduction, after which she’ll start on book four in Vaughn’s story.
“This is an important book because it’s going to finally bring Sabrina a real sense of closure about what happened to her as a young woman and help her heal in a way that she’s been unable to do so far,” Beaumont says, noting that whether she’s writing or reading, she has “always gravitated toward books that depict the epic struggle between good and evil.”
And as with the stories she consumed in her youth, good will prevail for Sabrina Vaughn.
Between writing, promoting and spending time with her family, Beaumont has a lot on the go, and keeping a semi-regular schedule is paramount to her productivity. In the organized chaos that is her creative process, Beaumont strives to write 1000-1200 words a day against a basic outline that serves as only a guide for her vivid imagination.
“We all harbor a darkness. In some, it’s nothing more than a few shadowy corners. For others, it’s a deep black pit,” she says. “When all my little friends wanted to be ballerinas and princesses, I wanted to be a criminologist—and I wanted to be Olivia Newton John.”
While she doubts she’ll ever star in a Grease re-write, Beaumont admits that being a writer means she gets to explore how people tick, and allows her to make stuff up, even when it means immersing herself in that deep, black pit for a few hours a day.
“When I climb out, I brush it off and go bake my kids cookies. How or why that works is a mystery, even to me.”
Maegan Beaumont is the author of SACRIFICIAL MUSE, the second book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series. A native Phoenician, Maegan’s stories are meant to make you wonder what the guy standing in front of you in the Starbucks line has locked in his basement, and feel a strong desire to sleep with the light on. When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband, Joe, and their four children, she is locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, and one true love, Jade.
For more about Maegan Beaumont and her books—not to mention a couple of creepy book trailers—you can visit her website. You can also friend her on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.