By George Ebey
A REASON TO LIVE by R. Barri Flowers is the first book in his emotional four book contemporary romance series, Reasons for Loving.
In this first installment, Nora Sheridan, a loving wife and mother and talented artist in the countryside of Akers Ridge, Oregon, sees her world shattered by a senseless crime, one that takes the lives of those dearest to her. Years later, she reunites with her first love, Robert Logan, at a 20-year high school reunion in Portland. A successful art dealer, Robert is dealing with a failed marriage and has custody of a precocious teenage daughter. Slowly, but surely, Nora and Robert try to reclaim their long ago romance, get past their difficulties, and find a reason to live again.
The Big Thrill recently checked in with Flowers to learn more about this emotionally-charged story.
What first drew you to writing crime fiction?
With a B.A. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University, I began my writing career as a criminologist, writing criminology textbooks. This evolved into writing historical true crime books. The natural next step was to use my knowledge on real crime and criminals to turn to crime fiction.
Combining insight into criminality with verisimilitude in my storylines and three-dimensional characters has made my crime, mystery, and thriller fiction stand out from the crowd. Of course, my latest novel, A REASON TO LIVE, is a favorite, as I take a look into the dangerous, deadly, and addictive world of methamphetamine use and its devastating consequences.
Tell us about your character, Nora Sheridan. What has her journey been like up to this point?
Nora Sheridan is a loving wife and mother of two young daughters. She is also a gifted artist, specializing in cityscapes, landscapes, seascapes. With her husband Dan, Nora runs a sprawling horse ranch in Akers Ridge, Oregon, where they rehabilitate abused horses, board horses, and give riding lessons.
Indeed, Nora enjoys a full life and seems to have nothing but good things to look forward to, when disaster strikes. Her family comes face to face with a desperate meth addict—with deadly results. Needless to say, it leaves Nora shattered and needing time to try and rebuild her life. Renewing contact with her high school boyfriend gives them both a second chance at life and love. This is the essence of the tale and should be an enjoyable read for lovers of crime fiction and relationship novels.
How does this book make a contribution to the genre?
It brings the dangers of meth addiction and violent crime into greater focus in relation to the harm it can do to the drug user and the enormous costs that can be inflicted upon the innocent—all in a heartwarming tale of second chances.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
In researching the depths of drug addiction, and meth use in particular, I learned just what a terrible toll it can take for the addict, one’s family and friends—and anyone caught in the crossfire when desperation sets in. As a city dweller, I also gained more insight into the challenges of running a successful horse ranch and caring for abused horses as a key part of the story.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
The novel does a great job in moving between country and city living, with everything from riding horseback to bicycles—all in the context of life changes as a result of tragedy.
What elements do you feel are essential for a good suspense story?
The elements of a good suspense novel that are essential include atmosphere, buildup, believability, and resolution.
Atmosphere is especially important, as it sets the stage for the storyline. It should be something that is visual, moody, relevant, and something the reader can relate to in the scheme of things.
Buildup is essential in moving the plot along accordingly with narration, dialogue, and scenes that take the reader along for the ride in anticipation of an acceptable result—or the end justifying the means.
Believability is key in any great suspense novel. Not enough to tell a suspense driven story, if at the end of the day, it isn’t believable. As such, keep it real and compelling, which will carry the suspense in the right direction toward the end of novel.
Resolution finishes off the novel in a way that brings together all the pieces of the puzzle and leaves the reader with a feeling of satisfaction.
I believe that in A REASON TO LIVE, readers will get these elements of suspense and more.
Relationship fiction favorites include Forever Sweethearts and Billy the Kid’s Wife. Mysteries and thrillers include the Leila Kahana Maui Mysteries, Murder in Hawaii Mysteries, and Riley Reed Cozy Mysteries Bundles, Before He Kills Again, Dark Streets of Whitechapel. Dead in Pukalani, Justice Served, Killer in the Woods, Murdered in the Man Cave; and Murdered in the Gourmet Kitchen.
Teen fiction includes Count Dracula’s Teenage Daughter, Daughter of Count Dracula, Ghost Girl in Shadow Bay, Out for Blood, Summer at Paradise Ranch, Teen Ghost at Dead Lake, and the Transylvanica High Series, Teen Haunted House Mysteries, and Teen Time Travel Novels Bundles.
Children’s titles include ABC’s of Earth’s Creatures, A Kangaroo’s Pouch, Greeley the Mean Goat, Christmas and the Lost Elf, Christmas and the Lost Elf 2, Abby Appleton’s Apple Farm, Toby the Talking Tree, The Runaway Rabbit Named Robbie, The Mystery of Christmas Tree Village, Willa’s Halloween Adventure, and titles from the popular A to Z Things learning series.
The author’s bestselling books can be found in audio, eBook, and print everywhere.
Follow R. Barri Flowers on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest Goodreads, Google+, LinkedIn, LibraryThing, and www.rbarriflowers.com.