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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Giveaway/Guest Post/Excerpt: Sierra by Taylor Dean

Taylor Dean

Alyssa Fontaine's life, loved ones--everything familiar and dear--are brutally taken from her. Taken captive by two men, she endures a horrific nightmare. A new life is forced upon her and even a new name. Just when it appears that no hope is in sight, she is saved by an unlikely twist of fate. Trapped in the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, life will open its arms to her again and she will embrace it. She will find love such as she never knew existed.

Sierra is a heart-wrenching story of the power of the human spirit to survive amidst impossible circumstances and severe losses. It is a story of survival . . . and hope.

Guest Post

Thanks for letting me visit your blog today, Liz!

Liz has asked me an intriguing question: What kind of process (research, emotional, etc) must it take to write a book like this with such traumatic events?

This question really gave me pause. It made me wonder for just a moment why I wasn’t more disturbed at the events of my novel. It is rather nightmarish and I could never live through what Alyssa lives through.

As a matter of fact, ever since I wrote this book, I have a hard time stopping at rest stops while on road trips. You can catch me whispering to my husband, “Watch out for Adam and Pa.” And I’m not joking.

However, anything that makes women, to include myself, become more alert to their surroundings is a good thing. A lesson well learned while writing this book.

Nevertheless, the scary thing is that, in actuality, this book was inspired by true events. I received my inspiration for Sierra from the true story of the abduction of Olympic medalist, Kari Swenson. Her story was made into a TV movie in 1987, entitled Abduction. Her ordeal was horrific and the mere thought of it made me shiver for days. But it also sparked a "what if" story in me. What if the kidnapping had been successful? What if she was taken deep into the woods? What if she was rescued there? What if she had to stay with her rescuer through the winter? What if they fell in love?

The concept that happiness awaits us after we endure trials in our lives intrigues me. While writing this book, I always kept the big picture in mind. I always knew ‘great happiness’ awaited Alyssa. This made the events of the novel a little easier to stomach. I never dwelt on the bad, but focused on the good.


“Things will get better with time. I know it doesn’t seem that way now, but it will,” he whispered.

“You saved my life. I’ll never forget that.”

“There was no way I would’ve let them take you.”

“Do you really think Adam will come back?”

“I don’t know. There’s always that chance. I’ll be ready for him if he does. I won’t let him hurt you.”

“He’s crazy, completely unstable.”

“I could see that.”

She studied his face for a moment, knowing he was her only connection to sanity right now. Without him, she’d be lost. “I feel like my life is over and I’m wondering why I’m still here.”

“You can’t change the past. A chapter in your life is over, whether you want it to be or not and now a new one is beginning. You close the book and put it on a shelf. When you want to remember, you take it down and let the memories come. They’ll always be there, waiting for you. Everything that happens to us in life
becomes a part of us and makes us who we are.”

Alyssa contemplated his words. He was right, she just wasn’t ready to accept it yet. She, again, wondered what he was doing living up here alone. He was so . . . normal. Isn’t living alone in the middle of nowhere something only crazy people do? “Why do you live up here alone?” she asked. They both continued to speak in a whisper, making the moment feel intimate.

“I love it up here. I like being alone.”

The statement was obviously his pat answer and not the real reason at all. Clearly, he didn’t want to talk about it. “Whatever the reason, I’m glad you’re here. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you. I wanted to die. I had the opportunity. I didn’t take it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Pa . . . he placed his gun in my hands, pointed at me, with his hands over mine. I was free to pull the trigger if I wanted to. I think he wanted me to do it. He said his life would be easier without me, that it was Adam who wanted me.” Alyssa paused to compose herself. Thinking of that horrible moment brought it all back again. “I almost did it. I can’t tell you how much I wanted to do it. I didn’t want to face a life with Adam.”

Alex visibly paled. “It took a lot of courage to not do it.”

“I guess deep down I really wanted to live.”

“Human nature,” he replied. After a few moments of silence, he said, “I lost some people I cared about, that’s why I live up here. It’s my way of dealing with life, it’s my way of dealing with the fact that I’m still living, that I want to live.”

She didn’t ask for more details. Instead, she looked in his eyes and knew he knew how she felt. Whoever he had lost, he’d experienced similar emotions. They were kindred souls.

“C’mon, let’s get you back in bed. I think you’ve had enough for one day.” He helped her up and tucked her back into bed. “You’re doing great, Alyssa. Don’t expect to feel normal for awhile. It’s part of grieving. Give yourself a break.”

Alyssa nodded and quickly fell sound asleep.

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