October 15, 2014

Author Guest Post + Giveaway: The Missing Place by Sophie Littlefield

Hey everyone! Today I have the pleasure of featuring a great guest post by author Sophie Littlefield and I have a copy of her newest book, The Missing Place, to give away! Read on for details on the book, her guest post - and don't forget to enter to win!

The Missing Place
Author: Sophie Littlefield
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Release Date: October 14, 2014
Publisher: Gallery Books


Twenty-year-old Taylor Jarvis and Paul Carroll go missing in Weir, North Dakota, where they have been working on rigs owned by Oasis Energy. The boys stayed in Black Creek Lodge, a "man camp" providing room and board. The mothers of the two boys come to Weir to find out what happened to their sons and form an uneasy alliance. Shay Jarvis, a 41-year-old single grandmother, has more grit than resources; for wealthy suburban housewife Colleen Carroll, the opposite is true. Overtaxed by worry, exhaustion, and fear, they question each other's methods and motivations - but there is no one else to help, and they must learn to work together if they are to have any chance of breaking through the barriers put up by their sons? employer, the indifference of an overtaxed police department, and a town of strangers with their own secrets against a backdrop of a modern day gold rush.  

Early Praise for THE MISSING PLACE:

“Littlefield maximizes the emotional impact of her character-driven cautionary tale.” –Publishers Weekly

“Edgar Award nominee Littlefield deftly contrasts Shay’s and Colleen’s experiences and prejudices… A satisfying, icy thriller.” –Kirkus Reviews

“This story is really about two mothers who won’t give up, and one who can’t let go.” –Booklist

“Really good read. Readers will admire the tenacity of the lead characters…to find strength and answers together.” –Fitness Magazine

“The excellent writing will keep readers engrossed and unwilling to put the book down.” –RT Book Reviews

“A novel steeped in secrets and unspoken truths.” –Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

“Seizes you…from its first pages and never lets you go...A remarkable novel.” –Megan Abbott, bestselling author of The Fever and Dare Me

“A powerful portrait of grief, fear, and courage as two mothers fight for truth.” –CJ Lyons, bestselling author of Farewell to Dreams

"From Newspaper Article to Book" - about how Sophie took a small article from People magazine and went on to write a layered novel full of suspense, survival, friendship and family from it.  
In December of 2012, I met two friends for lunch. The three of us, all full-time novelists, often get together to brainstorm and encourage each other. On this particular day I was looking forward to discussing an idea that had been percolating in my mind ever since I picked up an issue of People at the health club and came across a very intriguing article, about the housing shortage and “man camp” accommodations for oil rig workers in North Dakota. I was wondering if there might be the seeds of a novel in the bleak setting described in the article, and I knew my friends would help me think it through.

I was the last to arrive at the restaurant, and as I sat down, my friend Rachael was digging in her purse. “I’ve got your next book right here!” she announced—and pulled out the very same issue of People—opened to the same article.

We had a good laugh over the coincidence, but it just underscored my conviction that this was a book I really needed to write. Rachael and Julie, the third writer at the table, helped me come up with some basic plans for the book based on the expectations of my editor and readers. (This is probably a good time to point out to all aspiring writers that a group of supportive peers can be a real asset. If you don’t have an intimate writing community, I highly recommend that you seek one out!)

With Julie and Rachael’s help I made a list of the story themes that I’m most comfortable with, and the most compelling aspects of the North Dakota oil boom setting. Then we looked for points of intersection. Here’s what we came up with: intrigue, vice, corruption, and family.

All of these made it into the book in one form or another, even though the story I ended up writing was very different from the one we brainstormed that day. That’s because when I actually flew to Williston North Dakota and did my research, exploring the place and talking to the residents, I realized that the assumptions I had made based on the article
were not entirely correct. (That is not, by the way, a criticism of the author of the article, but a testament to the power of imagination: for writers especially, there is a danger of “filling in the holes” and making assumptions based on our own curiosity and experience, rather than fact.)

That fateful lunch took place almost two years ago. Since then, we’ve probably brainstormed another dozen books between the three of us. Some of these have been written, some are in progress, and some have been shelved for various reasons. They were inspired by many different things: news items, overheard conversations, events in our own lives, and—as often as not—the writer’s greatest tool, the “What-if” generator, otherwise known as the idle daydream.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to write THE MISSING PLACE, which definitely made me stretch and grow as a writer. I’m looking forward to seeing what fate—and my brainstorming posse—come up with next. 

Check out the People magazine article that started it all: http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0%2c%2c20654668%2c00.html
Sophie Littlefield is the Edgar-nominated author of more than two dozen novels, who grew up in rural Missouri. The mother of two grown children, she now makes her home in northern California. Visit her website at sophielittlefield.com.  

Author Links:

Giveaway: The wonderful people at Gallery Books are letting me give away (1) finished copy of The Missing Place to a lucky winner! Open to US only!


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