Last week I met Vickie to talk about my book “The Luck of the Weissensteiners”. It is time we turned the tables and looked at my favourite book of hers “The Bones of Others”
At the age of twelve Skye Cree was kidnapped by a pedophile. But Skye managed to get away. Now as an adult, a survivor, she’s on the prowl for monsters like the one who took her that day from the park, putting an end to her childhood.
Josh Ander is the geeky, wealthy owner of a gaming company. The night he crosses paths with Skye Cree, changes his life forever, putting him on a different path entirely than the one he’d planned.
Once Josh and Skye join forces, they’ll venture into the dark side of Seattle where human trafficking thrives and kids are bought and sold every day. With girls disappearing off the streets in alarming numbers, with young lives hanging in the balance, they’ll do whatever it takes to hunt down the ones preying on kids. But not all can be saved. It will take a wolf’s instincts to find the monsters burying—the bones of others.
“The Bones of Others: A Skye Cree Novel” by Vickie McKeehan was a surprise hit for me. I expected a blind revenge thriller but found a much more evolved and serious book about Skye Cree, a woman who once was abducted and raped and who now is on the hunt for her tormentor and other paedophiles. Her character acts more out of care and sympathy for the victims than out of fury and hate, which makes her very likeable and multi-dimensional in her role.
On one of her nights in town she rescues businessman Josh Ander who in gratitude for her help assist her in her quest. Owner of a gaming company and experienced hacker he has a lot to offer, not least a romantic interest, which given Skye’s history is not without serious complications, making this again a much deeper read than I had expected.
In the mix is Detective Harry and last but certainly not least Skye’s spirit guide.
McKeehan is very good at developing the characters and at the description of the situations and scenes she creates.
It takes a lot of courage to tackle an issue as serious and emotional as paedophilia and I must congratulate the author for handling it so well.
Interview with Vickie McKeehan:
When did you first have the idea for this book?
I’d been developing Skye Cree for two years. That’s not to say I worked on her exclusively all that time. Once Skye became real to me though, the next step was to write the story. I always knew what Skye had been through, her background, always knew she was Native American. But the love story between Josh and Skye had to “grow” which took time.
The subject is rather dark and emotional for many potential readers. Did that ever make you hesitate?
I wouldn’t say hesitate, but it made me cautious. I’d done The Evil Trilogy, about three victims of child abuse. For some reason, once Ending Evil came out in May, emails and messages poured in from victims of abuse, all kinds. So I knew there were readers out there that had a connection to this subject and would connect to Skye’s story in a very personal way. Because of that, I wanted to get it right, do it right.
How did you come to writing in the first place?
I’ve used writing over the years the same way I did reading—as an escape—as a child I’d make up stories. Some were appreciated. Others just got me into more trouble. I had this imaginary friend when I was four. His name was Marty. To this day, I still remember our adventures. So I’d have to say, I’ve been making stuff up as long as I can remember.
Why are you writing romance novels? Do you ever feel like writing something completely different?
I used to be a snob when it came to reading romance novels. I came to the genre late. But you know what? I absolutely LOVE getting two people together, watching them fall in love, watching them evolve into a couple. I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s my favourite genre now. It just goes to show how a person can change their reading habits as they get older.
Skye is very strong and mature. Given her past, I would have expected her to be more hateful. Were you ever tempted to just let her be a figure of revenge? How did her character develop? During writing or did you have her nailed before you started?
I might’ve been tempted to make Skye vengeful but she wanted no part of that. It’s true, Skye has her problems. She’s dealt with what she could of the past and moved on to some degree. That’s how and why she’s motivated to go out every night on the hunt to search for the kids she knows are out there. But to make her a vengeful hateful person did not work for her. She had no problem telling me that. Hateful certainly wasn’t the path she wanted to walk.
To the last part of your question, I don’t believe I ever have any character “nailed” before I start, not completely. Yes, I write an outline. Yes, I start with detailed characters. Yes, I try to stick to it. But the outline is just there as a “guideline” to me. In almost every instance I’ve left that guideline a couple of times to hopefully make the interaction between the two main characters a lot stronger as they evolve into a couple. If I simply stuck to the outline I’ve no doubt my main characters might be a little boring. Then they would drive me crazy and would never let me get a moment’s peace.
Is Josh meant to be the role reversed male sidekick to the female heroine of your book or did he just happen to take on that role?
This guy starts out as a geek, your basic desk-jockey type who couldn’t tackle a stationary football dummy if you gave him a running start. But by the end of the book Josh comes into this own as Skye’s full partner, one she can depend on in a fight. I wanted the reader to experience Josh’s evolution from nerd to warrior.
Tell us about the idea behind the Guardian angel / wolf?
First, I love Native American folklore, always have. My mother introduced me to it early on through the stories she told. And, I love wolves. I’ve wanted to do a modern-day warrior with a spirit guide since I came up with the idea of Skye Cree. But as the series progresses there will be a few surprises in store as far as, Kiya, the spirit guide is concerned.
I noticed you did not give much time to exploring why the paedophiles act out and why your bad guys are the way they are. Do you think it is possible for the victim to ever forgive them?
I didn’t write a story about the bad guys but rather the survivors. Skye is the focus.
No, I’m pretty sure Skye never forgave Whitfield.
How long did it take you to write?
About three months.
How comfortable do you feel writing some of the more delicate scenes?
By delicate scenes do you mean the love scenes, the sex? Oh those aren’t a problem for me at all. I usually crank up the music and go for it. The trick is coming up with new ways and words to describe it.
How do you write? What is your writing environment like?
Life intervenes. The phone rings. Mail has to be answered, books signed and sent out, and errands that must be handled. There’s always something going on so I have to pull myself away from it all and just write.
How many rewrites did it take you?
For The Bones of Others? Three
Who would play your characters in a movie?
If I get to be on set, and I should, I’d say Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. I’ve always wanted to meet them and that would be a great way to get to do it.
You are writing several series of books. Tell us about them.
I write a series called Pelican Pointe about a small town along the coast of California. Pelican Pointe is the hometown of Scott Phillips who didn’t make it back from the Iraq war. But Scott’s there in every book, in spirit. Scott loves his town and the people in it. He wants to bring the town back to its glory days.
What are your next projects and where would we be able to hear about them?
Well, there’s the fourth book in the Pelican Pointe series, Lighthouse Reef, due out in April. And no, as some readers have already asked me, it will not be too dark. It will, however, reveal some long-held secrets about the town. I know what my readers like in this series and I don’t think they’ll be disappointed. Then there’s The Bones Will Tell due out in summer where Skye and Josh help Harry Drummond nail a serial killer. Or do they?
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