Today’s guest author on Wednesday Writers is Carrie Daws. She’ll be talking about the Inspirational Suspense book she didn’t want to write. Sometimes we just gotta do what we gotta do. Right, Carrie?
The Story Behind the Story: The Embers Series
What do you do when a friend wants you to write a book about her? Assuming you have a good relationship and enough courage to be completely honest, you say, “No!”
This is what happened to me. We actually weren’t that close at the time, this friend and I. We volunteered together at church and knew each other well enough to give more than the most basic answer when we inquired about each other’s lives. I certainly didn’t know her well enough to create a character around her.
But every few weeks, she’d ask again. Yeah, my answer was still no.
Then, after one particularly rough day, she told me about a horrible inspection with an obstinate owner who didn’t want to do anything the law says that business owners must do. My brain started working, quietly in my subconscious.
A few weeks later, she told me another story about firemen tackling a homeowner who wouldn’t let them into his house to put out the fire. And about an inspection where a manager ordered her out of a restaurant because they didn’t like her. I laughed as I pictured it all.
And that’s when I knew. I had to write this book.
A couple of waivers later, I sat beside her in her government-issued white Chevy Tahoe, a vehicle big enough to carry all her necessary equipment and handle the occasionally rough terrain she needed to transgress. I shadowed her on inspections and begged to be called out to a fire with her. I tramped around a kids’ camp and walked a secure warehouse at her side. Of course, all the business owners and managers only showed her the utmost respect and courtesy in my presence. They didn’t know who I was or what power I had over them. Wouldn’t they be surprised!
I talked to firemen and paramedics, gleaning more stories and the critical fire information I would need. I searched the web, reading more about fire safety. Slowly, a plot formed.
The fun part for me is that much within these books is based on my town, although names of fire departments, neighborhoods, and other identifying places have been changed. Similarly, inspections and fires I talk about are loosely based on true stories from my friend, others in the fire safety field, and news reports from around the world.
I changed key details about my friend, to simplify the story and protect her identity—at least, outside her circle of family and friends to whom she loudly proclaimed that I was writing a book about her.
The result was a fun story where the main character must decide if God is trustworthy. If He truly can protect her and her family when the circumstances turn dangerous.
It’s a story I’m glad she persisted in asking me to write.
The Embers Series
By Carrie Daws
Inspector Cassandra McCarthy never thought she’d be raising her two daughters alone, but her husband’s unexpected death forced her to find a career. Now working beside a retired Special Operations soldier and veteran fireman, she serves her small North Carolina town, protecting them from hazards they don’t understand. She loves what she does and trusts God to provide—until a hurricane and a series of unexplained fires hits too close to home. What will it cost Cassandra to protect the citizens of Silver Heights?
My God will meet all your needs
according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 4:19
Friday, October 9th
White billows replaced the dark, ominous clouds that still drifted over the tops of the loblolly pine trees along the North Carolina roadside. Inspector Cassandra McCarthy released her breath, knowing the color change meant the firefighters had water on the blaze. Those who were returning to nearby homes at the end of the workday should be safe.
Her phone on the console beside her buzzed with an incoming text message. “On the scene yet?”
Showing her identification card from the Silver Heights Fire Marshal’s office, Cassandra pulled her white Chevy Tahoe around the sheriff’s barricade shutting down the country road to all non-emergency traffic. Stopping in the grass near the last tanker truck, she grabbed her phone and responded to the text. “Just arrived. Beaver Creek and Black Branch Fire Departments both on scene. Flames still visible.”
She knew her boss wouldn’t be satisfied with that answer, but before she could give him more details, she had to get her mind on her job. Her heart ached with memories of today, of the anniversary she should be celebrating. Releasing her seat belt, she grabbed the camera from the passenger seat. She could at least start taking pictures for the report she’d have to file later.
Her phone buzzed again. “Contained? Any woods burning?”
Swallowing her nostalgia, she walked around Black Branch’s engine while throwing the camera strap over her head and looking for someone she knew that would have a moment to talk to her. Being careful to avoid the area the firemen were working, she finally saw Beaver Creek’s chief, Scottie, in recovery behind the ambulance parked across the street.
“Hey, Scottie. You good?”
Most of his fireman turnout gear in a pile beside him, Scottie drained the last of the water in his bottle. His reddish brown hair looked dark in the fading sunlight. “I dinna know, lassie. But I’m getting a bad feeling about this.”
“What do you mean?”
The emergency medical technician handed Scottie another bottle of water.
“Thanks, Kelan.” Scottie twisted the lid to break the seal but didn’t remove it. “In August and September, we reported to sixty-three fires. All of those were easily explained except for two that happened in the early evening on abandoned buildings during weather that nae should be a contributing factor. This one here—it makes three.”
About the Author:
God rewrote Carrie’s dreams to include being an author. With a background in weekly devotions, a mentor encouraged her to try fiction. The writing monster that she now barely keeps contained was born. To learn more, click here. (LINK: http://carriedaws.com/my-books/)
Connect with Carrie at:
Carrie Daws, inspirational suspense, The Ember Series, Book excerpt from The Embers Series, Catherine Castle’s Wednesday Writers blog series