About the book
As a victim’s advocate, Grace James is used to rushing into trouble to save her victims from abuse or assault. And with a handsome officer like Joe Hart at her side, Grace is sure there’s nothing she can’t do. But an ominous storm brewing on the Oregon horizon is about to change everything—and bring with it dangers and revelations Grace and Joe never expected.
About the Author
Shannon Symonds worked for 15 years as an Advocate. Shannon lives in a small seaside town where she works, writes, runs and paints. She believes the word can be changed one heart at a time and then even small acts can make a difference.
Guest Post 1: Safe House – 5 Behind the Scenes Facts
Writing and publishing are two very different things. Writing is personal, internal, and creative. Publishing is public and to me, just a little scary. It’s like having your new mother-in-law over and giving her a tour of your soul. Safe House was written in the dark lonely winter months in my 100-year-old beach shack by the fire. Most of the time I was totally alone and even though Cedar Fort has published it, there are still many untold secrets I plan to share with you today.
Let’s start with number 5. I promise I will let you know if there is a spoiler alert.
- Like Mabel, my mother and father live part of the year in an apartment in my house.Grace’s mother, Mabel, is patterned after many strong women in my life and named after one of my great aunts. We live in a large old house a block off the beach in Seaside, Oregon or the same neighborhood Grace lives in.
- Safe house is fiction but based on common occurrences. Grace’s work with victims of domestic abuse is inspired by my work as an Advocate. I worked alongside law enforcement and emergency room staff for over 15 years. I responded to the scenes of domestic and sexual assaults and supported survivors at their most vulnerable moments.
I stopped counting the number of calls I had been on with law enforcement when I went past 500 domestic and sexual assault responses. After spending thousands of hours listening to survivors and running support groups, a few common themes or stories emerged. Kelly and Amber’s experiences in Safe House are patterned after those common themes.
Safe House or fiction was the only way I could find to take a reader to the heart of the experience or share what I felt. I believe stories are much more powerful than statistics.
- The LDS Church and Safe House. Everyone tells writers to write about what they know. I know the LDS faith. However, everyone told me I shouldn’t write about my church. All my Beta readers, except my sister Stacy, said I would sell more books if I left the LDS church out of it. I thought about the advice I received. I even took a look at what I could cut out of the story.
After thinking long and hard I came to this conclusion. As an Advocate, I have been asked countless times how I do the work I do, including working with people who are murdered, physical and sexual assault victims, and children who are injured. The answer is I cope by writing, running, my passion for the work, but most of all I cope by turning to my faith.
I could have written about a generic faith, with a generic pastor, but I wouldn’t have done a good job. I don’t know a generic faith. I wrote about what I know and if I wrote about someone else’s faith, I couldn’t poke fun at it, like I do when I write about my own.
I love my faith’s quirky culture. I have seriously warm feelings for things like trek, emotional young women, relief society, and even girls camp. Church can be spiritual one minute and because we are all human, comical the next.
I like reading books like Dan Brown’s, “The Da Vinci Code.” One of my all-time favorite movies is, Joseph Stein’s “The Fiddler on the Roof.” These stories wouldn’t exist without religion.
I am not the best member of my church or the worst. The book isn’t about church; it is about people who go to church and people who don’t. I wouldn’t be the advocate I am without my faith. It is the way I cope and so it helps Grace cope in Safe House.
- The storm in Safe House was real. HERE is the history. In December 2007, I had the strangest experience. Just like (Spoiler Alert!) Grace, I woke up knowing we needed firewood immediately. I couldn’t rest until we had it.
One night we woke to NOAA Tsunami Alarm going off. We took our little SUV and rode through downed trees, flooding water, and unbelievable wind sustained at over 100 mph to our adult son’s home. His house was out of the Tsunami Zone.
The winds continued for more than a day and were measured at over 137 mph. Water spouted up more than 10 feet blowing sewer lids into the air. I watched a metal pole barn implode and sheet metal cut tree limbs like a razor and paper. Tall metal power poles were crumpled like tin foil.
There was no Tsunami, but there was also no cell service, no power, no heat, no television, and both roads out of the area were flooded and covered with piles of downed trees. We were cut off from the outside world and would eventually be without power for 5 days.
Thankfully, we were prepared. We ended up with a ton of teenagers and a 70-year-old ward member sleeping at our house. It became a party and a good memory. Our little town and ward really pulled together.
Spoons (Spoiler Alert!). This part of the book is drawn from my personal experience. My family loved to play spoons with my father’s best friend, Gene Child and his family. The game of spoons in the book is very real. It was based on a family vacation to a cabin in Star Valley Wyoming where the game was hilarious and the table didn’t survive.
Enter the giveaway HERE.
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