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Monday, June 13, 2016

VILLIANS WE LOVE TO HATE by Laurel S. Peterson

Please welcome my guest today, Laurel S. Peterson. Read on!
Thanks for having me on your blog, Brenda. I’m really pleased to be here.

It’s fun to hate. I particularly love movies or books with juicy villains.

In my new mystery novel, Shadow Notes, protagonist Clara Montague has been away from her home town for fifteen years, avoiding her mother, who didn’t listen to Clara’s intuitions, even when they might have saved her father’s life. Clara has come home because she’s had a dream that her mother is in danger, and shortly after she arrives, her mother is jailed for the murder of her therapist. Is Constance a villain? Is she the kind of woman who could kill someone? Clara doesn’t know.

Figuring that Constance’s enemies will know her even better than her friends, Clara joins the political campaign of her mother’s worst enemy: Andrew Winters. Winters slithers through the novel, oiling his campaign with donations from the town’s elite. Is it true that the enemy of her enemy is her friend? Clara can only find out by sifting through her mother’s and the Winters’ pasts to figure out where their mutual hatred originated. Winters’ sister runs his campaign and nastily teases Clara with dirty secrets from her mother’s past. Are these “secrets” even true? Is there anyone in town she can trust—or are they all villains? You will have to read and judge for yourself! Who are the villains that you love to hate? Thanks for reading and I’d love to hear from you.

EXCERPT from Shadow Notes, by Laurel S. Peterson

Going home meant returning to Mother; it meant dealing with my own guilt. I’d never told her my dream about father’s death, how I’d seen the sleek black casket, the priest, father’s face made up all waxy or plastic, like he belonged at Madame Tussaud’s.  I’d never told her he’d whispered from the casket, “Heart attacks happen, Clara.” I knew when he’d said it that I could prevent it, but I hadn’t. I blamed myself. I blamed her.

Mother lied. When I was little, before I knew better, I would tell her my dreams, and she would get this frightened look on her face. The look intensified whenever I could point to a correspondence in real life. Like the time I dreamed that Timmy Lefkowitz would throw up blood, and then he did on the playground the next day. I shouted at her that if we’d told Timmy’s mom or the teacher, they might have kept Sean Gallagher from beating Timmy half to death in the bathroom because Timmy said the Virgin Mary was just another girl, not a saint. …

Then I’d had the dream that predicted my father’s death, more terrifying than any dream I’d ever had.  Was it symbolic?  real?  She would tell me to ignore it, as she had all the others.  I didn’t want to frighten my father, in case it wasn’t true, and I didn’t want to stay silent, in case it was.  While I was paralyzed by indecision, he died.  I hadn’t forgiven myself for ignoring my intuition. That was fifteen years ago.

Now, here I was again—and this dream felt the same: if I didn’t act on it, Mother would die. She’d pushed me away—but she was my mother, and no matter how angry I was with her, I couldn’t lose another parent. If I saved her, maybe then, I would have done something right, and if I’d done something right, maybe she would be the mother I wanted.
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