Please welcome, Karina Bartow, to Fearless Friday. I enjoyed this post because I'm an Arizona native, but the humor of her fearless adventure was a treat.
That winter, my parents and I planned a trip to Arizona, USA. At that same time, I was writing my debut novel, Husband in Hiding, which followed a man who had to enter witness protection after he meddles in his detective wife’s investigation into the mafia. I learned from my research into WITSEC that Arizona’s a common hideaway for the program, so I decided to take advantage of the chance to do some setting scouting during our vacation.
My mom’s pretty old-school, so she requested information from the state’s Chamber of Commerce to aid us in our planning. The packet they sent included a few items about Glendale, where a bed-and-breakfast caught my eye. I looked it up online, and the historical part of town where it was located seemed perfect for my story. It’d be a quaint refuge for my character, where he’d surely be safe from anybody out to harm him.
Some locations I’ve visited after writing them into a book have disappointed me, but that wasn’t the case with Old Glendale. During our afternoon there, the picturesque town lived up to my expectations of being quiet, friendly, and charming. In fact, most of the businesses even closed before dinnertime. How much more wholesome could you get?
We ate dinner at the bed-and-breakfast that drew me to the town in the first place, and I soaked in lots of material there. After we finished, we headed out to our parking space down the street. Since I have Cerebral Palsy, my dad was pushing me in my wheelchair, and we passed an alleyway between two buildings along our route. The sun having already set, my mom and I shared the same unspoken thought:
Dark alley. How scary! We snickered inside. The notion of danger lurking in the sleepy town seemed preposterous.
But it wasn’t.
Our unsuspecting curiosity impelled us to look into the passage, where a figure sat on the ground in the shadows. He turned in our direction and slowly rose to his feet, setting down the wine bottle in his hand. Even more menacing, he started advancing toward us.
At most, twenty-five feet separated us from our rented truck, but in that moment, it seemed like two miles. Beside me, my mom sped up her pace, despite the fact that she didn’t have the keys to get inside the pickup when she reached it. Meanwhile, my dad—who remember, was pushing me—slowed down, strategizing what to do if the stranger accosted us. Given this is Fearless Friday, I’d like to tell you I did some courageous act to rescue my family…but I didn’t. Rather, I began flailing my feet like a late Fred Flintstone peddling his car to the bowling alley.
Thankfully, the man didn’t approach us and simply sprinted across the road. If he had any nefarious schemes in mind, I’ll never know. Regardless, it provided inspiration I didn’t have on my agenda. I considered changing the setting in the book because of it, but I soon realized every town has its secrets, no matter how innocent it appears. I decided to write the experience into a scene of the book, leaving my character as panic-stricken as we were.
If you’d like to read it,
check it out in chapter seventeen of Husband
in Hiding, which is available for
$.99 on Kindle for a limited time. Its sequel, Brother of Interest, is also available, released last week by The Wild Rose Press.
Torn between her conflicted feelings for him and her desire to see justice carried out, she decides to unofficially explore the matter on her own. She begins to see that the case is bigger than it seemed at first glance, but before she can unravel it further, she discovers Robin using her garage as a hideout from the authorities! Now forced together, can Minka overcome the many distractions to figure out the massive scheme that's really playing out? And can the bizarre circumstances somehow improve her and Robin's chilly relationship?
Karina Bartow grew up and still lives in Northern Ohio. Though born with Cerebral Palsy, she’s never allowed her disability to define her. Rather, she’s used her experiences to breathe life into characters who have physical limitations, but like her, are determined not to let them stand in the way of the life they want. Her debut novel, Husband in
Hiding came out in 2015, followed by Forgetting My Way Back to You, 2018. She may only be able to type with one hand, but she writes with her whole heart!