The genesis of this story is something that has been bubbling under the surface since my childhood. In the quiet Midwestern University town I grew up in, a mother killed one of her children. What made this extra scary was that after killing one of her three children, she woke a second child to ask for help in killing the third.
I was about ten when this all happened. Grown-ups talked about it in hushed voices and stopped talking about it when kids came into the room. We still heard about it, but I doubt what we heard was all that accurate. To give you an idea of what my home life was like, it had never occurred to me that a mother would hurt her child. Mothers were the source of comfort and care and love. The idea that a mother could be anything else was terrifying. Over the years, I’d think about it and wonder what it would have felt like to be the kid who was asked to help. That was terrifying, too.
A lot of that wondering went into creating the character of Amanda Sinclair, heroine of Cover Me in Darkness. Like the case from my childhood, a mother killed a child and sought help from a second child to kill a third. Unlike the case from my childhood, Amanda’s mother was caught up in a cult-like religious group called Children of the Greater God or COGG.
When Amanda’s mother commits suicide in the mental ward where she’s been locked up for the past decade, Amanda isn’t surprised. But when she looks through the personal belongings left behind, it seems her death may be related to the upcoming parole hearing for COGG leader Patrick Collier. Amanda must dig into the past and expose her own secrets as well as her mother’s to get to the truth.
To write this book, I’m definitely digging into my dark side. It’s always been there. I doubt I would have been as fascinated by a murder as a ten-year-old otherwise. How about you? Do you have a creepy side? Is there something from your childhood that makes you want to take a closer look at it?