Women’s fiction author, Cara Sue Achterberg, joins us this week to discuss her latest book, Blind Turn.
Author Name: Cara Sue Achterberg
Book Title: Blind Turn
Book Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release Date: January 7, 2021
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Welcome Cara! Please tell us about Blind Turn.
Blind Turn is a mother and daughter story of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident.
What sparked the idea for this latest book?
I saw a story in our paper of a horrendous crash in which a young driver hit a family in a buggy (I live in Amish country). The driver survived, but the entire family was killed. There was no explanation for how or why the accident happened. The weather was fine, it was daylight, and there was no evidence of drugs or alcohol. He wasn’t a ‘bad kid’ and had no record. I was in the midst of teaching my own child to drive, and I couldn’t stop thinking about the young driver and the parents of that young driver. I couldn’t imagine how you recover from something like that. So I wrote my way through it.
Oh my gosh—I can see why that story would haunt you. How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
This book took me several years because I first wrote it from the mother’s perspective, then went back and wrote it from the daughter’s point of view (and pitched it as a YA), and then decided I would blend the two and that’s the version coming out in January. As far as research, I interviewed an Assistant District Attorney to understand how the court process would work for a juvenile. I read a lot about Texas laws as they pertain to texting and driving, even briefly tried to understand how cell towers/cell phones communicate. I also followed a few similar cases published in newspapers to read the online comments and see the outcomes.
What drew you to the women’s fiction genre?
It’s what I like to read, along with memoir, so I try to write a book I’d like to read. In fact, if I ever get bored while I’m working on a story, I’ll delete the scene and start over.
Where do you get ideas for your books?
Mostly from life and from watching people and wondering what if… A lot of my stories are me writing through something I can’t imagine happening to me, wondering what I would if it did. Sometimes I write through my own questions, assigning them to a character I love – you can usually see answers for someone else easier than you can see them for yourself.
For you, what’s the hardest thing about writing?
Marketing the book. The author has to shoulder the majority of the work and that is not easy for many of us. I just want to write, I don’t want to sell. But if I don’t sell, I can’t write. It’s a necessary evil.
That is so true. What do you love most about it?
Getting to know my characters and seeing their story unfold. I believe in writing magic—that moment when the story takes over and you just follow it where it leads. I don’t think I could write without it. My other favorite part is meeting and connecting with readers. There is not a lot of money to be made in this business (unless you’re the publisher), so the pay off is reaching and touching hearts.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read Blind Turn?
Blind Turn could be anyone’s story—we are all one split second away from tragedy. If that happens, how will you handle it? It’s a story that will not just entertain you, but make you care and make you think about the challenge and the necessity of forgiveness in your life and in the world.
What are your interests outside of writing and reading?
I spend nearly every other minute fostering dogs (189 and counting..) and advocating for shelters in the south. Along with a photographer friend, I co-founded Who Will Let the Dogs Out, a non-profit initiative whose mission is to raise awareness and resources for shelter dogs. (WhoWillLettheDogsOut.org)
Are you working on a new project?
I’m always up to something. I’ve got two novels circulating on my laptop and in my heart, plus another ‘dog memoir’ demanding to be written, but next up is a film project for Who Will Let the Dogs Out to expose the dog pounds of Western Tennessee.
Where can readers find you?
You can find everything about my books, blogs, and appearances at CaraWrites.com.
You can also connect with me on facebook or Instagram (@CaraSueAchterberg).
If you’re a writer, I blog at MyLifeInParagraphs.blog, and if you are a dog-hearted soul, visit WhoWillLettheDogsOut.org and AnotherGoodDog.org.
Thank you, Cara! Blind Turn is OUT NOW.
An examination of forgiveness in the aftermath of a fatal texting and driving accident.
Liz Johnson single-handedly raised an exemplary daughter—honor student, track star, and all-around good kid—despite the disapproval of her father and her small town. How could that same teenager be responsible for the death of the high school’s beloved football coach? This is Texas, where high school football ranks right up there with God, so while the legal battle wages, the public deals its own verdict.
Desperate for help, Liz turns to a lawyer whose affection she long ago rejected and attempts to play nice with her ex-husband, while her daughter struggles with guilt and her own demons as she faces the consequences of an accident she doesn’t remember.
Can one careless decision alter a lifetime? A tragic, emotional, ultimately uplifting story, BLIND TURN could be anyone’s story.
One of the few books in recent memory I was completely unable to put down, yet still wished I could read more slowly so it would never end. Achterberg writes with a seamless combination of aching sensitivity and a page-turning urgency. Easily one of the best books of any genre I’ve read this entire year.
-C.H. Armstrong, author of Roam and The Edge of Nowhere
From its life-shattering opening on, pages will seemingly turn themselves as you seek resolution for this novel’s imperfect yet courageous characters, and for one eye-opening reason: these events could have happened to any of us. An important story about how taking responsibility for our actions—even if accidental—can turn a nightmare into rays of hope.
—Kathryn Craft, award-winning author of The Far End of Happy
When the unthinkable happens, mother and daughter are forced to look deep within themselves for the truth. Achterberg takes you for a ride that you won’t forget. I loved this book.
– Barbara Conrey Author of Nowhere Near Goodbye
Cara Achterberg is the author of three previous novels, in addition to two memoirs, including the recently published, 100 Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues. You can learn more about her writing at CaraWrites.com.