“Still Missing”–Review

51lenbozeel-_sx304_bo1204203200_The story begins with Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, who had three goals for the day: sell a home, forget about that trivial argument she had with her demanding mother, and to be home on time to have dinner with her boyfriend.  After a slow day at the open house, Annie starts packing up to prepare for an evening with her boyfriend, Luke.  Then a van pulls up in front of the house and a good-looking, friendly man steps out and approaches the house.  Although Annie was all ready to head out, she figured giving a last-minute potential buyer a tour of the place couldn’t hurt.

But that turned out to be a mistake.

The story alternates between the year Annie had spent in isolation with her captor and her sessions with her psychiatrist.  She goes into the details of her being beaten, raped, and controlled by a psychopath who apparently had plans for her, including her escape and the ongoing police investigations leading to the truth about Annie’s captor.

This book had one surprise after another and I think it was worth reading.  Just when it seemed as if everything were going to be all right, another twist occurred.  Annie was struggling to put her life back together, yet it never seemed to be over.  I was definitely hooked.  If you’re a fan of thrillers, this may be for you.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press for review purposes.

About the author: Chevy Stevens grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing. Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel.  Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries.

Chevy enjoys writing thrillers that allow her to blend her interest in family dynamics with her love of the west coast lifestyle. When she’s not working on her next book, she’s camping and canoeing with her husband and daughter in the local mountains.

You can also check out her page here.

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Words of Discouragement? I Think Not.

I am participating in the writing contest, You Deserve to Be Inspired, hosted by Positive Writer.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” my mother asked me when I was a kid.  “An author,” I said.  At that time, I was influenced by almost any books my older sister read when we were kids.  And then my journal writing began when I was in the fifth grade and I became addicted to writing every day.  Every now and then, I’d write a story or two.  But why I wound up throwing them away, afterward, was beyond me.  Perhaps the story ideas were just terrible or I feared embarrassment should someone discover what I’d written.

No matter, I stuck with my writing routine.  I daydreamed.  I wrote about what I liked, what I didn’t like, new ideas, etc.  In high school, I had a novel in progress, but I never told anyone about it.  I do remember rewriting it a few times.  Ideas were constantly changing and I didn’t know how to go about it, sometimes.  I was still unsure as to what I was going to do with it when and if it was done.  Fear may have been holding me back.  But what was scaring me?

When time passed, though, I put the story away, with the same idea that the story was terrible and wasn’t going to go anywhere, that the story was boring even me.  In November 2014, however, I’d surprised myself by bringing that novel back, just with a new storyline.  One year later—while I was tempted to quit dozens of times—the first draft was finally done.  What an emotional rollercoaster it was while typing up the last few chapters.

In my mind, I was thanking those who encouraged me to keep writing, including those with negative comments.  Yes, even those with negative comments because it made me think back to my sophomore year in high school.  I don’t remember which class it was, nor do I remember the teacher’s name.  During class, we were assigned something involving career choices.  All I remember was that the instructions looked as if they were written in another language.  Really, I could have asked questions, yet I was a bit of a lazy student.  Also, I was the type who was often afraid of asking questions.  So I marked off anything at random, with the assumption I knew what I was doing.

Afterward, the teacher had one-on-one discussions with us regarding the categories we selected.  Once she looked over my work, she appeared confused by my answers, but then explained how the assignment was supposed to be done.  Then she asked me a bunch of questions about my interests and that’s when I told her about my writing.  I don’t recall every question she asked, but I remember her asking if I spoke more than one language.  I said no.  Every answer I’d provided to every question, in the end, forced her to look right at me and say, “Then you can’t be a writer.”  This was coming from someone who’s never read anything I’ve written. I’ve had my share of teachers bullying me, but never has any one of them said what that teacher said to me.  But the worst part was that I didn’t even defend myself.  She must have thought I was a complete idiot.  So I’d spaced out in class.  Was I so terrible?

I never sulked about it, though, nor did I go home and cry to my mother.  Perhaps I was realizing that that was only one person’s opinion.  This teacher may not have been too fond of me, but that didn’t stop me from writing.  In fact, I never did tell anyone what the teacher said.  I suppose I really didn’t care what she thought.

So when the first draft of my novel was completed in October 2015, I thought, “I can’t be a writer, huh?  Hmm, I don’t know.  It may have taken a year of struggling, but somehow I did it.”  And I’ll keep doing it.  At times, I still can’t believe I made it happen. Who knows what’ll happen with my writing?  But after seeing all the progress I’ve made, I realized it’s worth the hard work.

Throughout this writing journey, I’ve learned some things:

 

  1. People will have their own opinions and that’s okay. We can’t please everyone, so don’t let their words stop you.
  2. Even if you have ideas you feel are terrible, hold onto them, anyhow; they may be helpful in the future. Never did I expect to bring back that story I’d created years ago and actually finish it.
  3. Although we all struggle with a particular goal, it’s important that we believe in ourselves. We’ll get there, eventually.

 

So to my high school teacher—whose name escapes me—thanks for your words, because I’m still writing, no matter anyone’s opinions.