‘Trail of Lies’ – a Local Authors Journey into the Past
After living under her Grandmother’s thumb for nearly 20 years, Maddie feels a sense of relief once she’s gone. Now Maddie just wants to forget the past and live for the future as she finds a love and happiness she never dreamed possible. But a secret, a terrible secret her grandmother forced her to conceal, comes to light and everything Maddie holds dear threatens to crumble to ashes.
Inspired by a jaw-dropping true story, local author Cindy Jackson-Johns sought to bring a family story to life in the pages of her first book—Trail of Lies. Full of romance, page-turning cliff hangers, and faith, Trail of Lies explores the healing power of forgiveness in the face of great wrong.
“The book is based on a story I first heard from my uncle about my great-grandfather,” John’s recalled in a recent interview. “Even though I was just a kid, I remember thinking that it would make an incredible plot for a book!”
The unknown parts of the story sparked John’s imagination for years, but it was a humorous twist that propelled Johns to the actual writing stage. “One day as I was wondering out loud, my husband turned to me and said ‘would you just write the book already!’ and I thought, ‘oh sure I’ll just sit down and start writing’, but that is actually what happened!” Johns laughed at the memory.
Even though this is John’s first book, she shows traits of a more experienced writer. For example, the plot is highly compelling, and the dialogue, rather than pulling a reader’s attention away from the plot, plays right into it, feeling natural between the characters and even more natural to the reader. Despite the precarious position of narrating two storylines at the same time, John’s skillfully wove the two together to create a high reader interest, making it difficult to put it down between chapters.
“Several people have told me that they couldn’t put it down, that they finished it in two days when they never finish a book that fast,” Johns related. She noted that one of her greatest joys is to hear that others are enjoying reading the book as much as she enjoyed creating it.
For Johns, there were no bouts of writer’s block. “If it is a thing, it never happened to me!” she laughed. Instead of being a chore, the writing process energized and excited Johns. Sometimes when she would attempt to sit down at the computer, an idea seize her imagination so much she had to walk around the room to talk her idea out. “After pacing up and down and talking it all out, I would just sit down at the computer and write it as it was given me. I believe that writers block, if it is a thing, could only happen when you force something; I simply wrote as I was given.”
Johns says the writing process helped her understand more about her family background and how they lived. She spoke of reading old books her grandfather read, and of visiting gravesites to get a better feel for creating their characters; now their stories live on through John’s book. She says that she felt there was even more to the story, so she is already in chapter 3 of the sequel.
Now that she has made her feet wet in the publishing world, Johns says she hopes her experience will inspire others to share their creative expressions. “I think so many people are sitting on books, poems, artwork, and drawings; yet they might be afraid to share them. I hope that they will see me and realize that if I can do it, they can too!”
Johns says that if she was to give advice to other authors or artists, she would tell them to ignore the naysayers. “Too often we hear ‘it’s too hard’, or ‘nobody will care’ or ‘you’ll never make any money’; although that last part is probably true! But it’s not about what other people think, it’s not about fame or money, it’s about expressing yourself creatively so you have a positive outlet in your life.”
Trail of Lies is available online at Chapters and Indigo, locally at Johns’ studio, Cross Country Wellness and will be coming soon to the Kindersley Library. Readers can connect with Johns through her Facebook Page @TrailOfLies1.
Editors Note: Jackson will be reading from her book Trail of Lies at the Kindersley Public Library on December 7th, 2017 at 7PM.
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