Author CR Hiatt has stopped by today with a guest post for the Gone at Zero Hundred blog tour!
THE IDEA FOR THE STORY, AND THE CREATION OF 18-YEAR-OLD SLEUTHS...Before writing Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00 I sat down with big city detectives, and small town police officers, and interviewed them about their lives on the job. In some of those talks we touched up on some of their most unusual, and horrifying cases throught the years they’ve been on the department. Newspaper reporters and TV news commentators feed us tidbits of the major crimes that occurr in and around the towns where we live, but we never hear about all the horrific events that take place every day, or meet all the victims who suffered and continue to suffer.
After speaking wth the officers, there were a couple cases that stood out to me, mainly because of the age and identities of the victims, as well as the ages of the officers who handled the cases. It was from those talks that the ideas for Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00, as well as the sequel, Fireworks on the 4th, were based, only I added fictional plot details, developed new villains and heroes, and created fictional locations.
When I decided to make the main characters, Sydney McSwain and Cody Beck, private investigators, I knew there would be some (a small number) who questioned the idea of two 18-year-olds being able to handle the situations they were being thrown into. Hey, that’s okay. We all have different tastes and beliefs.
But, that was my goal.
I wanted to show that even young adults, who were going through their own personal struggles, (Syd losing her mother and Cody being kicked out of his house), they could still step up to the plate and handle perilous situations, if they were called upon to do so. In reality, young people are often called up to handle dangerous situations in life, and often, they exceed the world’s expectations.
When the public reads a newspaper headline, or hears stories on the TV news about police officers, firefighters, and even military personnel out on the front lines, they don’t often remember those heroes are sometimes right out of high school - the same age as McSwain & Beck. Sometimes, they are even younger. Harry Potter, Katniss and many others were both teens or young adults when they were thrown into impossible and death defyng situations.
Fact: Heroes come in all different shapes, sizes, ages and backgrounds. McSwain & Beck just happen to be the heroes in Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00.
And now for an excerpt from Gone at Zero Hundred 00:00
"Hey Syd, isn't that your mom, there on the news?" Cody yelled a minute later.
I inwardly groaned. In the last two years my mom was constantly seen on the news for a law enforcement matter she got involved with. While doing surveillance on a city employee accused of gambling while on the tax-payer's dime, she stumbled onto evidence of another crime. When she delved deeper, it resulted in the arrest of three high-profile individuals alleged to be stealing from various pension funds for the city. It was huge. A lot of employees almost lost their retirement.
So what news-worthy action was she involved with this time?
With dozens of curious eyes on me, I glanced toward one of the TV's. On the screen, at least a dozen patrol cars were positioned in front of a middle-class home with their cherry tops flashing. Uniformed officers were crouched behind the doors of their cars with their weapons drawn. A local reporter - tuned into law enforcement scanners - already had a camera on site, and was filming the scene as it played out.
My mom and Sutter Beach Detective, Ace Carter, stood on the front porch with their guns aimed at the bare chest of a muscular man wearing gym shorts and Nike running shoes as he opened the door.
Carter yelled, "Marty Cole, we have a warrant for your arrest."
Cole darted an angry look toward Anna, the person responsible for him being arrested.
“You know the position,” Carter continued. “Down on the pavement. Lock your hands behind your head.”
Cole glanced around at all the armed officers; then reluctantly did as he was told. Anna kept her gun aimed at him, while Carter read him his Miranda rights and cuffed his wrists behind his back. While the cameras rolled, Carter hauled him to his feet and paraded him towards his police-issued Dodge Charger parked on the street. He opened the back-passenger door, lowered the prisoner into the back seat, and shut the door. Before he stepped into the car, he gave a mock salute toward Anna.
The ticker tape on the bottom of the TV read: In an unusual turn of events, Investigator Anna McSwain assists law enforcement personnel in the arrest of Marty Cole, an officer with the Sutter Beach Vice Unit. Cole is another individual alleged to be involved in the pension fund scam that McSwain uncovered earlier this year.
Anna slipped her weapon back in its holster, and started down the path toward her own SUV, when...
POP - POP - POP - POP...
A sniper opened fire, and a round of bullets ripped into her chest. She stumbled and faltered; then fell like a dead weight to the ground.
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