Author Robert Downs shares his experience of moving from West Virginia to Southeastern Virginia; two towns we don’t hear too much about. Thanks to Robert we know a little more about them. Enjoy!
Southeastern Virginia was the first time I had ever lived on my own for more than just a summer or the college experience. It was my first introduction to the real world, and it’s such a beautiful place that I knew I would write about it someday. It’s often referred to as the Hampton Roads or Tidewater area, and it has a rather large military presence with Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Air Force all located there. It’s filled with diverse cities and communities lined up next to each other like dominoes, and in many cases you’re never far from Chesapeake Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.
Bridge-Tunnels that dive beneath the water as well as rise above it fascinated me, as I had never seen anything like that before, and this was my first time living in a rather large metropolitan area.
The warm weather and rich history appealed to me, and living near the ocean was an entirely new experience. It’s also the longest I’ve lived in one area, since I migrated away from West Virginia. Independence has always been important to me, and that’s when I first truly began to write my own story. It also feels a bit isolated, because you’re over an hour from Richmond and I-95, and you’re also about three and a half hours from Washington, DC. It really feels like it’s own self-contained universe, and I have great memories of my time in that area, so it was easy for me to want to revisit it.
Growing up in a small town in West Virginia, I enjoyed the mountains painted in green, the open space, and interstates that had been carved from between the rocks. The Hampton Roads area had none of this. It was flat and filled with people, and the sand ran right up to the water’s edge. This was such an interesting world for me, and I haven’t read many novels set in Southeastern Virginia, so for a variety of reasons you could say the area appealed to me. Before I even realized it, the location became almost as important as the characters, and I couldn’t have set The Convenient Escape, or my previous three novels anywhere else.
About Robert Downs
Robert aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he’d already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise his stories might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. To find out more about what’s next on his list, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net.
When he’s not writing, Robert can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. Falling Immortality and Graceful Immortality helped him discover his true love: hard-boiled mysteries. LaCour’s Destiny helped him enter the mind of a female amateur sleuth with OCD tendencies. His fourth and fifth novels will come out this year with Black Opal Books.
Title: The Convenient Escape by Robert Downs
To Veronica Baird, escaping from an underground dungeon and racing through the woods, is anything but convenient, even as her captor in rubber mask attire proves rather persistent in his continued pursuit. Despite her apparent independence, she considers a partnership, albeit reluctantly, with a former classmate who may still have feelings for her.
Pete Nealey still has flashbacks to Iraq and, with the bottle as his eternal companion, tends to fall off of barstools at the most inopportune moments or pass out face down in the tavern parking lot. But what he may lack in cheerfulness, he more than makes up for with his steadfast loyalty to the cause, even when he ends up handcuffed to an air conditioner in a shoddy motel.
But unless Veronica can learn to trust Pete for more than just intermittent intervals, the slipshod relationship, and her freedom, won’t last…
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Her high heels dug into the soft earth beneath her.
Her skirt and blouse, damp with sweat, clung to her body.
The trees whistled above her, the wind whipping through the branches.
Her heart raced, slamming against her chest. Her right side ached, shooting the pain up toward her chin. Her mind raced as fast as her legs moved—escape remained her only option. A grimace twisted her lips, as the stitch in her side grew stronger.
Footsteps lingered behind her. Not far. Close. Veronica glanced over her shoulder, tripping on a branch beneath her. The soft earth padded her knee and braced her fall. Up. She shot to her feet, as her adversary threatened to close the distance even more.
Glancing over her shoulder, she saw only blackness. Nothing more. She strained to hear his labored breathing, but she heard only her heartbeat instead.
A shot rang out, slamming against a tree branch off to her left. Her head whipped around, as bark sprayed in every direction. A piece caught her cheek, slicing it, and she swiped it away with her left hand. Brushing it aside like a dead fruit fly.
The blood on her fingers lingered.
Saltwater dripped into her eyes, obscuring her field of vision. With the same hand, she wiped away the remnants of sweat—and transferred the blood to her cheek—as a voice called out to her.
“You won’t get far,” the voice said. “Daddy’s going to get you.”
She shook her head, just one quick motion to clear the voice from her mind. Her arms pumped at her sides, like two pistons working together. She grimaced as the darkness found her and a hand touched her shoulder. The hand was stiff, and it lingered longer than it should have. When she turned her head, she discovered it was a tree. An owl hooted above her, as dark shadows crept over her and the surrounding forest. The moon guided her. It was more than enough light to offer her a sense of direction.
She picked up her knees and pushed herself forward. Her hands pumped at her sides faster and faster, as the darkness nearly swallowed her whole.
She stumbled again. This time a rock caught the toe of her left foot. A knee glanced off a root and shot pain up her thigh. The stitch in her side continued to throb and grow with each passing second.
Another shot rang out.