This week’s blog post is by suspense writer, Leanna Sain. Her book, Hush, just released and is available on Amazon. Her bio will follow along with a link to purchase her book.
It looks so good; I can’t wait to get my copy. Please check it out!
How well I remember the day.
My dad couldn’t take care of Mama by himself anymore. Alzheimer’s had wreaked its havoc, stealing away the woman I’d always known and leaving an empty shell.
She looked like my mother, but wasn’t.
She was just as much a stranger to me as I was to her. My brother and I had convinced Daddy that Mama needed more care than he could give her, that they were trained to handle her, and that it was too dangerous for him to continue as her primary caretaker.
She had “mean” spells and we were afraid she’d hurt him and he’d unable to call for help. So we chose a Memory Care facility. It was for the best. That’s what I kept telling myself, and it was probably true, but it didn’t make the guilt go away.
I fixed her room up as pretty as I could. Homey? Yes, but not “home.” I prayed she wouldn’t notice.
The weather echoed my mood. Dense fog and dreariness. Days… no, weeks of it. The wettest February we’d had in recent history. It didn’t help that I had the flu, and that my husband would be flying to the other side of the world in a couple of days.
I was in bed, fighting the fever when my phone rang. Mama was having a meltdown. I could hear her yelling in the background.
My heart sank.
The hopes I’d had of a smooth transition swirled down the drain. They transported her to the hospital where they could manage her meds, figure out the magic balance between keeping her calm enough for them to handle, and zombie-like.
It was hard for me, but I couldn’t imagine what my daddy was going through. His sweetheart of over 60 years had been stolen away and in her place was this stranger who didn’t know him. That wasn’t even counting how she’d hurt him…emotionally, physically; scars I could see and those I couldn’t.
After two weeks of medication in the hospital, I got another phone call. This time it was my dad who informed me that Mama just fell and was complaining of pain in her hip. X-rays showed the fracture. Surgery was scheduled for the following morning. What else?
Rehab followed, such that it was. She was uncooperative with the physical therapist, and lost her ability to walk. Then her ability to talk. Then her ability to swallow. She was sliding downward to the end, and there was nothing anybody could do to stop it.
It was during this horrible time that God gave me the idea for a story. I write suspense. The edge-of-your-seat kind, but always with a good ending.Tweet
This time the story was a bit darker: a serial killer uses verses of the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby” as the blueprint of his murders, while the protagonist is able to dream bits and pieces of the murders before they happen, but there aren’t enough clues for her to stop them. I decided to make that character’s mother have Alzheimer’s.
Not nice; I know, but that decision allowed me to use some of the things Mama said and did in the story.
It was a way to keep her memory alive… to honor her. And it also allowed a release of some of the negative emotions that came with watching her die.
I decided to take it a step further, though. I’ll be donating a portion of sales to Alzheimer’s research to help them find a cure. It’s my hope that someday soon others won’t have to go through what my family did, and that’s the best gift I can give.
From back cover of Hush – by Leanna Sain
She dreams a murder before it happens. A young woman is strangled while her killer sings the words from the lullaby, “Hush, Little Baby.”
Lacey Campbell’s life is full, but not idyllic. As head chef for a chic restaurant and primary caregiver to a mother with Alzheimer’s, she doesn’t have time for the nightmare and at first she tries to deny it. But the next day, she discovers it’s a disturbing reality. When she dreams the second heinous murder she knows it’s time to tell the police.
Detective Ford Jamison is called back to the little coastal town to help with the case and soon notices an alarming trend: the killer is using the lullaby as a “blueprint” to target women who resemble Lacey. This doesn’t slow the killings and now Lacey is afraid to fall asleep at night because the next face she sees in her dream might be her own.
As a hurricane churns ever closer to the little coastal town, danger and suspicion spin out of control. Time is running out. Can they stop the killer before the last verse of the lullaby?
Leanna Sain, earned her BA from the University of South Carolina before moving back to the NC mountains. She calls Miracle Hill Farm home, but she lives mostly in her imagination. Her Southern suspense or “GRIT-lit,” showcases her plot-driven method that successfully rolls elements of best-selling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Nicholas Sparks, and Jan Karon all together, making it her own. She loves leading discussion groups and book clubs. For more information or to contact her visit: www.LeannaSain.com
Website and blog: http://leannasain.com