Years ago, when my children were still small and I was a high school administrator, I was also pursuing my graduate degree in counseling psychology with specialization in criminal justice. I served an intensive practicum and internship that required my counseling as many as 30 individuals a week, most survivors of child sexual abuse, and I also served as a liaison to the local police department in the Youth Criminal Investigations Division. Somehow or other I managed to get appointed to the county child welfare board and ultimately served the board for seven years, the final two as chairperson. Needless to say, I was busy and often completely overwhelmed with abuse issues, past and present.
There came a time when I couldn’t sleep because of the dreams that haunted me. Victims were everywhere and suspects got off all the time. The things that are perpetrated upon children, even in small towns, most people don’t want to know. And yet, as long as they’re hidden, how can we stop them?
I’ve always written, from the time I was a small child. Reading a good book gives opportunity to escape boredom or all manner of ills. For me, writing does the same. When I became pregnant with my fifth and last child, I had to cut back. I simply couldn’t continue working under that kind of stress, but you never forget. When I sat down to write, I didn’t know what the story would be. I created a character named Shari who, like me, worked for a while with child protective services, then opted to get her graduate degree in psychology and go to work for the police department, hopefully to make a difference.
So in some ways, I guess she’s like me, but she’s not me. One of the best parts of being an author is I can easily strengthen someone’s weakness. And I can exercise a measure of control over the outcomes one can never control in real life. Shari is part me, and part who I’d like to be. I hope she’s part you, too, and that you’ll find her engaging and very real. Perfect she’s not, but when she comes across a case in which wrong has been done to a child, she’s relentless in seeking justice and healing for the families involved.
Angel Killer is not a cozy mystery, as you probably have already deduced. It’s the first in a series of Shari Markham Mysteries. I hope you’ll meet Shari and her family and friends, and that you’ll like her enough to enjoy several more books to come!