Message From The Author
Ripped From the Headlines...
Greed, lust and family secrets shatter lives in Patricia Potters BROKEN HONOR.
by Tara Gelsomino
Some journalists never shake their nose for news.
Though its been nearly 13 years since she worked as a reporter for
The Atlanta Journal, when Patricia saw an intriguing article in her local paper in October 1999, her penchant for a good story was piqued. Id recently finished my first romantic suspense for Berkley, The Perfect Family, and was looking for a new idea. Then a headline jumped out at me: U.S. Forces Tied To Nazi War Loot. A special U.S. Commission investigating Holocaust assets in the United States had issued a report on an event that happened 50 years earlierU.S. forces captured a Nazi gold train toward the end of the war; valuables disappeared, never to be found.
All the bells in my head went off.
Patricia was particularly interested by the ramifications the article would have today. It was not so much that the event took placeAmerican forces accused of stealing Nazi lootso much as the fact that it came to light 50 years later. Generals were named. How did their children and grandchildren feel? How can you prove or disprove something that happened generations ago? How do you find out who was guilty of theftif, indeed, anyone was?
As the questions raced through Patricias brain, she knew shed found her next novel. Ironically, her editor at Berkley, Gail Fortune, had just read a similar, more in-depth article on the looting in the New York Times and was also intrigued. Patricia got the go-ahead and went to work, imagining what-if scenarios to the extreme. Her second romantic suspense, Broken Honor, takes up where the newspaper article left off, answering all the questions Patricia could dream up and more. The story begins when newspapers across the country report the long-forgotten looting incident. Soon, the four grandchildren of the generals named in the report find themselves in jeopardy.
To create the characters of the grandchildren, Patricia drew on opposing dynamics to craft four very diverse individuals whose personalities clash and clang at every opportunity. I love exploring the forces that might make people what they are today. So [I thought] who would be the children and grandchildren of these generals? Well, there might be the tradition-bound scion. The son of an officer of an officer of an officer. A family steeped in military tradition. Out of that came IrishColonel Lucien Irish Flaherty followed a hundred years of military tradition in his family. His whole life is duty, honor, country. Hes appalled when he reads the report and the shadow it casts on his grandfathers reputation and honor.
Irish vows to get to the bottom of the missing loot, and his quest sends him on a search for the other generals histories and into the lives of their grandchildren, starting with Amy Mallory, a history professor who specializes in U.S. war protests. The daughter of a flower child who opposed her fathers involvement in the war, Amys wary of military men and just as Irish starts to get in touch with her, several attempts on her life are made. Can she trust him or is he the one trying to kill her?
The remaining two grandchildren are also opposites. Dustin is an ambitious assistant Secretary of State, who will do anything to protect his career. His cousin Sally has never found her place in life; her own chaotic upbringing makes it impossible for her to make a commitment.
Are they also victims? Or are they involved in the violence that swirls around Amy and Irish? Well, youll have to read BROKEN HONOR to find out. But suffice it to say, Dustin especially seems to be a particularly curious creature, with an overwhelming, almost menacing drive to succeed and a creepy bond with his cousin that seems quasi-incestuous. I love writing complex family relationships and few, I expect, are as complex as these people. I also enjoy writing about people who are neither all good or all bad, but a combination of the two.
Duality is a concept thats become quite familiar to Patricia. Shes always written in more than one subgenre, penning contemporaries for Silhouette Intimate Moments, historicals for Harlequin and Bantam, and currently shes writing a Scottish trilogy for Jove along with her romantic suspense for Berkley. Still, one thing all her recent novels have in common is that they all revolve around secretsespecially juicy, explosive family secrets.
And Patricia knows from family secrets. She was in her 30s when a long-lost member of her own family surfaced and a family reunion was organized. Patricia met for the first time an entire branch of the family tree that she never knew existed, and over subsequent years and reunions, family secrets spilled outtales of violence and suicide that had ripped the family apart. Those stories inspired her first romantic suspense (sold last year), and the love of exploring family secrets is something that has stayed with her. I like the emotional appeal of family secrets. For me, it deepens the potential for characterization. Exploring relationships and the past add a certain richness and accelerate the suspense. Sure enough, Patricias next romantic suspense due out in January 2003 also involves family secrets. A young woman from Colorado discovers she is the daughter of a Boston crime lord and has a twin brother shed never known about. Danger stalks her from the moment she learns her entire life has been a lie.
Before that though, its back to historicals in July 2002. THE DIAMOND KING features Alex, the brother of the heroine in The Heart Queen. Its another mismatch: a fugitive Jacobite escaping from Scotland after the war of 45 and a Campbell lass who has agreed to a marriage of convenience in the colonies. If these two can conquer hundreds of years of hatred, then anything is possible
And in Patricias world, anything is!
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