This book cover really caught my eye. Since I read Vicki's first book Forget Me Not. I was looking forward to reading the sequel to that book, Deadly Ties.

To me this looked like a haunting tale. I kind of thought that they might steal or hide the girl in the picture. I was hoping by the cover this book wouldn't be too creepy to read. I am in the chicken-readers club! I can't read too scary a book!

I'm happy to report that I just finished reading the Advance Reader galley copy of this book (thanks for Vicki) and I was right on a couple of points. The main character in this book Lisa was stolen and had been in hiding. But according to Lisa she never remembered this event and her mother Annie wanted to keep it that way. Her mom tried to hide it from her by never talking about it and prayed the Lord would give her the strength to deal with the drama when Lisa did remember.

This is one action packed book I loved. It made me want to ask the author some really indepth questions about the characters in her book. They were an unusual bunch! There were some characters I warmed up to quickly, like Lisa, Annie and Mark Taylor!


Check out the HUGE CONTEST mentioned at the Christian Fiction On-Line Magazine - Click the Link to read about the Big Give Away!

Hi, Book Clubs;

I wanted to give everyone a sneak-peek into Vicki’s New book Deadly Ties. It’s one of the books being given away in the current contest at TBCN. I just finished this book, the sequel to Forget Me Not, LOVE IT Vicki!! Boy can you write a suspenseful story! It's definitely a 007 type book with a shade of the A-team mixed in! I'm very thankful for the galley copy of your new book.

Vicki: Oh, thank you, Nora. I'm so glad you liked it!

I did Vicki; I wanted to ask you some burning questions I haveabout your book. Could you please answer them for me?
Vicki: Sure!

1. How did you come up with the organization name Nina?
Vicki: I knew what I wanted in the organization--one that had the stomach for terrorist attacks but also one that funded its ideology with criminal activities. That to me made the organization most terrifying because it made it most unpredictable. If driven solely by ideology, you know what to expect and you know what their worst is. But if you toss in that criminal activity to fund the terrorist activities, then you have no idea where the organization draws its proverbial lines in the sand. What won't it do? That becomes more the question, and that takes the fear to a whole new level. It is, simply put, capable of anything--our most dreaded nightmares and greatest fears. And that's the most formidable enemy I could imagine.

2. What kind of research did you do in preparing to write about this?
Vicki: Once I figured out what I wanted in the organization, I went in search of viable philosophies for it. Nihilists and Anarchists came up. The traditional definition of a Nihilist is one who deems human existence holds no value, no objective meaning, and no intrinsic value. Anarchists want to abolish any authority in human relations, a stateless society. So both fit in that the organization would recognize no authority, no state, doing as it pleases, and have no qualms in destroying families, men and women and children because they hold no value. This is a terrifying prospect, but it is also the anthesis of the beliefs of a Christian, which makes it the most challenging enemy of all those at Crossroads Crisis Center, who are Christians.

I've researched terrorist groups and terrorist activities for a long time, and also try to stay current on their methods and means. So it was simply a matter of marrying aspects of the truth with fiction and then projecting what would be logical, credible moves for the organization and those battling against it.

3. This is an action adventure novel filled with a variety of BAD guys. How did you get the ideas for them all?

Vicki: Each had a specific role to play in the story. So you look at that role and what kind of person would likely be in it. Character traits, ideas and attitudes that would be natural to them. And you look at what they do, why they do it, and how they do the things they do. Each of those persons has to view the world and life in a specific way, through his own prism, to do these things. So that's how the characters are created. Then you look at all of that, and you ask yourself: Is he strong enough, smart enough, and capable of doing what I say he's doing? How is that being shown? How is he proving it? When you've done that, and you see his worst--and at times, his best--then he's a terrifying villain. Then you can see him doing all that he does in the way he does it and you also know that your heroine and hero have to be just as strong and determined to stop him.

4. Vicki; your bad guys were all so different. On the one hand you had Dutch, a strange sort for sure! He was evil and yet a chicken at the same time. He paid people to do the evil he dreamed of. He loved watching others carry out his ideas. You wrote him good because I didn't like him as a person. At the same time I felt sick to my stomach when I thought about his evil deeds because I knew in my heart of hearts there are people out there like Dutch, more than I cared to think of. How did you come up with his evil one?

Vicki: To me, Dutch is like too many case study abusers. In some senses, he's classic. Evil but weak when confronted, and then angry because he's weak. And that's when he becomes most dangerous because he has to prove to you and to himself he's in control. He's strong. But because he isn't, he uses others to do the dirty work, protecting himself, and giving him someone else to blame in the case of failure. It isn't what Dutch and those like him do in the light of day that's scary. It's what they do in the dark, behind the scenes, in secret. AVery dangerous man.

5. I thought Karl Masson was a bad guy with a bit of a heart (very little), which surprised me. He was a complex Bad guy; I felt sorry for and liked him a little. Karl was a professional; it was all business to him. He was good at what he did. He had a job to do and did it, from human trafficking, delivering drugs, or killing someone, didn't matter. It was all in a day's work. I had to chuckle at the fact that Karl had no patience for Dutch! Karl thought Dutch was despicable! For one bad guy not to like the other made me smile. Each bad guy has his own moral code; obviously they didn't follow the one in the Bible. Karl thought Dutch didn't deserve the beautiful family he had. If he had his way he would kill Dutch to put his family out of their misery! How did you come up with the character Karl? He was definitely a complex man.

Vicki: Karl evolved. Being all bad isn't as interesting or as hard to best as someone who is a bit of both. Pure evil is predictable. You know to expect their worst, and when you're good at what you do, that can be awful. But it can also be boring because evil is well evil. Mix in even just a dab of good and then he becomes more interesting. I did a study years ago about inmates in prison. Each prisoner did have his own personal code of ethics. The criminals considered the bottom feeders were those who hurt or harmed children. The other prisoners treated those criminals with disdain and contempt. Karl is like that. He loved his family. Dutch treated his family horribly and Karl found that contemptuous. To him, killing Dutch would be sparing Dutch's family. In Karl's eyes, that would be him doing a good deed, not committing murder. It is murder, of course, and the rest of us know it. But we view these things through our eyes, not through the eyes of a professional cleaner. Karl views the world through his eyes, his experiences, his mission. It's dark and twisted, but it makes sense to him. We understand it, we just don't agree with it. This makes him unpredictable to us. He might be swayed to act or not act, to save or kill someone for reasons known only to him. I had to write Karl to see what he was going to do. I was never sure exactly what he'd do in any given situation.

6. Then there was Mr. Phen, your extreme bad guy! Mr. Phen dripped with evil. Lisa says this about him, "his torture chamber made a bullet to the head welcome." How did you come up with him? Did it creep you out to write about Mr. Phen? I know it creeped me out to read about him. I'm thankful he wasn't in a huge part of the book. I'm a chicken at heart and wouldn't have been able to finish reading the book. I wanted to know how you came up with Mr. Phen?

Vicki: Mr. Phen came from studying human trafficking and then imagining the kind of person it would take to do such a horrific thing to other human beings. He embodies what I consider the worst in the worst of us; a deviate who fathoms himself a dark god born to rule over others' futures. People exist to serve him, to do his bidding, and if they don't, he'll kill them. Unfortunately, there are those who revel in these dark forces. The same God who created us created them, but somewhere along they way, they let evil in and embraced it and then gave it free reign to terrorize others for their own sick pleasure in doing so. Having control, the power of life and death, makes them feel powerful and strong. In the end, they die like everyone else, so it's an illusion, of course, but it's one in which they elect to shun the truth about themselves and their actions. I think of people like Mr. Phen, I imagine the devil celebrating and God weeping.

Yes, Mr. Phen did creep me out. For many reasons, not the least of which was him gloating about making kids the littlest victims. Christ instructs us very clearly on how we're to treat children, and Mr. Phen violates every instruction. So more than creeping me out, he outraged me. He sees himself as strong and powerful but making victims of kids? He's the weakest of the weak and the worst kind of coward--the truth God will reveal to the man in His own time and in His own way.

I wrote about him because his kind is real, operating here today. We'd all love to close our eyes and not see it, not know it, but we can't do that. We have our instructions and they include looking out for the little ones. If not us, then who will do that? They're waiting, hoping, and that's why I wrote through it. Honestly, I was upset by it but we should be upset by it. Lord, help us if we're not upset by it.

7. Loved Annie! I couldn't also believe that someone like her existed. She was a prisoner in her own home yet she learned to work the system her husband set up for her. I don't think I could have lasted in Annie's situation very long. How did you come up with her? Met anyone like Annie?

Vicki: Annie--the kind of woman she is and what she's willing to do to protect her kids--is a lot like my mother. She would have moved mountains and endured whatever for her children. She (and my father) did leave everything they had--home, business, and friends, all of it--to protect my brother. I deeply admired and respected her for her devotion and selflessness. Still do.

The abused Annie is a composite of abuse victims. I studied a lot about abuse when I was in college, read a lot of case studies, and in most, the victims were women. They stayed largely for two reasons:

1. They had nowhere to go. 2. They had no money and no means of support. So they did what women do. They improvised. They found a way to live within the confines of their situation and did their best to protect themselves and their children as best they could. Today there are shelters and groups to help people in these situations. But thirty years ago, these women were pretty much on their own. Call the police for help, and the response was "We don't get involved in family disputes." It's just the way things were then.

Through the years, I've met many women like Annie. A piece of your heart remains with each of them.

8. What would you do in Annie's situation?
Vicki: Leave. Hide until I didn't have to hide anymore. Start over and begin again. But I say that having studied hundreds and hundreds of cases and knowing that they seldom end well for the women who stay, or for the children in that environment. Now there are places to go, people and groups willing to help. It's kind of like considering yourself a cup. Abuse soils the cup. But removed from it, you can wash the cup and refill it with good things, a good life, a better life for you and your children. I think the key is in not become a permanent victim to your past. You let go of the victim mentality and seek strength and the determination to build a better life. Frankly, I think I'd find this a daunting proposition if not for faith. With it, knowing that if you take the first step and do what you can do, God will do the rest that would make it possible.

9. I really liked Lisa. She was a bright spot in the middle of the darkness. She had spunk, was fun, strong and battled many demons from her past that tried to take her down, make her fail and take over her life. How did you come up with her character?

Vicki: Lisa grew from the women who did what they had to do to not be victims. She walked when she could, crawl when she couldn't, but she found her anchor in God. She fascinated me from the very start. To stand up she needed courage, and even when terrified, she pulled on courage trusting it would come--and it did. I love so much about Lisa. Respect her and her determination. I admire her confronting her fears, acknowledging her weaknesses but not using them as excuses. I love that she had every reason to be hard and yet she chose to be understanding and compassionate. And I really admired that no matter how many times she got knocked down, she got back up. Lisa knew so long as she kept getting back up she would one day get to a point where there was nothing left behind her to knock her down anymore. When I saw that in her--it wasn't planned, just showed up--I was deeply moved. It awed me.

10. Now let’s talk about Mark Taylor and his A-team. I loved Mark too! He was a tough guy, with a tender spirit and haunted by his own demons from the past. I enjoyed reading about a man that respected Lisa and loved her enough to not force a romantic relationship with him. Mark was tender, fun an very patient with Lisa and her needs. A hero in the middle off all these jaded men. How did you develop his character?

Vicki: I wish I could take credit for developing Mark, but honestly, he developed himself. What I mean is that he acted and reacted in the way I imagined a true hero would. You expect a hero to be brave and strong and good and decent, but Mark's innate wisdom in how he treated Lisa and Annie, that unconditional support he offered them both, well, that elevated him to heroic in my eyes. He stole my heart in checking on Annie as he did. And then again at Annie's hospital bedside. For all his abilities and skills, he is wise enough to know he can't rely just on himself. He needs God, and during his spiritual journal, he brought me along for the ride. I so understood his quest and search, and his awakening. The vulnerability in it, the sheer sense of awe he felt, I felt it with him. I loved that. It takes a strong man to react so honestly. I loved that.

11. I've read two of your books now. Forget Me Not (which was ACFW's Book Club pick this year) and Deadly Ties. Both of them have been filled with action, adventure and suspense. I've enjoyed them and been touched by the message inside each one. I was challenged by the strong spiritual thread in both books but especially the one in Deadly Ties. Vicki your characters are believable and so was their spiritual quest in the middle of such horrific situations.

Vicki: Thanks, Nora. I'm so glad. It's easy to get caught up in our own physical lives and emotional dramas and ignore our spiritual growth, but I believe it is from the spiritual that the physical and emotional manifest. We all go through challenges. Thankfully they're not all as horrific as occur in these books, but for us, in our lives, they are horrific and hard. So I hope readers will read them and think, you know, if these people can tend to their spiritual selves in these situations, I surely can tend to mine in my situation. That's my hope.

12. I also wanted to cheer for Lisa when she created her diversion to help the stolen women escape. Others might think the distraction silly but I truly believe God's word is alive! The word spoken has more power than I realize or give it credit. It was great to be reminded about that and see it in action. How did you come up with that scene (without giving it away)?

Vicki: In that situation, where there seems to be no way--no weapon, nothing to use to help oneself, no way out--there is something that is always there, always waiting, always ready to intercede on our behalf. God. His Word. It is alive, Nora. He is with us always, even in the heart of crisis or tragedy. When you have nothing else (or, what happens most often is that people try everything else and then turn to God as a last resort), you do still have the best. That was the point. Perhaps some will consider it silly, but you know, in my experience, when people are doing things they shouldn't be doing, they know it. And the thing they hate most is being called down on it. When they are, they can't run away from their consciences or from the truth. They're forced to look in the mirror and see themselves and what they're doing for what it really is. And they don't like that because they don't like what they see. They don't fare well in the contrast. So they run, as fast and far as they can run from the truth because then they can bury their consciences again. Yet sooner or later, there's nowhere to run and the truth is exposed and they're staring themselves in the face and others are seeing them for what and who they are. They face the truth and feel the shame of it.

That's what I wanted to impart in that scene, and there is no stronger weapon or shield than the Word.

13. What do you hope readers walk away with after reading your book?

Vicki: This is always the hardest question for me about any of my books because I infuse each one with so many hopes. That readers will see the power of faith, see the hand of God in their lives in ways they thought were too trivial for Him to bother (but He always does!). That readers will find hope in their situations, find strength in seeing how the characters dealt with tough situations and hard times. Constructive solutions. Faith to keep trying, keep seeking. Strength and hope. So many things, Nora.

I guess the best way to answer this is that I hope whatever need brings a reader to the book, in it, he or she finds something of value to them that lasts a lifetime. Some something of value.

14. You talk about human trafficking along with other deeds Nina participates in. The human trafficking part was pretty detailed and the final end to what they wanted these humans to do was really sickening. I know that the human trafficking is all too real, which made your story stand out in my mind as something that could be taken out of today’s headlines. What made you talk about this topic and what research did you do in order to prepare you to write about it?

Vicki: I've been studying it for years. So many women and children disappear and are never seen or heard from again, and often it's because they've become victims of trafficking. Men aren't exempt, just not as prevalent as women and children. It started with noting the absence of legal legislation and laws on the books to protect these victims. From there, the interest grew and when the US passed a law that made it illegal to fly to another country (Mexico was at the heart of it) for the purpose of having relations with a minor, and I learned there were cities there where this is acceptable and the "specialty", I was just sick for the kids. Many turn to drugs and suicide, Nora It’s heartbreaking and disgraceful. Anyway, I had to write about it. I just had to, so others too knew what was happening.

15. What are you working on now? Is there a book three in this series? Could you give us a sneak peek into what we can look forward to from you!! I would love to know.

Vicki: I'm working on Beth and Joe's story, NOT THIS TIME. It is a Crossroads Crisis Center story, yes. And you'll get to visit with Jeff and Nora and many of the others you've come to know in Forget Me Not and Deadly Ties. I have to check in on them to see what they're up to, you know. Not very far into the story just yet, but the opening scene scared my socks off. That's a good sign. :)

Thanks Vicki for helping us get to know your characters better and for giving us a peek into your next book.

Vicki: Thank you, Nora.

Vicki; Both of your books have been powerful but for me Deadly Ties was so gripping and the strong spiritual thread drew me in, I couldn't stop reading. It made me think about what I would do given the same situation. I can't wait to hear back from the Book Club that wins your book and has it as their book club pick!

Nora :D

Vicki: Me, too! It's been a pleasure to talk with you about the characters and the book. Thanks so much for asking and for your kind words. I appreciate them so much!




DEADLY TIES - COMING IN FEBRUARY 2011Available for PREORDER now at your favorite bookseller.
Book Summery: Lisa Harper and Mark Taylor’a story. Includes the staff from Crossroads Crisis Center and NINA.

“DEADLY TIES is Vicki Hinze at her absorbing best. Crisply written and fast-paced, DEADLY TIES is a can't-put-down story of depth, faith and twists and turns that would put anyone to the test.”--Carla Neggers, NYT Bestselling Author


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