Shirley Raye Redmond is the author of several sweet romance novels and dozens of children’s books. Many of her titles have won national and regional awards. She is a member of numerous writing organizations including American Christian Fiction Writer, Romance Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and SCBWI. She lives in New Mexico, has been married 41 years to her college sweetheart. They have two adult children, two adorable grandsons and one sassy Scottish terrier.
Welcome back to my blog, Shirley. Please tell us about your new book, Viper’s Nest.
Caring for her 9-year-old daughter, Pippi is Widow Wren Bergschneider's main priority. But she becomes frightened and mystified when she receives an anonymous note hinting that her husband’s traffic death the year before might not have been an accident after all. When an unidentified shooter makes Wren and her boss, history professor Allan Partner, his targets after they emerge from the basement of a 175-year-old insane asylum slated for demolition, their lives take an unexpected—and dangerous—turn.
Where did you get your inspiration for this story?
I actually had a private tour of the Jacksonville Insane Asylum many years ago. Mary Todd Lincoln was a patient there briefly following the death of President Lincoln. Built in the mid 1840s, the asylum was the product of humanitarian Dorothea Dix’s impassioned plea to the Illinois Legislature. Miss Dix was a stalwart advocate for mentally ill individuals mistreated by society. Some were locked away in cellars and attics. Others were put on display in county jails. No medical aid or social services were available at the time for those declared insane. Everyone was lumped into the same category—whether one was a cruel psychopathic killer or a melancholy young mother suffering from postpartum depression. Dorothea Dix changed that.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Originally, I wrote about my tour of the asylum for a Writer’s Digest nonfiction contest. My submission won an Honorable Mention. People who read the piece urged me to “do something else” with all the historical information I’d collected. After toying with the idea of for quite a while, I decided to write a suspense novel, using the abandoned asylum as the backdrop of the story. Besides the tour, I did a lot of research on Dorothea Dix and Nazi medical experiments during World War II.
Please tell us about one of the main characters in this story and what you like about him or her.
I am fond of Wren Bergschneider, the heroine of the story. She’s not one of those fearless women who dash headlong into danger. Being a good mother is her first priority, and that priority influences every decision she makes. Since her husband is dead, Wren realizes that if she’s too careless, her young daughter Pippi could end up an orphan. That’s her biggest fear. It makes her particularly vulnerable, and I think that adds to the suspense of the novel.
Where can my readers find you online?
I love to connect with readers through my website at www.shirleyrayeredmond.com and on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shirley-Raye-Redmond-Author/533496973399344
Thank you, Shirley, for this interview. I hope my followers will take a look at your website and check out your book. It sounds very intriguing.