His Voice Was Her Heartbeat
Malnutrition, cruelty and blazing heat were the unbearable realities of the South American prison. All that stood behind newscaster MJ Blake and the madness of despair was a stranger’s voice.
As the days turned into weeks, the unseen reporter in the adjoining cell gave MJ courage when she needed it, replaced her apathy with anger, and even made her laugh. They shared whispered memories, hopes, secrets and regrets …
Eighteen months after winning her freedom, MJ was pretending that her life, her work and her psyche weren’t ravaged by a season in the darkest corner of hell.
And then MJ heard the voice …
There are always so many sources for our ideas. Some we search for, others just appear when we least expect it.
That’s what happened to me late one night in 1989.
Since my husband traveled a lot and I’m a night owl to begin with, I enjoyed watching a lot of late night TV. One such night, I watched a documentary on PBS about posttraumatic stress disorder also known as combat fatigue and shell shock. John Huston made this documentary in 1946 but it was banned from public view for 30 years. It showed soldiers entering a hospital and the care they received.
By the time it was finished I was crying and I knew I had the beginning of an idea. During that time I also saw a news story on military nurses who suffered PTSD after returning from war zones.
But how would I write it?
No. I thought if soldiers suffered this, why not others who entered combat zones. That’s when I thought of war correspondents. MJ Blake popped into my head and the story was born. She worked as a war correspondent and in the beginning of the book was shut up in a cell in a South American prison with her only human contact the prisoner in the next cell. Naturally a guy with a gorgeous Australian accent and even if she couldn’t see him, she had someone to talk to.
Except when MJ escapes the prison she leaves damaged. I knew that her boss would need to see something that would really hit home and one morning a sonic boom overhead gave me that idea. A sonic boom over MJ’s office that had her scrambling for cover.
And why MJ shows up at a retreat that’s set up to help those like her and yes, Jake Palmer is also there, because he was equally damaged.
While they’re seeking help, they also seek each other, because they feel no one else can understand them.
My Harlequin American Romance Voices in the Night was released in 1991. It wasn’t an easy book to write, but I felt compelled and to this day I’m happy I’m did.