Lifestyle - Only Girl Alive
BEHIND THE STORY

There is a story behind every book I write. From Detective Eve Bennet to my steamy romance, I rely on life experience and research to guide my writing. Welcome to Wicked Story Telling behind the scenes.


Behind the Story

Story Behind the Story: BREACH

I want you to picture a young girl living in Florida near the Gulf of Mexica riding her bike every summer day to go swim in the ocean. If friends weren’t available, I would go on my own. Yeah, I know swimming alone isn’t wise but I was a water child and lived to swim and explore. There was an outcropping of huge boulders near the pier in Ft. Walton Beach that was a favorite of mine for jumping and playing pirates or mermaids. One night (we had a sitter for the weekend), I rode my bike to the pier just to see the ocean. It was a big deal because one of my mom’s rules was no bike riding after dark, but remember, babysitter. About an hour into my curiosity of what they fished for on the pier, someone caught something big. I stayed and watched until they pulled in a twelve foot giant hammerhead shark. I had never seen anything like it. The fisherman and the shark fought a battle I will never forget. The other interesting reaction I had was the sadness that such an awesome creature died. It stayed with me. Now transport yourself forward in time two years. We moved from Florida to California and I was back on the ocean again. Before I could dip my toe in the water and return to my mermaid roots, my mom took me to the drive in theater to see the latest hit movie. JAWS. My ocean adventures came to an end because sharks scared the shit out of me. And now, I hope to scare the shit out of you with BREACH.


Diving into the Depths: The Research Journey for "Breach"

Writing a novel is an adventure, a deep dive into the unknown where each chapter is a stroke that takes you closer to the abyss of your imagination. When I began working on "Breach", I knew I wanted to create a narrative that was as immersive and intense as the deep-sea adventures that formed its backdrop. This post will take you behind the scenes into the extensive research and personal experiences that shaped this underwater thriller.


The Spark of Inspiration

The inspiration for "Breach" stemmed from my endless fascination with sharks that sprang up because I spent my days swimming in the Gulf of Mexico as a child when Jaws, the movie, released. The unpredictable ocean and shark life intrigued and terrified me. I was drawn not only to the physical dangers but also to the psychological impact of isolation while fighting for your life. This sparked the idea of a story that combined suspense, the raw force of nature, and the human element of resilience.


Researching the Deep Blue

The first step in my research was to understand the environment where my story would unfold. I submerged myself in studies about marine biology, oceanography, and the ecological impacts of deep-sea fishing. Books, scientific articles, and watching interviews with marine experts on YouTube expanded my knowledge base, allowing me to paint a vivid picture of the ocean's beauty and brutality.


One of the most impactful experiences was a trip I took on a fishing boat with my family twenty years ago. We arrived at the marina and my youngest turned to me and said, “We need a bigger boat.” Spending the day in the ocean’s vastness helped me capture the essence of life aboard a yacht—the smells, the sway of the deck under my feet, and the endless horizon that both isolates and liberates.


Characters Born from the Sea

The characters in "Breach" are as complex as the ocean itself. From Kate, the determined mother, to Ryan, the precocious five-year-old, each character was sculpted to reflect the range and depth of human emotion when those you love the most are in danger.


Challenges Along the Way

Writing "Breach" had its challenges. Translating the fear and allure of the ocean depths into compelling text was a formidable task that often left me as isolated as my characters.


Conclusion

The research for "Breach" was a deep dive into the unknown, much like the adventures of the Carter family. This journey not only educated me about the world beneath the waves but also about the resilience of the human spirit. I hope that readers feel that cold touch of the ocean's depths and emerge thrilled and thoughtful from the story. All puns are intended.

 

The following are links I used in the research if you too would like to take a deep dive.

https://www.livescience.com/animals/sharks/2-male-great-white-sharks-have-traveled-thousands-of-miles-together-and-no-one-knows-why

https://www.sharksider.com/great-white-shark/

https://www.seekpng.com/png/detail/479-4797397_diagram-of-luxury-yacht-ship.png

https://www.exploringnature.org/graphics/bw_diagram/shark_great_white_dia_bw.jpg

https://www.sharksandrays.com/shark-terms/

https://www.greatlakesskipper.com/media/catalog/category/Boat_Parts_1.jpg

https://www.shepherd.org/programs/spinal-cord-injury/about

https://www.portofsandiego.org/experiences/where-go/explore-chula-vista/chula-vista-marina-view-park

https://www.yachtworld.com/research/yachts-vs-boats-whats-the-difference/

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/fish/facts/great-white-shark

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossary_of_nautical_terms_(A%E2%80%93L)

https://ideas.ted.com/photo-gallery-4-fascinating-behaviors-of-great-white-sharks-and-what-they-mean/

https://www.adventureaquarium.com/Blog/Sharks-and-Rays

https://www.yachtingworld.com/yachts-and-gear/generating-power-on-board-64034

https://www.csulb.edu/shark-lab/stingray-behavior-and-biology

https://www.westmarine.com/west-advisor/Selecting-a-Life-Raft.html

https://ourplnt.com/largest-great-white-sharks-ever-recorded/

https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/huge-shark-Deep-blue-pictures

https://www.ghostgear.org/

https://www.sharktrust.org/male-female-sharks

 

YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSa-TY4oDjU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XoqRcwBJxa8

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66TRqaOd81U&list=PLaYoun7dY25uXYy75Giim9JmWtvJtMacP&index=3&t=302s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9yA1oOAI5A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktcCcIYwSSI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVhcHD1KuuM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YX4Jd4B-EVo

 

 

Story Behind the Story: Eve Bennet

In 2006, Warren Jeffs was placed on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. I was working in Arizona as a sex crimes and homicide detective a few hours away from the FLDS (Fundamental Latter-Day Saints) compound in Arizona City and Hildale, Utah.

Through the years, I had come into contact with several women who had escaped Warren Jeffs and the strict rules of the FLDS. Though they remained in plural marriages, their families tried to stay under the radar and live quietly.

I worked with Mormon officers and found it strange that when I asked about the FLDS, I was assured they were not and had never been Mormon. Through my research, I’ve learned that this was not true. The FLDS and many other Mormon sects that practice polygamy believe they are the true Mormons as described by their founder and prophet Joseph Smith and continued by Brigham Young, the prophet assigned after Smith.

As per the Latter-day Saints current website:

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“In biblical times, the Lord commanded some to practice plural marriage—the marriage of one man and more than one woman. By revelation, the Lord commanded Joseph Smith to institute the practice of plural marriage among Church members in the early 1840s. For more than half a century, plural marriage was practiced by some Latter-day Saints under the direction of the Church President.”

_____________________________________________

One of the shakeups within the church happened in 1978 when the largest denomination of Mormons allowed Black men to become priests (known as taking the priesthood). Many felt this went against the teachings found in The Book of Mormon and they left the main branch and went to one of many fundamental sects that continued their racist beliefs and lived a plural marriage lifestyle. There are over 100 active polygamist cults in the U.S. I had no idea the rabbit hole I would fall into when I began my research.


_____________________________________________

"The attitude of the Church with reference to Negroes remains as it has always stood. It is not a matter of the declaration of a policy but of direct commandment from the Lord, on which is founded the doctrine of the Church from the days of its organization, to the effect that Negroes may become members of the Church but that they are not entitled to the priesthood at the present time.”
—First Presidency statement, August 17, 1949

_____________________________________________

In 2006, fugitive Warren Jeffs was arrested in Nevada during a traffic stop. In 2007, in Utah, he was sentenced to ten years to life for being an accomplice to rape of underage girls, as young as twelve. In 2010, Jeff’s conviction was overturned by a Utah court for flawed jury instructions and he was extradited to Texas and sentenced to life plus 20 years for the rape of two girls ages 13 and 15.

It was around 2010 that I became aware of the corruption in law enforcement surrounding the Hildale, Utah compound that allowed the lifestyle of child rape to flourish. To stop the corruption, a federal judge placed oversight on all law enforcement within the Hildale community. My mind took me to what if and Eve Bennet was born.

Eleven years later, I signed the 3 book contract for the Eve Bennet series with Bookouture Hachette. These books are the product of hours of blood, sweat, and research. If you are fascinated like I am, I encourage you to delve further into the following list of movies and articles I used to write the books:


MOVIES:

Banking on Heaven - 2006

The Man with 80 Wives – 2006

Damned to Heaven – 2008

Sons of Perdition – 2010

I Escaped a Cult – 2012

Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs – 2014

Prophets Pray – 2016

Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey – 2022

ARTICLES:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Jeffs

https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/manual/gospel-topics-essays/plural-marriage-in-the-church-of-jesus-christ-of-latter-day-saints?lang=eng

https://www.cnn.com/2017/04/19/us/flds-police-colorado-city-hildale-warren-jeffs/index.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Mormon_fundamentalist_leaders

https://www.ksl.com/article/3092303/dress-of-flds-women-explained-by-former-member

https://www.teenvogue.com/story/escaping-warren-jeffs-flds-polygamy-cult

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fumarase_deficiency

https://www.vice.com/en/article/qkgymp/tiny-tombstones-inside-the-flds-graveyard-for-babies-born-from-incest

https://www.hcn.org/issues/44.10/flds-continues-abusive-polygamist-practices-in-utah-and-arizona

https://www.religionnewsblog.com/15794/interview-with-former-flds-members

https://archive.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2005/06/19/polygamys_lost_boys_expelled_from_only_life_they_knew/

https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=55924890&itype=cmsid

https://greg.org/archive/2006/06/11/polygamist-slang-c.html

https://www.vice.com/en/article/ae5b7p/flds-celebrating-christmas-after-escaping-a-polygamist-mormon-cult

https://flds101.blogspot.com/2008/05/flds-beliefs-101-one-man-rule.html

https://flds101.blogspot.com/2008/05/flds-beliefs-101-family.html

https://www.uen.org/utah_history_encyclopedia/p/POLYGAMY.shtml

https://archive.sltrib.com/article.php?id=2962556&itype=CMSID

https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/united-states/quick-facts/utah/black-population-percentage#map

https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/134957v1.abstract

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/mitt-romney-and-the-true_b_1045900

https://www.fox13now.com/news/local-news/new-edict-purportedly-from-flds-leader-warren-jeffs-raises-alarm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mdg4RYM1nMo

https://www.nydailynews.com/2015/10/01/warren-jeffs-polygamist-cult-forced-men-to-watch-seed-bearers-rape-their-wives-in-ritualistic-procreation-investigator/

https://www.cnn.com/2015/09/30/us/polygamist-flds-warren-jeffs-update/

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2008/05/14/racist-flds-cult-surfaces-new-location

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9cRSaq3PaK8

https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2018/01/03/racist-cult-leaders-accused-ritualistic-sex-abuse-children-new-lawsuit

I want to thank the Reddit Community, specifically r/exmormon and r/FLDS. Through you, I have learned people can escape sex cults and live good, happy lives. Your strength is awe-inspiring.

The Eve Bennet series is available at your favorite bookstore!