I'm sure you'll find the background to her novel very interesting. Over to Maris...
Thank you, Cathie. For years I’ve written romances and mysteries where the heroine’s age was somewhere between 25 and 35. Women in their prime, both physically and sexually. When I started writing and being published, I wasn’t far from that age group, but that was many years ago. Now my body isn’t as limber as it once was, and gravity (and too many cocktail parties) has changed the silhouette of my figure. I took Judo in my late teens and I can still remember the things I used to be able to do, how easily I could escape from a hold or throw someone to the ground. I wonder, at my age, would I still be able to do those things?
It was that question and a TV show called “Nikita” that led to A Killer Past. I wondered what Nikita would be like in her seventies. Or Lara Croft?
Mary Harrington is a feisty seventy-four-year-old widow who has a past she’s kept secret for forty-four years. She knows her life depends on her former employer never knowing where she lives, and she certainly doesn’t want her son or granddaughter discovering what she did in her twenties. But when two gang members try to mug her, she automatically reacts as she’d been trained, putting the two in the hospital.
Although Mary denies being involved, Jack Rossini, the local police officer investigating the incident, believes she was. He’s concerned that the gang will retaliate, and he can’t understand Mary’s reticence to press charges. When he tries to find out more about her, he discovers there is nothing prior to her moving to Rivershore, Michigan. In fact, his prying leads to an ominous warning to back off.
Writing this story was fun and interesting. My research led to articles about 80- and 90-year-olds still able to participate in physical activities that I couldn’t to do even in my younger years: gymnastics, marathons, swimming, and more. I learned that one of the best ways to enjoy my senior years was to stay active, both physically and mentally. And I loved creating a kickass heroine who actually could kick ass.
~~~A Killer Past:
Most people in the town of Rivershore, Michigan view Mary Harrington as a quiet widow whose only oddity is that she spends a lot of time at the gym. Her son thinks it’s time for her to move into a retirement home.
Two gang members think she’ll be an easy target. No one in Rivershore knows what Mary did in her younger years—really did—but the two gang members discover they’ve underestimated their victim . . . and Mary fears reverting to old habits may have jeopardized her future.
A Killer Past
by Maris Soule
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo Books | Books-A-Million
Genre: Mystery / Suspense
Published by: Robert Hale / Hale Books
Release Date: June 1, 2015
Length: 224 Pages
The telephone rang and Mary groaned as she pushed herself away from the kitchen table and the cup of tea she'd been nursing. Although she'd taken a hot bath and downed two aspirin before going to bed, she'd had a rough time getting to sleep, and so far had accomplished little since waking. She would swear every muscle in her body ached, and even though her ankle wasn't swollen, a large black-and-blue area was forming where her shin had hit the tall one's legs. She also had a bruise on the side of her hand, on her wrist, and part way up her right arm. The long sleeves of her bulky black turtle-neck sweater, along with her orange-colored sweatpants covered most of the discoloration, but the areas were super sensitive to the touch.
And here she'd thought she was staying in shape.
All those hours she'd spent at the gym working out on the weight machines and fast walking—never running—on the treadmill certainly hadn't prepared her for last night. Or maybe they had. She smiled and slowly limped toward the phone. She might be hurting, but she'd bet those boys hurt even more.
"Pick on an old lady, will you," she muttered as she lifted the receiver.
"What?" a high-pitched, quavering voice ask on the other end of the line. "That you, Mary?"
"It's me, Ella," Mary answered and eased herself onto the stool she kept near the telephone.
Ella Williams lived two doors down and across the street from Mary, and a call from her always turned into a long ordeal, which was why Mary kept the stool by the phone. Today she was glad she did.
"Did you hear what happened last night?" Ella said, slightly breathless.
"No…" Mary's stomach tightened. "What happened?"
"A couple of kids got beat up on Archer Street. Beat up bad, they say."
"How bad?" Mary asked, hoping she hadn't delivered any fatal blows or inflicted damage the boys couldn't recover from.
"Bad enough to put them in the hospital."
"They're in the hospital?"
"Were." Ella paused and yelled. "Cleopatra, get off the counter."
Mary flinched as Ella's voice pierced her ear. Ella yelling at her cats, of which she had way too many, was a common occurrence during their telephone conversations. Best to wait, Mary had learned, until Ella took care of whatever problem the cats were causing, otherwise she'd be talking to dead air.
"Now, where was I?" Ella finally said when she came back on the line.
"You said the boys were in the hospital. They're now out? They're okay?"
"I guess. Nancy's the one who told me about the incident. I stopped at the hospital for my flu shot, and she asked if I'd heard what happened."
Nancy had been one of the nurses who had helped during Harry's last days. She was a sweet woman, very caring, and she and her husband lived in the neighborhood, on the next block over. "Did Nancy say who attacked the boys?" Mary asked, afraid that was the reason Ella was calling. If Ella knew she'd been involved, the whole world would soon know.
"She said they kept changing their stories. First they said a woman attacked them, then they said it was a ninja, a guy all dressed in black."
"A ninja?" Mary laughed and glanced toward the front door, where she'd hung her black windbreaker on one of the hooks.
"It's not funny," Ella snapped. "This neighborhood’s not what it used to be. Nancy said these guys were gang members, that she was scared just being near them. If they're on Archer Street, how much longer before they're on our street? I won't even drive through that area anymore. It's just blacks and Mexicans."
"Ella, your prejudices are showing."
"I don't care. Things were better when you and I first moved here. People took care of their places, kept up their yards. You could go for a walk at night and not worry about gangs. I'm afraid to even turn on my light tonight for trick-or-treat. Did you see on the television there was another gang shooting in the trailer park across the river?"
"I saw." She'd been watching television all morning, waiting to see if there was anything about the boys or if anyone had recognized her. One reporter on the six-thirty news said there'd been a gang fight on Archer Street, and anyone with information should call the police, but that was it. From seven o'clock on it was all about the gang shooting in the trailer park.
No mention of her, and she certainly wasn't going to call the police and tell them anything.
“Aren’t you afraid?” Ella asked.
“Afraid?” Mary repeated and thought about the word. For years she'd been afraid someone would recognize her, but time had eased that fear. And growing up she'd lived with fear, but somehow she'd survived. Now that she was in her seventies, she didn't even fear death. Not that she wanted to die, but with Harry gone, the idea didn't seem as terrifying. "Afraid of what?"
“Being mugged," Ella said. "I mean, if it could happen to two teenagers, it could happen to us. Who knows who's going to be on the streets tonight. I hope mothers are wise enough to go trick-or-treating with their children."
"I just hope I have enough candy."
"Speaking of children," Ella went on, "I see your car isn't in your driveway. So did Robby drive you home last night?"
Mary avoided a direct answer by telling the truth. “He's sure his mom is getting too old to take care of herself."
“Well, he's got a point," Ella agreed. “I tell you, it’s not safe for someone our age to be out after dark. Not safe at all."
~~~About Maris Soule:
Writer, teacher, artist, wife, mother, dog trainer, horse rider, boater.
Maris Soule can list an array of occupations and avocations. Even as a writer, her 29 published books span a variety of genres and subgenres, ranging from short stories to romances, romantic suspense, and mystery.
A two-time RITA finalist, Soule has placed in and won several writing contests.
Born and raised in California, Soule and her husband now spend their summers in Michigan and their winters in Florida.
Maris's Media Links:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter | Amazon Author Page
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