This post is both a review and an interview with Novelist Maggie James. She just released The second Captive a masterfully written and compelling psychological thriller.
Amazon- The Second Captive
Stockholm syndrome: the psychological tendency of a hostage to bond with his or her captor.
What happens when you love the man you should hate?
Beth Sutton is eighteen years old when Dominic Perdue abducts her. Held prisoner in a basement, she’s dependent upon him for food, clothes, her very existence. As the months pass, her hatred towards him changes to compassion. Beth never allows herself to forget, however, that her captor has killed another woman. She has evidence to prove it, not to mention Dominic’s own admission of murder.
Then Beth escapes…
And discovers Dominic Perdue is not a man who lets go easily. Meanwhile, despite being reunited with her family, she spirals into self-destructive behaviour. Release from her prison isn’t enough, it seems. Can Beth also break free from the clutches of Stockholm syndrome?
A study of emotional dependency, The Second Captive examines how love can assume strange guises.
Dominic wines and dines Beth drawing her into his well thought out labyrinth of terror. Once he caught his prize he lures her into a basement where he keeps her captive. Her life, comforts, food depends on him. James carefully summarizes the feeling and emotions of both Beth and Dominic and captures the essence of their relationship between abductor and abductee. As a reader their emotions became my emotions. All the love, hate, fear, anxiety, and sadness both protagonists felt became my own.One page I felt bad for Dominic then next I wanted Beth to find some way, anyway, to escape the confines of the basement and do Dominic in.
I found many elements of the psychological thriller to be relevant and true to life. Most of us haven’t experienced Stockholm Syndrome, but we have read the papers and watched the news. In some cases we have friends or family that have experienced the repercussions of it in some manner, whether a friend, relation, or career in the psychological field. She seized the raw emotions of both characters giving this book such a realistic quality that I would believe she had been a victim herself.
An excellent, chilling tale.
Interview with Maggie
Tell us a little about you as a person.
Maggie: I’m British, a former accountant who has always yearned to write novels. Since childhood, it’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do, but life didn’t turn out that way. It took decades until I rediscovered my love of writing, but now I can’t imagine life without it. What else? I’m generally a happy, positive person, especially now I’m writing more. To my surprise, I’m now turning towards more spiritual matters, after a lifetime of logical, left-brained thinking. I now meditate daily, and am less prone to black and white thinking.
So, what have you written?
Maggie: I’ve written and published four novels, as well as four non-fiction nutrition-based titles. I started by penning some short fan fiction pieces, which were well received online. That gave me the confidence to write longer pieces, and eventually the time came when I knew I was ready to tackle a novel. Before I wrote my first title, His Kidnapper’s Shoes, penning a full-length book seemed like climbing Everest. I laugh at that now, but it’s still a long, hard slog to complete a novel. What else? Well, my website has a blog aimed at readers, which I update weekly. I love creating posts and making them visually appealing, as well as providing articles of interest to my readers.
What genre are your books?
Maggie: I write in the psychological thriller/suspense genre. I wouldn’t rule out writing in other genres at some point, such as dystopia or erotica.
What draws you to this genre?
I’m fascinated by what goes on in people’s heads, although I’m skeptical of conventional psychological theories. I believe the human mind is far too complex to be shoehorned into pat ideas. The genre offers a wealth of possibilities for novelists, being a great example of the old adage ‘truth is stranger than fiction’.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Maggie: The protagonist in my latest novel, ‘The Second Captive’, is Beth Sutton, a naive eighteen-year-old who is abducted and held prisoner for two years by an emotionally damaged man. During the course of the novel, she’s forced to confront her issues, emerging a stronger, more confident individual. She’s affected by Stockholm syndrome during the course of her incarceration, which means that after her escape, she struggles to return to a normal life. For those who don’t know, Stockholm syndrome is the tendency of hostages to bond with their captors.
Where do your ideas come from?
Maggie: Inspiration can be found everywhere, if you know where to look. When I'm asked where I get my ideas, I say 'from the world around me.' Writers tend to be great at observation, particularly people watching. Like many authors, I always have to hand a way of capturing ideas when they strike, whether it's via my phone or pen and paper.
Television news and the press are useful for gathering ideas. Say, for example, I read about a hit-and-run accident. I immediately focus on the emotions involved, posing questions such as 'what if?' and 'how would that feel?' What mental turmoil must the driver be experiencing? Was he/she concerned about financial problems/their marriage/work issues, leading to careless driving? What will the consequences be? How is the victim's family coping? All rich sources of inspiration for the plot or subplot of a future novel!
Besides writing what are your favorite things to do?
Maggie: I’m a yoga aficionado, so I can be found at classes four times a week, although I’m not yet disciplined enough to practise at home. For the last thirty years, I’ve been a travelholic, taking trips to as many wonderful foreign locations as possible. Travelling makes me happy; I love living out of a rucksack, although after several months of it, I’m usually ready to come home and get back into a routine! I’m very much into healthy living, and I’m a real foodie; I love eating out in new restaurants. I also enjoy driving, camping, and the cinema. Finally, animals are a lifelong love, and I love meeting new four-legged friends!
What is the easiest thing about writing?
Maggie: If you’re doing something you love, often that’s enough to make something difficult less so. To write seems like the most natural thing in the world for me, so that carries me through any bad days.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Maggie: I find naming my novels difficult! It takes me ages and many false starts before I find one that encapsulates the spirit of what I’m trying to say. Fleshing out my plots can also lead to a few false turns before I get it right. Often new ideas come to me during the writing process, taking me down new and exciting routes. In addition, there’s the commitment factor. Writing and publishing a novel is hard work; for me, it takes at least eight months of solid slog, and at times the process can be mentally draining. I’m a terrible typist as well, despite many hours spent practising, so my slow speed and many mistakes frustrate me.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
Maggie: My books are standalones, but I wouldn’t rule out writing a series in the future. The genre in which I write lends itself well to the idea, I think, and there are plenty of possibilities to explore.
Do you have a favorite movie and/or book?
Maggie: I don’t have a favourite movie, although I love going to the cinema. I do read voraciously and enjoy most books that I read. One that stands out for me is George Orwell’s ‘1984’. A chilling read, one that stripped me of my innocence. As a teenager reading about Big Brother, I fully expected good to triumph via Winston Smith, and was shocked when it didn’t! I’ve read a lot of Orwell’s other books, but that one has stayed with me the most.
Where to find Maggie:
Amazon Author Page
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