It Happened To Me
by T. A. Beasley Genre: New Adult Contemporary Mystery
In one weekend, seventeen- year-old Delilah Murphy loses the one person she could count on. She tries to deal with the loss but the one she blames makes it hard. Delilah leans on her best friend for comfort but only for a short period of time. She must face her enemy and try to adjust to not having a support system.
Delilah’s behavior and attitude are out of control as is her non-existing relationship with whom she believes is the cause of her pain. Will Delilah finally come to her senses and learn to forgive? Or will her childish antics lead her down a path she may not be ready to travel?
**Trigger warning: of sexual assault, alcoholism, domestic violence **
Desmond stops to fill up his car at a nearby gas station on Rockville Road. He can’t believe Denise is so inconsiderate of his feelings. “It is like she is married to that damn clothing business!” Desmond spits out to no one in particular.
Just thinking about it makes him want to scream. He is tired of dealing with Denise’s workaholic mentality, which has been going on since Delilah was in middle school. A feeling of abandonment starts to set in, and it hurts him. Denise acts like she is the only person working in our house. Heck, she hasn’t asked me one thing about work or how my day is going! It’s not easy running my counseling business, listening to other people’s problems, and helping them, while I can’t fix my own relationship. She doesn’t care about it, as long as she is on time for her meetings to look at color swatches and zippers.If only I could get Denise to understand that both Delilah and I need her more at home. Her absence is tearing our family apart, and she doesn’t see that it’s really affecting her relationship with Delilah.
Desmond leaves the gas station and jumps on Highway 465, heading north. He takes the exit for Keystone, heading for the Broad Ripple area, where Desmond’s favorite bar, Brothers, is. Desmond maneuvers his car into a small parking space on the left side of the bar.
It has been a few years since he’s visited a bar. The thought of solving his problems with a drink is not normal for Desmond, but this time, he feels one drink and some good television is in order. He doesn’t have a history of drinking, but his father did, which led to his death several years ago. His father’s drinking kept him away from home and kept Desmond’s mother in tears. She wasn’t shocked when she received the call that her husband had passed on. However, Desmond was hurt.
Not having his father in his life makes him sensitive and emotionally attached to the females in his life. He knows his arguing probably stemmed from his father’s abandonment, which makes him fight hard to get his wife to change her ways. He doesn’t want Delilah to feel the same way he did as a teenager.
This usually gets Desmond to stay away from alcohol, but this situation is different. He motions for the bartender. “Could I get a White Russian?”
“Coming right up,” the bartender nods, pausing to make sure he is of age. A few minutes later, the bartender returns with the drink, placing it in front of him with a napkin.
Desmond pays, then hesitates before taking a swig of the drink, letting the mixture of rum and milk slide down his throat. He scans the place, noticing the positive and uplifting atmosphere, watching a group of college students celebrating someone’s birthday. He moves out of the way of a tipsy woman heading towards the bathroom.
“Someone has had too much to drink,” he says, allowing the environment, music, and alcohol to soothe his pain. He engages in small talk with others, finding enjoyment in the attention he receives. The sun drops, and darkness is near. After hanging out for a couple of hours, Desmond decides to head home. He leaves the bar, praying that his wife has not left for Evansville. He doesn’t want to go home to an empty house for the fifteenth time.
Desmond taps the button to the radio, switching to his favorite radio station, 106.7 WTLC. A Marvin Gaye tune, “You’re All I Need to Get By,” serenades him as he drives. “I used to think that about you, Denise.”
The music continues to relax Desmond, so he cracks the window and the cool breeze hits his face. The Rockville Road exit is coming up as Desmond signals to switch lanes. After taking the exit, he stops at the awaiting red light, while singing along off-key to the song. He hopes Denise is thinking about their family and how important it is to keep them together. The light changes and Desmond proceeds into the intersection toward his subdivision. He puts his turn signal on to let the driver behind him know that he is turning into the Chapel Wood division.
Upon turning the corner, Desmond’s car spins, tires screech, and there is the sound of crushing metal as shattered glass flies into the air. Desmond struggles to breathe. He hears a woman’s scream nearby as images of his family flash in front of him. He sees Delilah laughing, throwing lettuce at him during their food fight after her mother stood her up for their girls’ night out her freshman year of high school. Desmond hears a voice telling him to stay awake, but his vision is blurry as he struggles to focus on the calming voice.
He closes his eyes for a second, opening them to a vision of Denise preparing for work as he sits on the side of their bed, admiring her beautiful bronze skin, full lips, and petite frame. He tries to stretch his arm out to touch her, but the steering wheel is pressing against his chest, and the front of the car is crushing his legs. Desmond moans in agony, realizing his body won’t cooperate.
His eyelids are getting heavy again, his body growing tired. He can still hear the voice telling him to stay awake. Desmond moans, telling the voice he’s too tired. The emergency response team arrives, going into action. Desmond’s eyes are barely open when he sees Delilah and Denise blowing him kisses, mouthing the words: I love you. The heaviness of his eyelids takes over as everything goes black.
T.A. Beasley has been a lover of books, reading and writing since she was ten years old, when she encountered the teen department librarian at Central Library in her hometown of Evansville, In. She became a book reviewer and blogger in 2010 as well as a tour host, helping authors, publishers and publicists share books with readers through her blog, Authors & Readers Book Corner. She resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband. It Happened To Me is her debut novel and she is working on her next title.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
One unique thing about me is that I am double jointed. Three quirky things about me is I have a habit of twirling the bottom of my hair when I am nervous, I don’t like my food to touch on my plate and I must smell my food before eating it.
Tell us something interesting that's happened to you!
When I was ten years old, I went into the teen department at the public library (Central Library, Evansville, In) to check out some books. I was met by the librarian over that department, who gave homework before I could get any books. The homework assignment was to read a book titled, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous. I had to write a paragraph explaining what I learned from reading the book.
This book changed my life and taught me to be careful who I choose as friends, never do drugs and to communicate to my parent if something bad happens to me as a form of asking for help. The character in the book didn’t do this and her life went downhill. The people she thought were her friends are the ones who put her in harm’s way.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I have a couple.
1) It drives me crazy when people slurp their drinks.
2) People who feel they can’t support others in their industry. If I respect and support your endeavors, it is only customary for you to do the same. I can’t do one sided relationship.
3) My last pet peeve is people who play the victim card or act overdramatic in everything.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born and raised in Evansville, Indiana which is three hours from where I live now in Indianapolis, Indiana.
What are you passionate about these days?
I am passionate about independent writers, filmmakers and individuals thriving to make their part time business their full-time employment. I’m also passionate about teaching others about the publishing industry and how to enjoy their space as an indie in the industry.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
It may seem simple but reading a good book in my reclining chair with a cup of tea or coffee is how I relax. I also like sitting in my reclining chair while listening to a personal development podcast with my eyes closed. This is my customized meditation.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Independent, supportive, introvert, blunt (outspoken), and humble.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first considered myself a writer when I wrote my first journal entry.
What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration behind this book came from losing a friend in high school. She passed away, but it was the way she passed along with the secrets she was keeping that prompted me to write this story. I also wrote the book because in society today, our young girls are presenting themselves in the wrong way and its being incorrectly perceived, which causes danger.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I will be writing more young adult books (contemporary, fantasy and thrillers), some middle grade mysteries (to honor my favorite mystery gang, Scooby Doo and Mystery’s Incorporated), along with some adult titles (contemporary but mainly thrillers), films and products related to both industries.
Who designed your book covers?
My cover was designed by Olivia Pro Designs. I found her on fiverr.com. I will be hiring her again to do the sequel It Happened to Me 2.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your book?
I learned what my strengths and weakness were within my craft. I also learn that it will take time for me to find my writing voice and that I will need to write a couple more books before finding it. I am determined to get this show vs. tell and past and present tense thing down.
How did you come up with name of this book?
I looked at the different issues Delilah, my main character goes through and as I reread my first draft, I said to myself, “I can’t believe this happened to her.” A light bulb went off when she responded, “It did happen to me,” and that became the title just without the word “did.”
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
My favorite part of the book is when Delilah takes a stand with her boyfriend Ralph. It was fun to write. I won’t say more because I don’t want to spoil anything for the readers.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have written some short stories and an adult novel that hasn’t been published.
What did you edit out of this book?
I edited a scene with Delilah and her guidance counselor because it seemed a little much and on the advice of a beta reader.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since middle school from journal entries to short stories and now books.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I normally create the main character and then the supporting characters come to right before I start plotting my novel.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I interview people. I go to locations that I may describe. I also search on google and go to the library for materials. I believe the best research is interview people in the profession you are writing about and people who have been through what your character is going through.
Do you see writing as a career?
I most definitely see writing as a career. This has been a dream of mines since high school and now that my first book is coming out, it has pushed me to pursue this full time. I believe it can be done without being signed to a traditional publisher especially if I put the work in.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I am an avid reader. I don’t leave home without a review book or leisure reading book or a self-help book in my tote bag. I basically live and breathe all things bookish.
My favorite genres are mysteries and thrillers. I also read paranormal, fantasy, contemporary fiction and women fiction. I mainly like books that have a mysterious and or suspenseful element to it.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I prefer to write while listening to a business or personal development podcast. It helps me stay focused on what I am trying to achieve and makes me think of what I am doing to improve myself.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
At this point since book one is completed, I have started writing on book two along. I am also outlining and researching a middle grade book and a young adult fantasy book. I do this on separate days.
Pen or type writer or computer?
I outline with pencil and paper and then move to my computer. I mainly plot and outline with pencil and paper then I type it on the computer. After my outline is clear then I work on writing the book on the computer.
Tell us about a favorite character from a book.
Two of my favorite character is Lane from the Killer Instinct by S. E. Green. She is a teenager who is obsessed with serial killers because she wants to be one. Lane’s character is intelligent, creative, and a bad ass. I also love that she is sneaky and can hide in plain sight.
My second is Mary from Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson. Mary is a character you should fear on any given day. She is very calculating, manipulative and knows when to appear innocent, so you stay on her side. You don’t figure out her dark side until it’s too late. I love her so much.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
I have a very active imagination and love storytelling so what better way to share these two things than to become a writer. I feel it is the right decision for me because it is my dream to be a published author and I don’t want the “what if” syndrome so I’m going for it.
I don’t like to take the easy way out among other reasons, which is why I choose to be an indie author. I don’t mind the challenge of doing it myself but its not for everyone.
What advice would you give new authors?
To start building a platform as soon as possible so you are known a little before your book comes out, meaning start interacting with others in the industry. You can do this by reviewing other author’s books, interviewing them, offering to do a guest post on their blogs and offering the same on your blog.
To have thick skin because everyone is not going to like or support your work. This is very important. You can’t let negativity and naysayers mess with your spirit and mental. Don’t let them still your joy.
To educate yourself before entering the industry and understand social media etiquette while promoting yourself.
To surround yourself with individuals who love writing, books and this industry as much as you do.
Last, to stay humble and always support your fellow author. There is enough space for us all, but you don’t want to burn bridges because you never know when you may need someone’s help.
What are you currently reading?
Currently, I am concentrating on review books due out in December. I am reading the following:
*The Frame-Up by Meghan Scott Molin
*In These Streets by Shelly Ellis
What is your writing process? For instance, do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first?
When I start a book I first create my character profiles. I then plot my novel to create my outline. I will then collect my research and interviews to make everything as authentic as I can. I then I start the first chapter and go from there.
If you could tell your younger writing self-anything, what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to protect your credit source, wait to have children after you’ve pursued your career, bought a house and have gotten married. To go after the career, you feel is best for you not what everyone else wants you to do. This way you won’t have any regrets when you turn 40.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
I have a difficult time with writing the opposite sex’s dialogue. I can’t talk like a man, so I must ask my husband what he would say in certain situations.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
It took me along time to write my first book because of fear and procrastination because I was coaching and consulting others. If I stay focused I can write a first draft in three months no later than six months.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Yes, but I believe if writers have a plan in place when writer’s block happens, it will be easier to get out of it. Believe me it is easy to get stuck on a scene, but you must walk away from it and take a break. You may even have to do something to relax yourself and your mind and then go back to it a couple of days later to get your creative juices flowing again.
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