The next morning, Denise turns over in an unfamiliar bed. She wipes her eyes to look around and realizes the room belongs to her assistant. A flash of the previous evening registers and it hits her. Delilah is gone. Her only child is gone. She rises into a sitting position. “What am I going to do? I’m alone.” Denise lays her head in both hands.
A knock at the door causes her to look up. Cherie walks in. “How are you feeling? I made you some breakfast.”
“I left you a towel and washcloth in the bathroom. I was able to grab a few items of clothing from the house, but we’ll have to go back for more.”
Denise tries a smile. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
Cherie squeezes her hand. “I’ll leave you to it and will meet you in the kitchen.”
Denise forces herself to stand and enters the bathroom. After getting ready, she meets Cherie in the kitchen and sits down at the breakfast bar. “Are you ready to head to the police station? I told Detective Rivers we would come by this morning.”
Denise ignores her assistant, picking up what looks to be a diary. “I have to call Tiffany. She needs to hear about Delilah from me, not somebody off the street or at school.”
Cherie grabs a hold of her boss’s shaking hands, placing the book back on the counter. “I will call Tiffany for you. I know you don’t want to go. The detective has some questions for you to answer. It will help them catch whoever did this to Delilah.”
She shakes her head and says in a calm manner, “I know. If I go, it will make it even more real.”
Cherie hugs her boss. “I know, but it has to be done. I also hope you don’t get mad, but I swiped Delilah’s diary off the nightstand.” She leads her out the door to the car.
“Why would you do that? Isn’t that tampering with evidence or something?”
“Yes, if they find out about it. I didn’t think you would want strangers reading your daughter’s personal thoughts.”
“Wait. Is that what was on the counter?” She turns back toward the condo.
“Yes, but you can look through it once we get back. I wouldn’t tell the detective about it either.” She directs Denise back toward the car.
Thirty minutes later they arrive at the station, both hesitating before entering. Cherie steps up to the counter. “Hello, we are here to see Detective Rivers.”
“And you are?” the receptionist asks without a glance.
“Ms. Murphy and her assistant. We are here about the teenager found dead in her home.”
The receptionist stands up and glances at Cherie and then at Denise. “I’m so sorry for your loss. If you will have a seat, I will let Detective Rivers know you are here.”
“Thank you,” both say in unison.
Denise takes a seat and hands her address book to Cherie, who says, “I’m going to step outside to call Tiffany. I will be right back.”
The air hits her face and chest as she opens the door. She moves to the right to have a little privacy while trying to call Tiffany. As the phone rings, nerves build up. How does she tell this young girl her best friend was murdered? Tiffany answers on the third ring.
Taking a deep breath, she begins. “Hello, Tiffany. My name is Cherie. I work with Denise Murphy.”
“Oh, yeah. Hi. How are you?” She switches shoulders, leaning the phone against herself as she puts items into a bag.
“I’m doing well. I’m calling because I have some bad news.”
“Bad news? What do you mean?” Tiffany stops to give Cherie her full attention.
“Um. Last night when we arrived at the Murphy home, we found Delilah unconscious in her bed.”
“What? Is she okay? I knew I should have made her stay the night with me.”
“Tiffany. Tiffany. I’m afraid there is more.” Cherie starts pacing back and forth. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but Delilah didn’t make it.” She stops, waiting for a response, but only hears short suctions of air as if someone is trying to collect oxygen into their lungs. “Are you still there?”
Tiffany cannot speak. She is at a loss for words.
“I’m so sorry to have to tell you like this, but Ms. Murphy didn’t want you to hear it from someone else.”
“You are lying. I want to talk to Delilah right now.”
“I’m sorry, honey, but she is gone.”
Tiffany throws the bag against the wall. “This is not happening. I’m going over there.”
“Wait! They may not let you in due to the investigation.” She can hear the anguish in the young girl’s voice.
“I want to see Delilah. Where is Ms. Murphy?”
“We are at the police station for questioning.” Cherie glances inside the door to make sure Denise is still sitting where she left her.
“I am on my way there.” The phone goes dead.
It Happened to Me It Happened To Me Duology Book 1 Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
“T. A. Beasley came fresh out the gate with an amazing debut novel that I truly enjoyed. It Happened To Me has a solid, fresh, believable storyline, and great character development just to name a few good qualities."
-Nick Haskins, Author of Betrayed
“This was a very emotional read for me, but it dealt with realistic issues. It should be in every high school counselor’s office. Kudos to the author’s first book. It was an awesome journey. I can’t wait for part two." -Tera Kirksey, Amazon Reader
“T. A. Beasley tells a story with deep themes. Small choices can lead down dangerous paths for yourself and those around you. This book is a cautionary tale for teens and even adults. I look forward to reading the sequel.” -Savannah J. Goins, Author of The Gwythienian
When seventeen-year-old Delilah Murphy loses the one person she could count on, she struggles with the loss as the one she blames keeps making her life even harder. Delilah leans on her best friend, Tiffany, for comfort, but she has troubles of her own, and only grows distant from Delilah when they need each other’s support most.
Full of pain and distrust, Delilah must face yet another enemy as she adjusts to having no support system. With her behavior and emotions out of control, will Delilah come to her senses or will her childish antics lead her down a path she may not be ready to travel?
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 is an author, blogger and publishing consultant, who has been in love with mysteries and thrillers since her youth watching her favorite Scooby Doo and Murder She Wrote shows, which she still enjoys to this day. She is the author of It Happened To Me and reside in Indianapolis, Indiana.
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 relationships.
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’m 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.
Do you have a favorite movie?
Identity with John Cusack and Ray Liotta
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?
My inspiration behind this story is that I wanted to tell a story that deals with the aftermath of loss and how it affects each person in a different way especially those close to the victim.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I will be writing more young adult books mainly in the contemporary thriller and urban fantasy genres along with some adult titles, mainly psychological and domestic thrillers. I’m also producing some films and products related to both the filming and publishing industries.
Who designed your book covers?
My cover is Olivia Pro Designs. I found her on fiverr.com.
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 changed the title to this one from It Happened to Me 2 because the same things don’t happen in this new book. The situations and the actions of the characters are different especially the main character Tiffany Johnson, so I changed it to, It Won’t Happen To Me.
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
My favorite part of the book is when Tiffany confronts Mr. Wilson.
Have you written any other books that are not published?
I have written some short stories and two adult novel that haven’t been published.
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 the antagonist then the supporting characters come to me 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 this book is coming out, it makes me want 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 book.
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 Murder She Wrote plays on the television in the background. It helps me stay focus on the task at hand.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
Since finishing this second book, I now have been drafting one book but outlining another one. I do it on separate days, but still try to work on two books at a time.
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 like to make my own decisions and deadline and 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 they currently reading?
I’m reading two collections of short stories called, Horror Stories by Joanna Blythe and Supernatural Stories by Joshua Perry for the month of October. I like to read a lot of thrillers and horror books in this month.
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 ask my husband what he would say in certain situations.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
When I am writing some scenes, the characters will take over especially if they feel I’m not representing them or their voice correctly. I do feel like I am able to take the reign back after a while.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
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.
Is there an writer which brain you would love to pick for advice? Who would that be and why?
I would like to pick Stephen King’s brain because he is the king of horror fiction. I would ask how he comes up with the settings in his books. His settings seem to play a big role in his books besides his characters.
I would also like to pick Tiffany D. Jackson’s brain to ask her how she creates characters with unique characteristics and captivating backstories.