The Treasure of Cedar Creek
by Brenda Stanley
Genre: Historical Thriller
At the compound called Cedar Creek, the prophet is hoping to increase his congregation, even if that means marrying off girls to men decades older. When Peri, who escaped the compound years earlier, returns to help rescue Grace, a girl betrothed to the prophet himself, she ends up also saving her own sister Emma. As the three women make a frantic and deadly escape from the compound, they take with them both the newborn heir to the church, and their dead mother’s cryptic journal to the prophet’s hidden treasure. Along their journey, the women realize to truly be free they must face what holds them captive, even if those answers are more horrifying than they ever imagined.
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He pulled it back. “You’re still my prisoner and you will stay close.” He put rusted metal hobbles on her ankles. “They say she kidnapped that baby,” said Sam, as he crawled into his bedroll. “That it isn’t hers. They say she killed a woman and that she stole it.”
Peri blurted out a laugh. “Stole it? I was with her when she had it! “Those people are vile. They want to take Emma’s baby, make Grace marry an old man, and hang me for a murder I had nothing to do with.” Peri took a deep breath. “They’re offering all that money because they have three women that know what really happens down there and they want to shut us up for good.” She looked at Sam with purpose in her eyes. “I guess none of this matters to you though. As long as you get that money.”
Sam was tucked in his bag. He laid back and closed his eyes. “If it mattered so much to you, why’d you take off and leave your sister behind?”
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Most people are surprise to learn that I’m the mother of two sets of twins and that they were born twenty months apart- which means I had four children under the age of two. I have an older daughter as well, and had all five children before I turned twenty-five. It was a pretty chaotic time, but for most of their lives they were very close and they are very good friends now.
How to find time to write as a parent?
When my children were still at home, I would get up at 5 a.m. and write for an hour before I had to get ready for work. It was often frustrating because I would really get in the groove of my story and then my timer would go off and it would be time to shut my computer down and bring my thoughts back to reality. Now that I have an empty nest and no longer “work”, I never take my writing time for granted!
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
What I love about this book is that so much of it is real. It’s a novel and the story is fiction, but the research I did was intense. It took me three years to write this book because I was so determined to get it right. I wanted the history, the clothing, the weather, and the topography, to be correct, but also the issues. What these women were dealing with regarding this sect really happened, and are still happening. I enjoyed giving my characters real life challenges and also the traits to rise above them.
Do you see writing as a career?
I’ve been a television news anchor and investigative reporter for over twenty-five years and recently retired to write novels full-time. I’ve been a newspaper columnist, a radio reporter, a recipe blogger, and a cooking show host. I’ve always been a writer in one form or another. I wrote my first novel when I was seventeen years old, so I don’t ever remember not being a writer. I feel I’ve been so fortunate that I was able to use that as a career.
What makes a good story?
Nothing makes me happier than when someone tells me they couldn’t put my novel down. I love it when I can’t stop reading a book because the story is so enthralling that I have to know what’s going to happen next. I want my stories to grab my readers and hold them. I also love to leave my readers with a sense of “I didn’t see that coming”. It’s all part of my desire to thrill and give a sense of mystery and suspense. I’m smiling while I’m writing this.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
I have a necklace that has an antique typewriter “W” key pendant. My maiden name is “Wadman” and my mother gave it to me when my first novel was published. I wrote it decades ago on legal pads (longhand) and later on a manual typewriter. When I wear that necklace, it simply brings me back to why I love what I do. I love telling stories and I love people enjoying them.
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