Please welcome my first guest blogger, Cindy Bradford, to Writing is a Crime.  She is writing today about her new book, Promises Kept. The story of an unforgettable young woman named Faith, whose life journey is filled with uncertainty and a search for people and answers that others take for granted. Compassionate and courageous, she never gives up, showing strength and character beyond her years. It is also the story about the power of the human spirit, of family, friends and love.
Leave a comment on this post or on any other post in Cindy’s virtual tour and you’ll be entered into a contest to win a free copy of the first book in the series, Keeping Faith.

by Cindy Bradford

It is almost impossible to separate Promises Kept and my first book, Keeping Faith because everything is so interwoven. Each novel, however, is an entirely different story, although two of the most important characters, Faith and her father Patrick, are strong in both. Faith was such an easy character to develop because I have known a hundred Faiths. She simply evolved from her East Texas setting, and was actually the catalyst for Keeping Faith. Patrick is more complex as a person so his character was equally difficult to develop.



The title of the first book took its name from Faith’s character although it was somewhat a double entendre because the name of the book could also be interpreted as referring to Patrick’s faith. Whatever symbolism the reader chooses, Faith is part of the bigger picture. She is and was the glue that held Patrick, Sue, and Alice together over time and place.



So why was Faith easy to portray and others more difficult to develop? There was no single person in my background named or identified as Faith. Instead, she represents so many East Texas women who are strong and determined and sometimes even aggressive. So often, females from small, rural settings are seen as needy and weak. I wanted to change that image with Faith because many of the women I have known from that part of the world are anything but. They are perfect examples of steel magnolias. Perhaps, that characteristic was innate in Faith; maybe it was strengthened by her adversities; the reader can decide.



Several of you have told me you didn’t like Patrick at first, but grew to like him. Congratulations, you took the hook. That is exactly what I wanted to happen. Actually, I didn’t even like him at first so what could I expect you to do differently?



The guy had major flaws, but don’t we all? His just hit at the core of our sensibilities, and because of that, we didn’t want to like him. He was reckless and self-centered and immature, although he would have argued with that. But as he aged a little, we all grew to appreciate his failures and why he was the way he was. After all, that is what Keeping Faith was all about—how the actions of one person, in this case, the cowardly, sick priest, can intervene negatively in a normal life and basically change it forever.



As you know from reading the newspapers in recent years, there have been many “Patricks”; the victims of others who took advantage of the innocent. I realized in reading some of these news articles that when we don’t put a face with a victim, it usually doesn’t have as great an impact. If we know the person, then our reactions are different. It doesn’t mean we don’t sympathize or even empathize, but it generally isn’t at the high level it should be. So I wanted you to get to know Patrick, to visualize him, to see the boy and then the man.



The first Patrick was just an innocent kid, who you probably wouldn’t have noticed in a room of 10 year olds, except for his striking blue eyes that almost took you off guard, wondering what was behind their brilliance. Certainly he wasn’t the cutest kid in the room—that would probably be reserved for the blond or dark haired kid. Instead, Patrick was a gangly red head with a mischievous, captivating personality. As his first grade teacher, you might have recognized him as a disorganized, carefree little guy who would rather pick up a frog than a book. If you had been his fifth grade teacher, you might have noticed a more circumspect boy whose thoughts where somewhere far away, but you wouldn’t be able to put your finger on the reason. That was the character I wanted to build upon. Where it went from there was up to fate for him and imagination for the reader.


Although Promises Kept, the second book, can stand on its own, one must read the first book, Keeping Faith, to fully appreciate Patrick as a main character.



Cindy Bradford, Ph.D., is also the author of Keeping Faith and Promises Kept. She lives at South Padre Island, Texas, and spends several months a year in Ruidoso, New Mexico. She is a retired public school educator and university professor. She often incorporates her knowledge of wine into her writings and shares the beautiful places she has visited with her readers.