Cynthia Hamilton


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Cynthia Hamilton

The Story Behind the Story: Girl Trap

Looking back, I can’t recall exactly what inspired me to create the storyline behind Girl Trap. When things got really intense with my mother’s situation back in 2015, I was forced to put Madeline’s third adventure on hold. When she was moved into a nursing home in Northern California, my thoughts became focused on what my mom’s life had been like from her POV. I needed to understand what had motivated her to make the choices she made. When I finished Finding Ruth, I was so detached from Madeline’s latest adventure—which had been abandoned at 70,000 words—I decided I needed to start from scratch.

I did take one of the threads from the abandoned manuscript, the premise of a woman looking for her estranged daughter whom she hadn’t spoken to in ten years. With sensibilities enhanced by my recent investigation into my mom’s life, I took that premise a different direction than before. Things from the past are always more complex than we can appreciate with a cursory look backwards. Understanding this firsthand gave me a sharper view of what this dormant relationship between Elise Cavanaugh and her daughter really looked like.

In this second crack at the third installment, what I wanted to do was give Mike his own spotlight. Madeline is still the lead dog, but Mike has his own strengths and issues that make him vulnerable and therefore interesting. I introduce his cousin who drives up from L.A. to enlist Mike’s help in locating his girlfriend, April, who has been off the radar for several days.

I also wanted to bring more complexity to the series by getting inside the thoughts of other characters, allowing us to see how they think and feel, as opposed to all the action being funneled through Madeline’s prism. I had done this in Alligators in the Trees and I liked how I was able to flesh out the players, expand their personalities, and gain more insight into what makes them tick.

There is plenty of action and a few nerve-racking moments in this installment. The reason for the title becomes apparent as the story plays out. After finishing the book, I had serious doubts regarding one of the storylines: was it too harsh, too uncomfortable, too awful to think about? I had a panicky few days when I wondered if I had gone too far and needed to walk it back a bit. What I had written had definitely taken me out of my comfort zone. But then I wondered if that was really a bad thing. Isn’t that what happens in truly gripping novels? Isn’t that what happens in real life?

In Girl Trap, I also created a bit of an unknown at the end of the book, not so much a cliffhanger as it is a vehicle for allowing a different form of thought and introspection by the characters in the next book. If any of you have read the previous Madeline books—Spouse Trap and/or A High Price to Pay—I’m curious to know how you would feel about having Madeline and Mike and maybe the bad guys speaking directly to you as opposed to some unseen narrator depicting the story. I would love to get your thoughts on that!

To celebrate its debut, Girl Trap will be available for FREE downloading, May 10th and 11th on Amazon:  To celebrate its debut, Girl Trap will be available for FREE downloading, May 10th and 11th on Amazon:

If you can’t catch that, Goodreads is running a Giveaway for Girl Trap, May 10th thru the 22nd. You can sign up to win one of 100 free ebooks. I’ve written this book with enough backstory that if you haven’t already read the first two books in the series, you will not be left in the dark. So, check it out and be sure to enter the drawing!

Also, Spouse Trap will be available for FREE downloading May 9th. You can find out how Madeline Ridley was transformed into Madeline Dawkins, and the hell she had to go through to get her life back.

Thank you for reading today’s post!

Until next time,

Very warmest regards,