Maegan Beaumont is the author of Carved in Darkness, the first book in the Sabrina Vaughn thriller series. When she isn’t busy fulfilling her duties as Domestic Goddess for her high school sweetheart turned husband and their four children, she’s locked in her office with her computer, her coffee pot and her Rhodesian Ridgeback. Learn more about Maegan at her website. – AP
As a writer, inspiration comes to me every day. Sometimes it’s just a spark—a sparse glimmer of a story that I think I might want to write someday. These are the ones that, if they stick around for a day or two, I write down and tuck away for later.
Other times it’s a lightning strike. An idea that hits me so hard and so fast that I can’t shake it. It hounds me. It’s all I can think about. It wakes me up at night. It won’t be quiet. Not until I write every last word that keeps rattling around in my brain.
Carved in Darkness was one of those stories.
How I came to write Carved in Darkness begins with what I’ve heard described as one of those the smell of the rain on the road at dawn moments… it wasn’t born from something I read or over-heard in the express lane at the grocery store. It was an actual experience I had—as fleeting as it was—that brought this story. One moment I was sitting at a red light, waiting for my turn to make a left, and the next I was hooked into what has probably been one of the most terrifying and rewarding experiences of my entire life.
I looked out the passenger window. In the lane next to me was a rattle trap of a station wagon, I mean, if this thing was street-legal, I’ll eat my hat—that’s how bad it was. But it wasn’t the condition of the car that caught my attention.
It was the girl driving it.
She was young—a few years younger than I was at the time—and beautiful. Probably the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen in my life. Long, dark red hair. A profile I could only describe as perfect… and then she looked at me with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen in my life. It was for only a second or two but it was enough. In that face and those eyes, I saw a lifetime of sadness and fear. In the seat behind her were two young kids, a boy and a girl. They resembled her so strongly I knew instantly they were related somehow and they looked just as sad and scared as she did.
Then, the light turned and she puttered off… the last thing I saw of her was the Texas license plate stuck to the back of her car. A horn honked behind me, reminding me that I had the arrow, and I took off—bound for wherever I was going.
I began to wonder who she was. Where was she was going? What had happened to make her so sad… and then I began to do what I always do. I built her story in my head, and it became obvious almost instantly that I wouldn’t be able to shake this one loose. That it wouldn’t be quiet until I wrote it down.
So, I did.
I wrote about a dozen versions of Carved in Darkness. I scribbled notes on napkins. I wrote snippets of dialogue on my lunch break. I stayed up until all hours of the night, writing a pretend life for a girl I saw for about thirty seconds and I’d never even spoken a word to. I had no idea who she really was, but I knew one thing: I don’t do milquetoast. By that I mean, I don’t (can’t, refuse to… take your pick.) write wishy-washy, hand-wringing damsels in distress with heaving bosoms and a perpetual case of the vapors who cry and wait for big strong men to save them. Yes, my girl (I named her Sabrina) was in trouble—big trouble—but my damsel was in the business of causing distress, not being saved from it, and if someone was going to tie her to the railroad tracks, you best bet she would have a switchblade tucked into her boot for just such an occasion.
Sabrina is tough. Probably too tough for her own good. She’s a cop, so it comes with the territory, but it’s about more than that. It’s about the things that happened to her as a young woman. Things she can’t let go of. Things that drastically altered the person she was supposed to be. Changed her. Broke her and re-built her. She can’t let her guard down, not for anyone. Not her brother and sister. Not her best friend. Not her partner. Not even the grandmother who raised her. They all love her so much that they’re willing to wait patiently for the day when she’ll let them in and refuse to listen when she tells them that that day is never gonna come.
Enter Michael O’Shea, a person from the past Sabrina had hoped was long since buried. He reminds her of who she really is and the hell she endured. He tells her that while she might have escaped the nightmare she’d been dragged into as a young woman, there are others who were not as lucky—and one of them just happened to be his little sister. Michael wants Sabrina’s help in finding the man who murdered his sister, and he won’t take no for an answer. He drags Sabrina out of the tower she’s locked herself away in, kicking and screaming… patience has never been his strong-suit.
Carved in Darkness
In order to save her family, San Francisco homicide inspector Sabrina Vaughn must confront her past as the first victim and sole survivor of a vicious serial killer. Now that he knows she survived, the killer will stop at nothing to re-claim her.