We’re so pleased to have author Chris Scully dropping by today on the tour for her latest release, Back to You, from Riptide Publishing. Chris wants you to know this post might contain a spoiler or two, so be aware of that, please. And don’t forget to check out the excellent giveaway details below.
Fact and Fiction: The Origins of Back to You
Back to You is a novel of romantic suspense, about a journalist, Alex Buchanan, who returns home to visit his estranged father before he dies. While there, he reconnects with his childhood best friend Benji Morning, and gets wrapped up in a twenty-year-old mystery involving the disappearance of Benji’s sister.
I’ve always been fascinated by the missing and the impact a missing person has on their families and people they knew—the torture of never knowing what happened. After writing a bit about this in Until September (the main character’s mother went missing when he was a child), I knew I wanted to continue exploring this subject, this time focussing on what happens to those left behind. Ben’s mother, Angela, is obsessed with the disappearance of her daughter, Misty, to the point where it’s torn the family apart. She refuses to believe that Misty simply ran away. The fact that Misty was not necessarily a “good girl” complicates things, and all the characters have different experiences of her which tinge how they view her disappearance.
I’m also a true-crime buff and the inspiration for the setting came from some real-life cases in northern British Columbia. Bisecting the wilderness of northern BC is Highway 16, a section of the Trans-Canada Highway where (mostly) indigenous women have gone missing or been murdered over a period of decades. The numbers range wildly from a dozen to dozens, and because the crimes are largely close to home, in remote, struggling communities and against minorities, little headway has been made in catching killers. Although a RCMP task force was formed, it has had little success. I’ve been aware of the “Highway of Tears” for some years, but it was really my research on Until September and a national focus on missing indigenous women that brought it back to mind.
The case of Denis Ratte was also a source of “inspiration”. In 1997 his wife went missing in the same area where Back to You is set. Over the next decade, his family grew divided over the extent of his involvement. Finally, in 2008 Ratte was charged with her murder although a body was never found. He had hoped she would be ‘mistaken’ as one of the many women who have gone missing in the area.
For me, this location became the perfect landscape to set a novel in. Not only is it a place where people go missing, but the isolation, as well as the socio-economic changes from a collapsing natural resources economy made it ideal. The town of Alton, where Back to You is set, is fictional, but everything around it is real.
This all sounds awfully gloomy and dark, and there is definitely a thread of that running through the novel, but it’s also a story of acceptance, of deep friendships and the power of first-love. Although Alex and Ben find their way back to each other, like life, not everything is wrapped up neatly.
About the Book
Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.
Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.
As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.
About the Author
Chris Scully lives in Toronto, Canada. She grew up spinning romantic stories in her head and always dreamed of one day being a writer even though life had other plans. Her characters have accompanied her through career turns as a librarian and an IT professional, until finally, to escape the tedium of a corporate day job, she took a chance and began putting her daydreams down on paper.
Tired of the same old boy-meets-girl stories, she found a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve. She divides her time between a mundane 9-5 cubicle job and a much more interesting fantasy life. When she’s not working or writing (which isn’t often these days) she loves puttering in the garden and traveling. She is an avid reader and tries to bring pieces of other genres and styles to her stories. While her head is crammed full of all the things she’d like to try writing, her focus is always on the characters first. She describes her characters as authentic, ordinary people—the kind of guy you might meet on the street, or the one who might be your best friend.
Although keeping up with social media is still a struggle given her schedule, she does love to hear from readers.
To celebrate the release of Back to You, one lucky winner will receive a $20 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 17, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!