Author's Notes Hard Evidence

The dark subject matter of human sex trafficking makes up the backdrop of this story. And although the book is fiction, the tragedy of trafficking is not. I've written a few articles about the issue through the years and knew more about it than I wanted to know. I tried to do the subject justice in this story.

As a result, its hero, Julian Darcangelo, is probably my darkest hero to date. A man who spends his life combating this terrible crime, he carries a heart full of scars dating back to his earliest years, when he was kidnapped by his father and taken to Mexico. It takes Tessa Novak, a reporter with her own secrets, to set him free.

Very much a story of redemption, it enabled me to push the envelope again when it came to subject matter and edginess, and I loved that. I was afraid my editor would reject the story because it was so dark. But she didn't. In fact, she loved it — a huge relief, particularly as the book I wanted to write next was in some ways even darker.

I wrote much of this story in a local coffee shop. When I came to the scene where Tessa sees her mother again for the first time, I burst into tears, right there in the middle of the place. I went to the restroom and got myself under control, but when I sat down and tried to continue writing that scene, I started crying again. So I gave up and consigned myself to writing — and crying — in public.

A word about Julian Darcangelo: yum.

I fell so crazy in love with him that my older son told me when the book was finished that it was time to break up with Julian. And that's something I didn't want to do. As a result, Julian has a great many scenes in Unlawful Contact, the next I-Team book.

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