Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Inspiration Behind Identity Withheld

Hi all, Sandra Orchard here. 

I'm often asked what the inspiration behind a book was. For my newest Love Inspired Suspense, Identity Withheld, it was a youtube clip of a firefighter rescuing a cat from an apartment building fire that a writing friend told me about.

Since I'd already introduced my hero, Jake Steele, as a firefighter in Perilous Waters (April 2014), I was looking for a plot angle for his book.

The clip spurred the thought: what if the cat's owner was captured in the clip, along with the firefighter, and it was broadcast to millions worldwide? And what if she’s in witness security because criminals are trying to kill her? And what if they recognize her in the clip?

Now...as sometimes happens, my editor asked for edits on my proposed first scene so the cat rescue didn't actually make the final cut, but the idea of the heroine's fear of being caught on camera at the site of the fire is.

Here's a quick glimpse of the plot:

After exposing an illegal adoption ring, newly named “Kara Grant” is promised safety in Witness Protection. But someone has found her—and wants her dead. If only she could trust the handsome firefighter who catches her fleeing from a suspicious fire. Jake Steele suspects she’s guilty of burning her own home. But how can she tell him who she really is and what she’s been through without bringing danger to the widowed father’s door? Yet with the criminals fast closing in, taking such a risk might be her only chance at survival. Because the price she’ll pay for her silence could be her life.

The inspiration for the story didn't stop with the youtube clip. A Facebook fan was the inspiration behind the heroine's new name. One of my readers' memories about her childhood dog inspired the dog Jake's parents adopted for his son.

This fellow I met while out for a walk became the model.
 And... the full page of acknowledgements at the front of the book is testimony to how many professionals I interviewed to ensure I got the details right, and whose answers, in turn, inspired other vignettes.

But besides keeping readers guessing as to who the bad guy is, I hope readers will take away a couple of deeper messages:

That our greatest trials can be blessings in disguise, and we need to trust God even when everything appears grim and out of control.

Also I hope the heroine inspires readers to stay true to the person God made them to be. One astute reviewer, Jesse Patch, pointed out this take away to me. She appreciated how even though Nicole (aka Kara) was told to be a new person, with a new name and a new job and new friends, inside she stayed true to herself. Jesse wrote: “The world tells us from every angle who to be, but [Kara] didn't cave... she couldn't turn her back on who she really was.”

Your Turn:  Have you had a trial that turned out to be a blessing in the end? Please, share it with us.

Sandra Orchard is a multi award-winning author with Love Inspired Suspense and Revell (Port Aster Secrets mystery series). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time…when not doting on her young grandchildren. 

You can learn more about Sandra’s books and bonus features at www.SandraOrchard.com or connect at www.Facebook.com/SandraOrchard


  1. Sandra,
    I've not read a suspense in awhile. Your blurb convinced me I need to read this one. I love witness protection stories. My next for Heartwarming has the element :)

    Sorry your cat rescue opening got cut. Maybe you should post it here as a "Almost first scenes"

  2. Oooh, your book sounds great, Sandra. Love that the cat rescue inspired the story. It's amazing where inspiration can come from. I too wish it had made the editing cuts, but then I'm a cat lover. :-)

  3. Thank you, Pamela. I hope you will! It was my favorite story to write. I have actually included my original opening under my bonus features...http://sandraorchard.com/books/identity-withheld/deleted-scenes-identity-withheld/ :D

    Oh, Christine, I'm having great fun with cat tidbits for the next series I'm working on for Revell. I get a weekly email about cat antics to inspire me. :D

  4. Hi Sandra!!
    As you already know, I am reading AND loving this book *smile*.
    And phooey that the cat rescue got cut (says the CAT lady, LOL). I do have to say - - that photo of the dog is precious.
    Congratulations on yet another book - - I am SUPER PROUD of you, sweet friend!!
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  5. Sandra, that's so cool that the reviewer had that takeaway from your book!

    I love that you got the idea for the story from the news.

  6. You're so sweet, Patti Jo. Thank you.

    Yes, Missy, it makes me want to always ask reviewers what the takeaway was when answering interview questions. :D

  7. I just had to join the two GEORGIA commenters, before me, and say I am so excited about your newest book, Sandra! lol
    I am putting it in my "cart" to order when I get the expected gift card from Santa!!

  8. p.s. Waving at Jackie Smith!! :)
    Hey sweet lady (and fellow GEORGIAN!).
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  9. Thank you, Jackie, I appreciate that! Thanks, Sherri!


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