Thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Fatal Option by Chris Beakey. Today, I have a Q&A with the author. Keep reading for a synopsis of the book and to find out more about this book!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
On the coldest night of the year, Stephen Porter is pulled from a restless sleep by a midnight phone call. His 17-year-old daughter Sara is stranded in a blizzard near the top of a mountain beyond their suburban home. She’s terrified and unable to stop crying as she begs him to come to her rescue.
Unfortunately, Stephen went to bed just an hour before after a night of binge drinking. With his blurred vision and unsteady balance he knows it’s dangerously irresponsible to get behind the wheel. But he heads out into the snowstorm to bring Sara home.
High school teacher Kieran O’Shea is also behind the wheel, searching for his autistic younger brother Aidan, who is wandering aimlessly through the storm on that same mountain. Kieran is also terrified—of the voices in his mind, of the possibility that Aidan will be taken from him, and of the certainty that he will soon be arrested for murdering three women.
In a matter of minutes, Stephen will encounter Kieran and drive headlong into a collision that will force him to unlock the secret of his wife’s death, avoid prosecution, and protect his children from violence that hits all too close to home.
Q&A with Chris Beakey
Can you tell us a little bit about Fatal Option?
I describe Fatal Option as a story about a good man who does a very bad thing – for the best of all possible reasons. That’s the first thing I have to say about my main character, Stephen Porter, who gets a midnight phone call from his 17-year-old daughter, Sara. She tells him her car’s broken down. She’s at a house where she isn’t supposed to be. On a nearby mountain. In the middle of a blizzard on the coldest night of the year.
Stephen does what any good dad would do. He goes to her rescue . . . even though he drank himself to sleep to deal with the grief of losing someone he loved. And then the worst possible thing that could happen . . . happens . . .
That’s quite a terrifying premise that’s painted for readers.
Was there a particular event, news article, etc… that led you to write this novel?
I’ve always been intrigued by stories about good people caught in bad situations. Those are the types of stories I enjoy reading and they are mostly the type that I write. I have a very happy life, but often when I consciously acknowledge that I find myself thinking of how it could change in an instant. Just yesterday, in fact, I was standing next to the curb on a busy street in downtown Washington, D.C. at rush hour. I was talking to a friend on the phone, laughing at something he said, and looking at the traffic coming toward me on the one-way street. The instant the cars stopped for a red light I almost stepped into the crosswalk. My right foot was already in the air. But in a fraction of a second a bicycle courier going the wrong way streaked by within inches of my body. I actually felt the whoosh of air as he passed. Yes he was on a bike, but he was racing. He probably would have killed me or hobbled me for life if I hadn’t hesitated for that one fraction of a second.
This was a bad thing that could have happened but didn’t happen. I know I’ll be thinking about other bad things as I head out today. I had one of these moments six years ago when I was driving down a dark, winding country road on a winter night. I hit a patch of ice, and as my Jeep slid sideways toward the trees the most violent moment in Fatal Option sprang to my mind. I spun around and stopped without hitting anything, so the bad thing didn’t happen. But I started writing this book the very next morning. But of course it isn’t just about a car accident. It’s about a dangerous choice that Stephen Porter makes in his worst moment, and a morally questionable choice he makes as a result of what happens.
It sounds like a bit of a cautionary/morality tale.
Did you know from the beginning all the particulars of how the story progresses or did you encounter choices where you had to decide which path to follow?
Fatal Option is a multi-layered story that taps into the lives of Stephen’s two teenaged children, who are dealing with high school bullies . . . and the life of an autistic teenaged boy . . . and the twisted mind of a serial killer. But I knew from the very moment my own Jeep spun out of control that it was ultimately about Stephen Porter’s quest to keep his family together – which probably won’t happen if he goes to prison.
Chris this is your second published novel but your website says you spend eight hours a day ghostwriting. Are you allowed to tell us what you ghostwrite?
Sure – I’m honored to talk about my day job. I manage communications for Council for a Strong America. We’re a non-partisan organization of 8,500 men and women who advocate for education and health policies that prepare kids from poor families to live productive lives. Our members come from five sectors of society – law enforcement, the military, business, the faith community and athletes and coaches. They all love kids – most are parents and grandparents – but they advocate for these policies based on the simple truth that our nation succeeds when people are prepared for the workforce, not involved in crime, and eligible to serve in the military if that’s the path they choose. I’m the ghostwriter who shapes their conversations with lawmakers, their voices in op-ed pieces, and their interactions with the many media outlets who share their stories. Our members work by my side at every step, to make sure I’m channeling their thoughts in the most compelling way. They are an inspiring group of people.
Chris, good luck with your new novel.
Will you be attending any author/signing events for the release?
Thank you!!! I split my time between Washington, D.C. and Lewes, Delaware. I’ll be doing a book party at Peninsula Gallery in Lewes on Saturday, March 11th from 6 to 8 p.m. It’s an opportunity for me to sign copies of Fatal Option and connect with readers, surrounded by artwork selected by Tony and Carol Boyd-Heron. Peninsula Gallery is one of my favorite places, and I know a lot of people who attend will leave with a book and a painting as well.