100,000 children are sexually trafficked every year in the US. In the 1990s, Charlie was one of those children. She’s spent her adult life getting past that, trying to become a successful business owner in Serendipity, TX. Relationships are not goals for her. In fact, she’s not even sure she has what it takes to be a part of one.
Les is a fool for love. All he’s ever wanted was a girl. Now that every last one of his friends are married, and in happy relationships with families, he can’t stop thinking about the sexy lady who sells house parts, even if everything about her screams at him to stay away. He just can’t.
When they are thrown together on a cross-country road trip, Charlie’s past comes back to her full-force, long-buried memories inundating her. Les seems to be the only thing grounding her to the present, when everything else seems to be trying to tear her apart.
While it has a HEA, the road getting there is long, rough, and dark. Enjoy the ride.
Serious Issues and great love stories
Conflict is essential in any great story. The bigger the conflict, the greater the story. Most of the best love stories have external conflicts outside the protagonist’s control. From revolutions to spouses, to language and cultural barriers, to wars and even illness, external conflict is essential to love stories.
We all know, lovers cannot just be left alone to be happy. Two people don’t just meet and fall in love. Not even in real life. There is always something to mess things up, whether it’s a horrible person, a recalcitrant inner monologue, or some catastrophe keeping them apart. There will always be something to keep them from their immediate happily ever after. The more tragic the circumstances, the more awesome the joining. The bigger the fight, the better the make-up sex.
Think of The Notebook. Noah and Allie have the perfect summer romance (they met and fell in love) but social issues keep them apart, for years. Then when they finally get their happily-ever-after, they are ripped apart again by Alzheimer’s, a tragic illness that rips them apart every time Allie wakes up and forgets again. It’s a touching (okay, heart-wrenching) story that brings to the forefront concerns of social class treatment as well as dementia, serious issues in our society (sadly).
Authors from the beginning of written word have attempted to bring social matters to light through literature, whether it be Shakespeare speaking out against the monarchy through thinly veiled parallels drawn in Julius Caesar, or Harper Lee speaking out against class issues in To Kill a Mockingbird. I’m currently reading Zack Love’s The Syrian Virgin, a romance set with the backdrop of the Christian Persecution in Syria. Talk about some powerful stories.
Okay, so it looks like I’m trying to put myself in league with Harper Lee and William Shakespeare. Sorry, I don’t believe I’m that good. I just like to tell stories. And I’d like the stories I tell to mean something to somebody. Not all my stories have a bigger picture I’m trying to bring to light, but this one does.
In Saving Charlie, Charlie is a victim. She never sees herself that way, and the reader may not understand it at first, but she was abused as a young girl. She’s not very likeable at first, but she is who she is, no apologies necessary. Sold into sexual slavery by her own parents, she’s overcome many obstacles to even survive into adulthood, much less succeed as an independent adult. Charlie’s faith in humanity hangs by a thin, tangled string, but she knows there is good out there, and she finds it in Les.
For me, the sex trafficking isn’t just Charlie’s backstory. It is the story. As a writer, I strive to tell the story. If I have to put in a guy with abs and some hot sex in it to get people to read it, so be it. But this is a story that needs to be talked about. A dialogue needs to be opened up about trafficking in the US, and around the world, so that our children are no longer endangered.
About the author:
Anne has written her entire life and has the boxes of angst-filled journals and poetry to prove it. She's been writing for public consumption for the last four years. Currently she is writing two romance series. In Stories of Serendipity, she explores real people living real lives in small town Texas in a contemporary romance setting. In The Four Winds, she chronicles God's four closest archangels, Uriel, Gabriel, Raphael, and Michael, falling in love and becoming human. She lives in rural East Texas with her husband and children in her own private oasis, where she prides herself in her complete lack of social skills, choosing instead to live with the people inside her head.