Joseph S., Goodreads
Published: July 2019
Finding Lisa is a character driven story about a quirky Canadian woman named Tara who is about to turn 40. She dreads the thought. Everything is going wrong in her life from her stale marriage to her boring job to her hopeless crush on a 24-year-old guy.
The only thing right in Tara's life is her best friend Lisa who has just confided that she is pregnant and the baby does not belong to her partner Ryan, who has a history of domestic violence. Then Lisa disappears and the search is on to find her.
From Real Life to an Interesting Story
How did real life influence my story? My book was inspired by the true life disappearance of an acquaintance of mine. Finding Lisa is not the verbatim tale of what happened to this woman but rather a highly fictionalized account of what could have happened if a number of factors had been different.
In real life, I worked on behalf of the wrongly convicted for many years, and a woman I'll call Laura was part of my support group. We never met in person because she didn't attend meetings, but we spoke on the phone once a month for two years. Originally Laura wanted to write a book about the wrongly convicted man we were supporting; however, she got sidetracked and fell in love with a "jailhouse snitch" who testified at our guy's Supreme Court hearing. Let's call the snitch Brad, and I'll call the wrongly convicted guy Dale. I'm using pseudonyms because I don't want anybody to Google this story and find out what happens before they read the book!
Laura visited Brad every weekend at a federal penitentiary, where he was serving time for having killed a woman in a drug dispute. Laura truly believed that Brad had changed; she spent tens of thousands of dollars of her own money to hire lawyers for Brad to get him out of prison earlier. When he was released, she was ecstatic. She took him into her home. All her friends and acquaintances like me were against this. We said don't do it. You have no reason to think that you can trust him. BUT she was in love, and she was simply a kind person. She was forgiving. She believed in self-reinvention, which was one of the tenets of her twelve-step program. Nine months after Brad moved in with Laura, Laura went missing, and I was part of the search team that went looking for her.
Laura's disappearance haunted me for many years, and I can't tell you how many times I have asked myself if she did the right thing by giving Brad a do-over, another opportunity in life to begin again. This is one of the questions that I posed in Finding Lisa. Lisa is based on Laura, but they are not the same person because as I mentioned, I did highly fictionalize this story, and I changed certain variables and asked myself: what if I had been best friends with Laura and she had been pregnant and met Brad at NA where people frequently make a 360° turn? What if Laura's partner had not been a murderer but rather a felon with a history of domestic violence? At the root of the book is the question, can criminals change? Can violent men become decent men and good partners? Are women kind and forgiving or stupid and reckless when they take these kinds of men into their lives?
Conversely, when something happens to a woman, should we always look to the male partner as our first suspect or to someone with a record? I did spend 20 years working on behalf of the wrongly convicted. We don't want to jump to conclusions. We need evidence before we can charge somebody with a crime. I can't tell you what happened with Brad and Laura, because that would provide major spoilers, but I will encourage you to read all about Lisa and her ex-fellow partner, Ryan, whom she met in Narcotics Anonymous, where people are given second chances, for good or for bad.
All the best,
About the author:
Originally from New Jersey, Sigrid Macdonald lived for almost thirty years in Ottawa, Ontario, and currently resides in Weston, Florida. She has been a freelance writer for years. Her works have appeared in The Globe and Mail newspaper; the Women's Freedom Network Newsletter; the American magazine Justice Denied; The Toastmaster; and the Anxiety Disorders Association of Ontario Newsletter. Her first book, Getting Hip: Recovery from a Total Hip Replacement, was published in 2004. Her second book, Be Your Own Editor, followed in 2010. Although Finding Lisa is written in first person, Macdonald only resembles her character in the sense that she once had a neurotic fixation on her hair, and she has always been called by the wrong name; instead of being called Sigrid, people have called her Susan, Sharon, Astrid, Ingrid and, her personal favorite, Siri.
Macdonald is a social activist who has spent decades working on the seemingly disparate issues of women's rights and wrongful convictions; she has worked at the Women's Center at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, and was a member of AIDWYC, The Association in Defense of the Wrongly Convicted. She owns an editing company called Book Magic. Sigrid is a public speaker and a member of Mothers against Drunk Driving, Ottawa Independent Writers, the American Association of University Women, and the Editors' Association of Canada. Visit her website at or friend her on Facebook: .
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