Monday, June 25, 2018

Open Book - Torn Away

Today we are opening the book pages of Torn Away by author, Vincent Morrone. Vincent is sharing the inside scoop on his sensual heated, romance suspense where you’ll find mystery, murder, and family drama.

Torn Away was published on November 01, 2107 by The Wild Rose Press, and was the first place winner of the 2016 Saratoga RWA’s Great Beginnings Contest.

Vincent wanted a title using a word that could be carried through a three book series. “Something simple, yet dramatic that resonated with the theme of the book,” Vincent said. “The main character was torn away from his sisters when he was in high school when he was arrested for murder. A young boy has his mother torn away just as they were starting to rebuild their life. The word Torn just seemed to fit. It had the emotional resonance I was looking for, and I liked the visual image. I also wanted a one syllable word to be used in each title so the series could be joined.”

The inspiration for Torn Away was created from so many little things that came together. “I wanted to write a three part series, centered around a broken family, coming together to help a child who had been victimized his entire life, Vincent explained. “In doing so, it helps the family heal. A brother and sister who grew up with horrific abuse, and their friend who has stood by them. I also wanted to work with a character who came from such a dark place, had been through so much, but still represented the best of what being a man is. Not only someone who protects, but who teaches a young boy what it is to be a good man, even if he can’t believe that he is a good man himself. Showing a boy that it’s okay to cry. That when men made mistakes, they own them, apologize and try and make amends.”

The theme for Torn Away is about a man who came from horrific abuse and faces a town where everyone thinks he got away with murder. He comes back home to protect his nephew.

Torn Away is set in a fictional town in Upstate NY called Ember Falls. It’s based on Saratoga Springs NY, which is where Vincent lives (see photo).

We asked why someone would want to live there and Vincent explained, “That’s an interesting question because of the story itself. The main character notes that there’s nothing wrong with the town, even though his life as a child was a nightmare. Ember Falls isn’t a very small town. It’s a modern town that has the same feel as living in beautiful Upstate NY, but for years the police and political side was fairly corrupt. That’s not the case anymore. For the record, Ember Falls is based on where I live, Saratoga Springs NY, but only in a visual sense. Not in the bad stuff.”

In Torn Away you will meet the hero, Drew Duncan who is one of a set of triplets. He and his sisters lost their mother when they were seven, and were raised by their father who was a cruel, sadistic alcoholic. Drew’s entire self-worth was built into the idea that it was his job to protect his sisters. When he was a senior in high school, he was arrested when his girlfriend Molly Winters disappeared. He held for a trial that would never come and pressured to plead guilty from everyone from the DA, his defense attorney and even his own father. Eventually, he was released and believing everyone believed he was a killer, he left town. He served in the marines. Eventually, he became a part of McAlister Security, where he became point man for General Paul McAlister, once again fulfilling his need to protect. When one sister is killed, he returns home to look after his nephew, an eight year old boy who trembles whenever he walks into the room. It doesn’t help that Drew is a former marine, built like a pro wrestler. He has a black phoenix tattoo on his right arm to his chest.

Drew meets the heroine, Samantha Rossi. Sam is a young police officer who is partnered with a guy who Drew bullied as a child, because he was (and still is) crushing on his other sister. Sam isn’t ready for a relationship. She was engaged once to a man who cheated on her, and hit her when she confronted him. (She responded by breaking his nose) She just recently lost her parents in a car accident who were coming to see her because she was upset. She isn’t someone who deals well with secrets, and Drew has tons of them. But there’s something about Drew that pulls at her. A man that survived so much, yet is still capable of such love. And for Drew, a man who has never been able to open up about his past, there’s something about Sam that gets him to open up about what he experienced growing up. She sees through him in a way nobody else has. Sam currently lives with her Nana, who is a freewheeling, country dancing woman who has more of a social life than her granddaughter. Sam had a crush on Drew as a child, but never really knew him. She also has no idea how her life was nearly destroyed as a child by the darkness that surrounds Drew. She’s Italian, with olive skin, and eyes the color of chocolate.

“An important factor for Drew is after his sister Kelli is murdered, Drew comes back to Ember falls to protect her son Cole,” Vincent said. “Right before she was killed, Kelli sent an email to Drew. The idea of going anywhere near Ember Falls terrifies him, but he wants his sisters back. It’s clear that Cole’s stepfather was extremely abusive, and Drew desperately wants to help Cole recover, to earn his trust and protect him. Kelli wanted Drew, Ashley and their friend Lilly to be Cole’s guardians. Drew also needs to earn his other sister’s forgiveness. After being released from prison, Drew left and never contacted his family. Ashley refuses to accept him back, believing he’ll just leave again. And of course, Drew wants to find out who killed his sister, and why. How is it tied in to the disappearance of his high school girl friend from a decade ago and who was willing to kill Kelli to keep Drew from coming back to town.”

There’s an ensemble cast in Torn Away. The most important character besides the main character is Cole, an eight year old child who lived most of his young life with his mother and stepfather. The stepfather (Who was in jail at the time of Kelli’s murder) was clearly very abusive, more so than Drew’s own father. Cole wants to believe Drew won’t hurt him, but he can’t help but shake in fear whenever Drew enters the room. He’s a quiet boy who likes to lose himself in books and dreams of one day becoming an author himself. His stories will become more important in the next book.

Ashley is Drew’s surviving sister, a hot tempered woman who, like Drew, suffered tremendous abuse at the hands of their father. Drew would lock her and their sister Kelli in a closet when their father was on a rampage, leaving Drew to face him on his own. Growing up, he was her hero, but when he left town without a word, she broke, and refuses to forgive him. She greets her returning brother with scorn, despite the fact that she just wants to beg him to never leave again. She’s desperate to be there for Cole, and will do anything for that little boy.

Lilly is their childhood friend. Ashley and Lilly own a small bookstore, and she and Ashley live in the house she inherited from her grandmother. She loves Cole as much as she would a child of her own. Lilly is a pixie of a girl, with fiery red hair. Patient and kind, Lilly helps balance out the tempers of Drew and Ashley. 

Ollie is a local police officer. His mother is the new Chief of Police who has done everything she can to clean up the department. A nerd at heart, Ollie has been secretly in love with Ashley since they were children. Secretly in this case means everyone knows but Ashley. As a kid, Drew bullied him, not liking the fact that Ollie always stuck close to his sister, but that never stopped Ollie. He and Drew both want the same things, to protect Cole, but can Ollie get past how Drew treated him as a kid?

Paul McAlister, AKA the General. His grandson was buddies in Iraq with Drew, killed in action. He has become a surrogate father for Drew.

“As the story opens up with the murder of Drew’s sister Kelli, the obvious villain is whoever is behind that,” Vincent explained. “And I can’t tell you much because that would spoil the story. Of course, there’s more to what happened to Kelli that plays out over the three book series, but the actual killer comes to light in book one.”

“There’s Drew’s alcoholic father who was extraordinarily abusive to all of his children. Knowing how bad it was puts him on the suspect list, but understanding the depravity of it, also means he didn’t kill her. And underneath it all is Edward Hunter. He married Kelli after Cole’s biological father disappeared on them, taking all of Kelli’s savings. However, Kelli described him as being even more of a monster than their own father. While he never claimed Cole as his son, the kid is still terrified of what will happen in Hunter comes to Ember Falls.”

Vincent said Torn Away is an emotional story, where you see how childhood abuse affects someone. “An inability to form attachments, the need for outside validation. Self-worth being attached to how others see you. Feeling as if you deserve whatever abuse you get,” he said. “It’s also a story about coming together, dealing with your own demons, to be there for a child in need. One thing that the main characters all agree on is that Cole comes first.”

While Torn Away deals with some pretty dark material, there’s a lot of heart, tender moments, and quite a lot of laughter. “I’ve always had a strong sense of humor that comes out in my writing,” Vincent said.

One of the main aspects Vincent wants readers to take away from this story is that the love of family can help people survive the worst things imaginable.

Torn Away is part of a series. “Torn Away is book one and available now,” Vincent said. “Torn in Two is in the galley stage.” Keep an eye out on Vincent’s twitter and webpage for a release date. And Torn to Pieces is the finale. “In book two, we’ll see Ollie and Ashley’s story,” Vincent added. “After years of being in love with her, will he finally get the chance at a real relationship? Will Ashley be able to accept love from the one man who represents all that’s right with the world? Cole will continue to heal, but he’ll have to face more issues. The closer his family gets to the truth, the closer they come to his worst fear. Plus, as much as he went through in book one, Drew’s story isn’t finished. In book three, Lilly will get her turn in the spotlight. If you pay close attention to book one and two, you’ll see hints of who will be put in her path. That book will finally answer why Drew was framed for Molly Winters murder.”

You can find more about Vincent and his books here:
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Let’s get a closer look at Torn Away.
To protect his nephew from a killer, former Marine Drew Duncan will face his greatest fear. Going home. 

Drew Duncan swore he’d never go back to Ember Falls again. After he was wrongfully charged with his high school girlfriend’s murder, he waited for a trial that never came. When he was released from jail a year later, he left everything behind. But when his sister is murdered, Drew is forced to return to the hometown where he and his sisters were brutalized by their alcoholic father. 

Once back, not even his training as a Marine and point man for McAlister Security prepares Drew for what he must face--a surviving sister who refuses to forgive him for abandoning her, a nephew who trembles when he enters the room, and an entire town that thinks he got away with murder. To protect his nephew, Drew will face his most terrifying fear. Going home.

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