Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Open Book - Vengeance Is Mine

Today we are opening the book pages of Vengeance Is Mine by author, Kat Henry Doran. Kat is sharing the inside scoop on her mild contemporary romance where between the pages you’ll find intertwined romances centered around three people who attended, reluctantly, their 25th high school reunion.

Re-released, Vengeance Is Mine was published in June 2016.

Kat said the title was created from exacting revenge on those who tormented those who are 'different' has always fascinated her. “The word Vengeance fell into line with that,” she added.

“The inspiration for Vengeance Is Mine came from stories which were originally part of a multi-story (novella length) reunion series (the Class of '85), published by the Wild Rose Press,” Kat said. “Now in re-release in paperback format and e-book, it is three stories under one cover.”

The theme of Vengeance Is Mine is making amends to those we harmed; exacting revenge on those who tormented the 'less thans' in society; triumph over adversity.

Vengeance Is Mine takes place in Summerville NY (fictional town) on the shores of Lake Ontario, Queen of the Great Lakes, in Western New York State. Tree lined streets with large front lawns and historic brick or stucco mansions dating back to the 1800's. “There are two strata to Summerville society: the haves and the have-nots,” Kat explained. “Old family money dates back to the Golden Age and comes from involvement of big business, one of which is Eastman Industries. On the other side of town, termed “down the hill” are the slums and weather-beaten two and three family structures plagued with high rates of unemployment, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and the criminal behaviors associated with abuse. Due to the proximity to the Lake and yacht club there are strong nautical influences in the names of the shops and other service-related businesses such as the yacht club which sponsors annual regattas, sail boats and elegant tour boats dot the horizon of the lake. Oil tankers passing on to the Saint Lawrence River and (eventually) the Atlantic Ocean are frequent sites. The region boasts a full service hospital and four year liberal arts college. Crime rates are low to moderate thanks to a well-maintained and professionally trained city and county sheriff's departments. Catholic Charities, which once held great influence over the town and its citizens has gone the way of many private social service agencies and essentially dissolved, putting the care and support of the poor, aged and indigent to state, local and federal governments.”

“In Vengeance Is Mine the elegant old homes are out of a postcard from times past; the excellent medical care system; two well trained, well staffed police departments provide for the safety and protection of Summerville and the surrounding county. The school system is one of the highest rated in the state for graduation percentages; acceptances into colleges and other institutions of higher education, and for encouraging student participation in music, art and theater. For recreation, the local triple A farm team for the Baltimore Orioles MLB organization has taken the International League pennant three years running. An expansion team for the National Hockey League is looking to Summerville University for their pre-season training program because of the generous housing, nutritionally based gourmet dining halls and the new state of the art ice arena. Baseball in the summer; hockey in the winter. Who could ask for anything more?”

The main characters are (as appearing in the story) Rafael “Rafe” Archangeli and Grace “Mad Dog” Dunavan (from Mad Dog and the Archangel). Rafael Archangeli returns home to Summerville to bury and old friend, collect his inheritance, then return to the only life he knows--conning wealthy women out of their money. In Rafe's world, money not only equals success, it goes a long way to obliterating the stigma of his past. ...Grace Dunavan, former nun turned community activist, gave up worldly goods a long time ago with no regrets. But she's never known a man with the raw appeal of Rafael Archangeli, the Scourge of Summerville. Their first meeting is like an errant strike of lightening, fierce and stunning in intensity, and takes both by surprise. Has Grace turned Rafe into a changed man? Or is he using his inheritance to pull off the biggest scam of his life?

Fiona Thorpe and Michael Dineen (from The List) ...After an invitation to the twenty-fifth reunion of the Class of '90, Fiona Thorpe's first response is to the trash the symbol of what she once was: the girl most like to explode before age twenty-one. Less than half her former size through hard work and rigorous self-control, Fee is now every woman's fantasy, every man's wet dream. The owner of a successful modeling agency which specializes in older and larger size models, she has no desire to revisit Summerville, New York, the site of her pain-filled, embarrassing past. ...When Dru Horvath puts the arm on Fee to accompany her to the reunion where Dru will receive a prestigious award, she can't say no to one of the few friends she had during her school years. To sweeten the pot, Dru promise they will combine forces to claim revenge against each person at Summerville High who made their lives, and those of others, a living hell. Con-ceiving The List is fairly painless; specific methods call for a moderate degree of imagination; opportunity and means will require a more than a great deal of luck. Fee's initial attempts at revenge, prior to Dru's arrival at the reunion, occur with remarkable ease and profound satisfaction.

As the list shortens, some by luck, others by attrition, three names remain: Richard “Dickhead” Heade, Elizabeth Jayne “Ready Betty” Baumgartner, and Michael “Mick” Dineen, head of the Pittsford Road Posse and sole perpetrator of Fee's greatest humiliation.

Rory McElroy and Druzilla Horvath (from Embraceable You) ...Award winning photo-journalist Druzilla Horvath travels the world, documenting human rights abuses, a vocation which helps in the avoidance of taking risks with her heart. ...Everyday working stiff, a two-time loser when it comes to women, wants nothing to do with another relationship, thank you very much. ...But when Dru comes back into his life, Rory's not sure which poses the greater threat: protecting her from third-world thugs who want to silence permanently--or allowing the one woman who captured his heart years ago to embrace him forever.

“In Vengeance Is Mine the most immediate goal is to survive the Eastman Awards banquet portion of the reunion without committing individual acts of violence,” Kat said. “Watching the school bullies as they are brought to their knees is icing on the cake. To continue serving the needs of the community, on a whole and individually is a secondary goal. To continue thriving in their chosen professions is a tertiary goal.”

Also having an important role are: Dwight “Deege” Thurgood; deceased; life long friend of Rafe Archangeli and Rory McElroy, his generosity and perseverance not only saved Rafe's life but prolonged it by bequeathing Rafe the Thurgood Trust, an avenue for him to make living amends. Elizabeth Jayne (Ready Betty) Baumgartner; spoiled, self-absorbed rich girl who bullied and brow beat those who were different dating back to grade school. In Vengeance is Mine, as Co-Chair of the reunion, she continues to throw her weight around--now she uses the influence of her husband in the pursuance of her ambition. Richard (Dickhead) Heade; Chief of Police for Summerville New York, Dickhead was the school nerd and playground bully, ably abetted by Ready Betty who later became his wife. As a teenager he was instrumental in running Rafe Archangeli and Fiona Thorpe out of town. As Chief he is determined Rafe won't stick around town long after Deege Thurgood's funeral. A bone sticking in Dickheade's craw is Rafe's continued presence in town as well as the promotion of Rory McElroy, Mister Clean of local law enforcement, to Sheriff of Bison County. Sister Gabriella Racz, a member of the order of Sisters of Social Service, she guided the now defunct House of Angels, a home for orphaned and abandoned children, sponsored by the local Catholic diocese. It was Sister Gaby who introduced Dru Horvath, one of her charges, to a used Kodak point and shoot camera which led to Dru's status as a double Pulitzer winner.

The two main villains in Vengeance Is Mine are Beth and Dick Heade, former playground bullies and current chairs of the reunion committee. She is the local real estate guru; he is the Chief of Police in Summerville. Two more self-absorbed and narcissistic individuals are rarely found on this planet. The surprises just keep on coming to these two, first when Rafe returns to town and decides to stay to manage the Thurgood Trust, then learning that two of the honored guest at the reunion banquet are their favored 'victims' from back in the day.

The key elements in Vengeance Is Mine are: One can survive adversity and thrive, follow your dreams, and giving to others who are in need will return ten-fold--and make you a better person. “We all knew them: the bad boy; the fat girl; the one who never talked; the one who had a horrendous home life; the one with physical challenges,” Kat said. “Did we help them then? Did we befriend them? What can we do now to atone for our failures and faults? Another message concerns recovery from alcohol and/or drug abuse: Taking advantage of the twelve-steps, one day at a time, relying on a higher power; if one makes it their main goal and works for it, it can be done.”

You can find more about Kat and her book here:

Let’s get a closer look at Vengeance Is Mine.
Revenge: a dish best served warm and toasty. 
Ever think about going back to study hall to face down the school bully? 
The mean girls? 
The brainless jocks who make your life a pure misery? 
For Dru Horvath, Gypsy orphan turned Pulitzer Prize winner; Rafe Archangeli, the Scourge of Summerville who now leads a multi-million dollar trust; and Fiona “Fat Aggie” Thorpe who recreated herself into an A-list model with her own A-list agency, the opportunity to exact revenge is too good to pass up. 
Will they find the vengeance they crave? 
Or something more valuable?


Sharon Bell Buchbinder said...

Great stories about people overcoming challenges and becoming more than they ever expected to be--and surprising those who put them down earlier in life.

Alina K. Field said...

This is a theme that resonates with many people!

Charlotte O'Shay said...

Vivid real people. Not characters. Congratulations on this release and best of luck Kat.

Beverly Wells said...

Strong, exciting characters, events and emotions that rekindle long forgotten memories whether good or bad,laughs galore, and great true to life actions and reactions that will touch and warm your heart. A fun read that had me hooked from the start and I loved in its entirity. Wishing you the best and much success.

Alicia Dean said...

Fascinating characters and a great premise. Sounds like a wonderful read. Best wishes!