Center of Gravity
by Laura McNeill
Her whole life, Ava Carson has been sure of one thing: she doesn’t measure up to her mother’s expectations. So when Mitchell Carson sweeps into her life with his adorable son, the ready-made family seems like a dream come true.
In the blink of an eye, she’s married, has a new baby, and life is grand.
Or is it?
When her picture-perfect marriage begins unraveling at the seams, Ava convinces herself she can fix it. It's temporary. It’s the stress. It’s Mitchell’s tragic history of loss.
If only Ava could believe her own excuses.
Mitchell is no longer the charming, thoughtful man she married. He grows more controlling by the day, revealing a violent jealous streak. His behavior is recklessly erratic, and the unanswered questions about his past now hint at something far more sinister than Ava can stomach. Before she can fit the pieces together, Mitchell files for divorce and demands full custody of their boys.
Fueled by fierce love for her children and aided by Graham Thomas, a new attorney in town —Ava takes matters into her own hands, digging deep into the past. But will finding the truth be enough to beat Mitchell at his own game?
Center of Gravity weaves a chilling tale, revealing the unfailing and dangerous truth that things—and people—are not always what they seem.
When your children are stolen, the pain swallows you whole. Logic fades, reason retreats. Desperation permeates the tiniest crevices of your mind. Nothing soothes the ache in your wounded soul.
Right in front of me, my sweet, charmed life fell to pieces. Everything destroyed; a hailstorm’s wrath on a field of wildflowers. All I’d known—gone. Foolish me, I’d believed in magic, clung tight to false promises. The lies, spoken from tender lips, haunt me now, follow me, and whisper into my ear like a scorned lover.
What’s left is emptiness.
Give up, a voice urges. Let go.
No! I argue back. My children aren’t gone. Not yet. Precious and delicate, tiny fossils, they exist in glass-boxed isolation. Hidden. Protected.
And so tonight, I run. Blood pulses through my legs, my muscles protest; my lungs scream for more oxygen. Thick storm clouds brew in the distance. The rain falls in blinding sheets. The force of it pricks my skin like needles, but the pain only makes me push harder.
I will rescue them.
Lightning flashes across the wet driveway. The bulk of his truck looms large in the black night. I skid to a stop and catch my breath, pressing a hand to my heaving chest.
They’re here. My children are here.
Thunder booms and crashes, nearer now, the wind whips my hair. A gust tosses tree branches to the ground. Birds cry and flutter to safety. An escaped sandbox bucket spins, clattering on the blacktop.
I grasp the railing and pull myself up the steps. At the top, the door’s shiny-slick with water and humidity. Mother Nature howls and drowns out my knocking.
“Hello! Can you hear me?” With my palm open wide, I slap at the barrier, willing it to open. I will rescue my children. I will rescue them . . . or I will die trying.
Talking with author Laura McNeill...
What is your writing environment?
I have a little office in my house with lots of light. The house is surrounded by trees and lots of flowers, so there are lots of birds chirping and neighbors out walking pets in the morning. I’ve used the same desk and chair since I began writing in 2007.
I like to have coffee (flavored of any kind) and quiet. I am also a strict plotter, so my outline has to be in relatively good shape (which can take weeks) for me to begin a manuscript.
Who is your perfect hero/heroine and why?
Someone who is smart, yet flawed, but strong enough to overcome personal demons to achieve the goals or solve the dilemma at hand.
I like to write about women who face great difficulties that often seem insurmountable, and watch them discover how to tackle the issues and come out on the other side a better person!
What authors have caught your interest lately and why?
Sue Monk Kidd’s An Invention of Wings is brilliant!
Am loving Pam Jenoff’s The Last Summer on Chelsea Beach – lovely writing!
Listening to Mary Kubica’s Pretty Baby – creepy!
What type of book have you always wanted to write?
A book that resonates with readers and stirs conversations. Anything close to Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl!
Top 3 things on your bucket list?
Visit Santorini, Greece
Purchase a cottage on Keuka Lake (Upstate NY)
Finish my Ph.D.
Finish my Ph.D.
How did you get the idea for this particular novel?
Center of Gravity is about the dissolution of a marriage. I had recently endured an extremely stressful divorce, myself, and I had spent the past year talking to other women and men about their stories of love and loss.
It seemed that everyone I talked to had an aunt, a cousin, a best friend, or a sister who had been through a tragic, heart wrenching break up. Some involved children, some didn’t. Many included alienation from friends and family. Some involved violence. The majority involved a long, drawn out court battles. All of the stories left me feeling, somehow, that I was not quite alone. I began writing the novel which would become Center of Gravity.
What is your favorite scene in your new release?
There is a scene later in the book in which the attorney Graham Thomas discovers Ava’s husband, Mitchell, lying to the high school office staff about Ava and her behavior. He calls him out right away and defends Ava’s honor. Loved it!
What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available?
I have another suspense novel coming out from HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson in April of 2016. It’s about a single mom in small town Coastal Georgia who goes to prison for a crime she didn’t commit. When she is paroled ten years later, she discovers that the person who betrayed her is one of the people she trusts most.
What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I enjoy spending time with my two boys the most! I also love traveling, reading, spending time at my parents’ lake house in Upstate NY, and enjoying a movie. I love being outdoors, especially on a crisp fall afternoon.
What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know?
I keep a tiara in my office (given to me by my friends as a joke) …. You never know when you might need to feel like a princess …. Even for just a few minutes J
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
After six years behind the anchor desk at two CBS affiliates, Laura moved to the Alabama Gulf Coast to raise her family. Her accolades in broadcasting include awards from the Associated Press, including Best News Anchor and Best Specialized Reporter.
Laura works at Spring Hill College as the school’s web content and social media manager and is active in her community—participating in fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, Ronald McDonald House, and Providence Hospital’s Festival of Flowers.
Laura was recently awarded a 2-book deal with Thomas Nelson Publishing, a division of HarperCollins. Her novel, Center of Gravity, set in Mobile, Ala., will be published in July of 2015. Laura is represented by Elizabeth Winick Rubenstein, president of McIntosh and Otis literary agency in New York. Her writing awards include those from William Faulkner-Wisdom Creative Writing Competition, Writer’s Digest, RWA, and the Eric Hoffer competition.
She holds a master’s degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and a bachelor’s degree in English from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She is currently pursuing a second master’s degree in interactive technology from the University of Alabama. She is a native of Upstate New York and currently resides near the Alabama Gulf Coast with her two children.
Author's Website: http://lauramcneill.com/
Author's Blog: http://lauramcneill.com/layouts/blog/
Laura McNeill will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Follow tour HERE