The Drowning Man is an intense romantic suspense/thriller that will grab you by the shirt collar from the very first pages, and will plunge you into a world of fear, regret, and revenge before surfacing into a very satisfying victory. This incredibly well written book will make you hold your breath so many times—you might need oxygen therapy in order to survive. That's how intense this book is! I've long maintained that Sara Vinduska is one of the best writers I've ever encountered, and this book confirms my assertion. So, what's it about?
Well, after watching his best friend drown when they were children, Kansas City firefighter Trent Barlow has devoted his life to saving others. Twenty years later, Dr. Caroline Newberry still blames Trent for the death of her son. Pushed over the edge by not being able to save a young child at work, Caroline abducts Trent, intent on retribution. Essentially, she snaps and executes a diabolical plan to drown Trent in retribution. Relying on her skills as a doctor, she drowns him, resuscitates him, only to do it again. And again. And again. How long can he endure before finally giving up?
But, Trent is not forgotten. A savvy police detective, Lora Tatum, refuses to give up hope. She can see Trent as more than a victim, and believes in him. But, Lora carries her own baggage as well. Can she save Trent? Can she save herself in the process?
This novel offers so much more than intensity. There is depth and meaning to this story, and, despite the dark subject, there is a message of hope and healing. And it’s so well written! This book deals with adult topics, so I’ll let you know, it is rated R for language, violence, sexual content, and sheer grittiness.
Rather than me offer you a review of the book, I thought maybe you’d rather hear from the author, herself. So, I asked her a handful of questions:
Sara, I loved your newest release, The Drowning Man! This book kept me guessing and never let me relax. You’ve become a master suspense author. I truly could not guess how you were going to end your novel until the very last few pages.
Thank you! I especially appreciate that coming from a talented writer like yourself!
Q. Tell me, why do you write about such dark topics?
I believe that the more the characters are tested, the more challenges they have to face, this is what makes them become the man or woman they are destined to be. It also makes for more interesting reading and makes it so rewarding when they do triumph over all the obstacles in their path.
Q. You tell much of this story from a firefighter’s point of view, and you actually make me believe you have first hand experience on a ladder company. How much research went into your story to make it so believable?
A lot! I first did extensive online research and watched every firefighting movie I could get my hands on. After that, I toured a firehouse in North Carolina where I was living at the time. That was a great experience, they let me sit in the truck, try on all the equipment, and patiently answered my questions.
Q. You place your main character in a position to be drowned and resuscitated multiple times as a torture technique. Why did you choose this method to tell your story, and how much research did it require to make the story so believable?
The basic concept of this story, a man at the bottom of a tank, being drowned over and over actually started out as a dream I had. I know it sounds like a nightmare, but I woke up and immediately thought, I have to write that down. Then came the research.
Q. PTSD is a real struggle for so many people, and your characters each experience some form of PTSD as the story progresses. How does this shape the story and define the characters?
Overcoming their own struggles with PTSD is definitely a fundamental part of the story. The main characters have to become strong enough on their own before they can have a relationship. And by opening themselves up to each other, they continue the healing process.
Q. How much of this story reflects the life of Sara Vinduska? In what ways did you weave elements of your personal life into your story?
Very little actually. That’s the fun for me of being a writer; I get paid to make things up. I do think the one thing I want to resonate in my writing and that is a big part of my life, is that true love can overcome any obstacle.
Sure! Reflections is the first in a romantic suspense series that centers around Lash Brogan, an Irish actor, and his friends and acquaintances. It is much grittier than your typical romantic suspense book, but it sets up the rest of the series and future characters.
Q. What other genres have you tinkered with?
I’ve written a few articles and played around with writing a book about my journey starting out on a farm in Kansas, to wanting to get away from rural life, to finding my way back to it.
But mostly, I write what I love to read, which is romantic suspense.
Q. What’s next for you?
I am finishing the next book in my Lash Brogan series that picks up where Reflections left off. I hope to have it done by the end of the year.
Q. You are a very diverse woman, and you have a second career selling homemade products. Could you tell me about your other hobbies?
I love making natural bath and household products and sell them at our local farmers market. I am a registered yoga instructor. I also love cooking, wine tasting, and K-State football. And chocolate. I’m going to take a master chocolatier class starting the first of the year.
Q. What is the best way for people to follow you or contact you?
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org and I can be found on twitter @scvinduska