Mystery surrounds the town of Summertime, Indiana, where fifteen-year-old Tommy Walker and his little sister are sent to live with relatives they’ve never met. Tommy soon makes friends with Finn Wilds, a rebellious local who lives with his volatile and abusive stepfather, who also happens to be the town’s sheriff.
Finn invites Tommy to late night meetings in the woods, where Tommy gets to know two girls. He forms a special and unique connection with both girls. The meetings become a place where the kids, who don’t fit in at school, or home can finally belong. As the group of friends begin to unravel clues to a cold case murder and kidnapping— they learn the truth is darker and closer than they ever imagined. Even if they live to tell, will anyone believe them?
What inspired you to write Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced?
Nocturnal Meetings was inspired by my work with foster kids. It was also inspired by my interest in cold case crimes. Both influences merged in my head. Also, I’m super intrigued by the woods.
I’ve told this once and I do not fear to tell it many more times; the cover is beautiful! Are you a part in the creation process of the book cover?
Shayne Leighton, Parliament House’s publisher created the cover. She is very talented. She’s also accessible to the writers and kept me involved. The cover has a unique literary appeal. I wouldn’t have been able to come up with it. The cover is outside the box and I liked that. I find people hate it or love it.
The characters in Nocturnal Meetings seems really realistic. Are any of them based on a real person?
One boy I counseled inspired Tommy. He was such a good son and brother and held his family together for a long time until social services became involved. His mother’s drug abuse ultimately broke the family apart. Finn was inspired by a boy I went to school with that I met in detention. There was also a dash of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn in the Tommy and Finn characters (thus the names). A character Haile Palmer this out in the book.
What is the process of making your characters? How did you make it so that they compliment each other very well?
Thank you! I always think of my characters and cast them before I start writing. Annie and Silence’s friendship was similar to my relationship with my best friend growing up. We’d bicker like an old married couple.
In all honesty, I expected some fantastical nature in this book. How did you decide in making this a mystery/suspense genre? Is this your preferred genre in the first place?
I like to read all genres except erotica. I love coming of age books like The Outsiders and a Separate Peace and suspenseful reads best.
What was the hardest part in writing this book?
I think finding the time is a challenge. Self-doubt is probably even a bigger challenge for me.
I think that your writing flows easily and can really consume its readers. How does your writing process work?
Thank you! I listen to the characters but have to go back and edit a lot because I have dyslexia. The first chapter is the hardest for me. I rewrote the opening chapter of Nocturnal Meetings a dozen times. Beta readers helped me when it came to the second draft.
Annie is such a smart girl, in my opinion. If she has a favourite book, what would it be?
She is a Potterhead.
A personal question: Did you ever think of making any of your characters gay?
I did think about making Finn and Tommy gay and one reader told me she shipped them [as do I]. The boys I based them partly on were straight so even though it could have been beautiful, it wasn’t quite right. I do have a gay character in my new book.
How long did it take you to finish writing Nocturnal Meetings?
I wrote it in 6 months and edited for another 6 months. Then brought beta readers to the mix and only then had the confidence to send it out.
Random question: If you could meet one fictional character, who would it be and why?
This is such an awesome question! You said which ‘one’ which makes it so hard to answer. It would be incredible to meet a character from a different time period like the strong and smart Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice, or a character with magical abilities like Hermione Granger, or laying my eyes on Edward Cullen from the Twilight in the flesh.
How do you avoid distractions when writing?
I write late at night when everyone is sleeping or sneak away to find a quiet spot.
What is your most favourite quote from Nocturnal Meetings?
Tommy’s hippie mom writes, “You know the world holds the weight of all things but notice it is trembling.” It just came to my head and was kind of deep.
Are we looking into another project? Because we absolutely cannot wait for a new book!
That is so cool! I finished my second book and started a third. Both projects are coming of age suspense. The completed manuscript has a paranormal element and takes place at a boarding school in England.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
R.J. Garcia is a wife and proud mom. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short-stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!