Listening to his stories I envisioned more than what the TV news had been reporting. I heard about people who had lost homes, possessions and in some cases loved ones. And I learned what it meant to have an indomitable spirit to “pick yourself up” and rebuild. Despite all of the suffering and loss, there were amazing stories of generosity and kindness; people who had lost their homes cooked kettles over campfires as a thank you to the rescue workers and so much more.
To this day the TV news images of the flood waters and people on rooftops seem unreal. I certainly don’t mean to trivialize what had happened, but those scenes seemed more appropriate in some horrifying disaster movie than one of our American cities. Tragedies happened all over and not just from the failed levees in New Orleans. Tornadoes, high winds and torrential downpours wreaked havoc on property and the economy throughout the region.
Then again in 2008 Hurricanes Gustav and Ike struck the Gulf Coast. And hubby spent another five weeks down there; this time he was based in Texas. And again the folks down there were examples of humanity. This time hubby came home with tales of people who had been rebuilding their lives only to have waves, wind and rain tear apart their efforts. Some of the Texas victims had been relocated Louisiana survivors. Still, they were determined to rebuild.
The hurricanes of 2005 and 2008 were the inspiration for Deanna Blair and her family. In Hostage Heart Deanna’s “mamere”, the matriarch of her family, was lost when the levees overflowed. Her parents’ business was destroyed along with the home she grew up in. With her parents living in a FEMA trailer outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and no money to rebuild their once flourishing business, Deanna takes off for the call of New York City and the possibility of a salary to send back home. There wasn’t much, but she did what she could.
As for the inspiration for Ryan Hunter, well… suffice to say I used to date a guy (obviously long before hubby) who did undercover work in law enforcement. There was the evening I was visiting friends in an area of the city I normally didn’t frequent and I saw him. I was so surprised and excited – I had no idea he was working until that stranger ran out of the shadows…
It’s electric when Deanna and Ryan first get together. I hope that you enjoy their journey.
by Chelle Cordero
Life was hard after the hurricanes swept through, destroying her parents' home and livelihood...Deanna did the only thing she could do. She moved to New York City, found a job, worked hard, scrimped and saved to send what little she could manage back home to Louisiana to her parents.
An errand for her boss - a chance encounter with a crew of bank robbers - a kind man who tried to help her and deserved her courageous help in return...
But he wasn't the man she thought he was...no, he was so very much more!
Hi all - there has been a time change on the Blog Talk Radio Show on Sunday - it's at 8PM EST (NY time)
I hope everyone will join Kimberlee Williams and me this Sunday 7/26, at 8PM EST at http://tr.im/thJG