Welcome to Wednesday’s Blue Light special. Today’s feature is Stacy Green’s new mystery/suspense, Tin God.
Before we get to Stacy’s playlist, I’d like to tell you what’s special about Tin God (to me).
The Road Not Taken
Because I work with Stacy, I know she does not write to a set theme. Even so, this is a fiction element at which she excels. The theme in Tin God–in Catie terms–is “you can never go back again.”
Tin God stars a young woman named Jaymee Ballard who made a decision she regrets. As an unwed, pregnant teenager, Jaymee gave her child up for adoption.
From that moment forward, Jaymee lives under a cloud of “if only.” If only she hadn’t let the wrong man seduce her. If only she hadn’t been so weak-willed. If only she hadn’t been so naive. If only…
Over the course of this novel, Jaymee learns that one can never return to a moment in time. Though she can make different decisions and move forward with her life in a more positive manner, she can never return to, or fix, the decision she regrets.
We also meet Nick Samuels in Tin God. Nick punishes himself daily for his wife’s unsolved murder. On the night his wife was murdered, Nick stood her up for a dinner date…and never saw her alive again. Can you imagine the guilt?
Nick functions in his own world of “if only.” If only he’d been a more attentive husband. If only he had not been married to his job. If only he hadn’t stood her up for dinner that night. Nick’s self-flagellation turns him into a harried zombie, bent on “fixing” his wife’s murder.
Nick learns much the same lesson as Jaymee, only in different terms. He learns that solving his wife’s murder won’t bring her back, that all he can do is forgive himself, learn from his mistakes, and move forward.
Moving forward is all any of us can do, and that’s what makes this such a universal theme. Robert Frost even wrote about this concept in “The Road Not Taken,” though he seems a great deal happier than most of us are with our decisions.
Without further blathering from me…
Thanks so much to Catie for having me back for my second playlist! I listened to a lot of music as I wrote this book, and I’ve chosen six songs from some of my favorite scenes.
TIN GOD is set in fictional Roselea, Mississippi, which is modeled after Natchez. Jaymee is the heroine, and she is a poverty stricken woman trying to keep her head above water. She’s desperate to find the daughter she believes she lost to an illegal adoption, and when the book opens, she’s just lost her rent money and is reflecting on her lousy life.
She arrives at Roselea’s premiere antebellum mansion, Evaline (which is modeled after Boone Hall in Charleston, S.C.) only to find her employer and friend dead. As I wrote these scenes, I listened to a lot of Damien Rice, and the song that shaped Jaymee finding the body was Rice’s version of Hallelujah. It’s as haunting as the original, and Rice adds a depth of sorrow to the piece.
This song was on repeat during the writing of TIN GOD because I really felt the lyrics captured so much of Jaymee’s past and present heartaches. Between the loss of her daughter, best friend, and now employer, she has suffered immense pain. And when she realizes the murders may be connected to the illegal adoption of her daughter, she’s consumed by guilt.
Why do I feel this way
Why do I kneel?
How could I let it go?
Why do I feel?
Why do I feel?
Nick Samuels is the hero of the book, and the widow of Jaymee’s best friend, who was murdered four years ago. Her killing is still unsolved, and when Nick receives a typewritten letter with the taunt, “I killed your wife again last night,” he rushes to her hometown of Roselea, Mississippi. He hasn’t been back since her funeral, and this song represents the guilt he feels at being a workaholic during his marriage and not appreciating what he had until it was taken away.
One of my favorite scenes is around the middle of the book, when Jaymee hears something that pushes her to her breaking point. Without giving too much away, she’s bent on confronting two men: her father, who abused her and treated her like trash, and the father of the child she believes was taken from her. I listened to this song as Jaymee makes her trek from the small diner where she works, her anger building, to her parent’s home.
Nick and Jaymee are both full of uncertainty and guilt from their pasts, but they are drawn together as soon as he arrives in town. The complication of his being the widow of her best friend adds a lot of angst to their union, and I thought this song was a great representation of that.
Again, I can’t give too much away, but this song plays in the climax of the book, as Jaymee is being rushed to her ultimate battle. Much of the scene plays in her head as she is being driven on a back country road, and I’ve always thought this song captures the irony and bittersweet taste of the moment.
An exclusive excerpt from Tin God
As mentioned above, one of my favorite scenes is Jaymee’s confrontation with her father and another man. The soundtrack for this scene is Damien Rice’s Creep.
The Ballard home looked just as it always had: a two-story colonial with a white picket fence, rosebushes strategically placed so the vibrant pink blooms peeked out between the slats in the fence, and a massive oak tree in the front yard. Paul even left the old rope swing hanging on the branches. The perfect picture of a happy family life. Sans the black sheep, of course.
Jaymee waited until darkness closed in. She didn’t need a nosy neighbor calling to kiss Paul’s ass by telling him his trashy daughter was skulking around. Just a block away now. Her hands tingled with every step, half-numb, half consumed with adrenaline. She envisioned them closing around Holden’s neck, squeezing the life out of him until he confessed. He deserved to be strangled just like her friends had been.
Too bad she wasn’t strong enough. Cicadas called as she passed, and a mockingbird shot out of one of the oak trees.
A knife would do it.
Manic laughter shattered the peaceful night. Jaymee covered her mouth when she realized it was her own. Would killing the man be fun? She pictured him dropping to his knees, blood pouring from the wound she’d inflicted, begging for mercy. Finally, she’d have the power. He’d confess his sins like a good Baptist believing God’s forgiveness would still allow him into Heaven.
The rage she’d kept bottled up for years was now an inferno. Anger at herself and Penn Gereau now merged into a desperate need for vengeance.
About the author
Born in Indiana and raised in Iowa, Stacy Green earned degrees in journalism and sociology from Drake University. After a successful advertising career, Stacy became a proud stay-at-home mom to her miracle child. Now a full-time author, Stacy juggles her time between her demanding characters and supportive family. She loves reading, cooking, and the occasional gardening excursion. Stacy lives in Marion, Iowa with her husband Rob, their daughter Grace, and the family’s three obnoxious but lovable canine children.
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