First, I want to thank Michael Helms and Motive Means Opportunity for the invitation to post here. Isn’t it lovely when you’re invited somewhere? Michael was kind enough to notice I’d just published a new book, Troubled Streets, and offered up this blog to talk about it. It was too good an offer to pass up.
Where did the story for Troubled Streets come from? It was prompted by one of those on-line memes I see go around every once in awhile. We’ve all seen them, rants about why honest, hard-working, taxpayers should pay for food, shelter, medical support of drug users, criminals, you get the picture. Anyway, I’ve seen these rants for years but this particular day it got me thinking: What would a society that decides they aren’t going to support their “undesirables” look like?
I could have set the story anywhere, modern day, a fantasy location, but since my favorite genre is science fiction with a dash of mystery and thriller added to the mix, I decided to set the story on a planet far away and in the future. That’s what Sci-Fi is for, after all—looking at current events in a way that makes it safe to consider alternatives.
The story of Troubled Streets originated as a flash fiction. I like to use short stories, even flash fiction (1000 words or less) to explore story ideas. My heroine, Zoe Ohale, is seventeen. Her parents, declared undesirables, are both dead and she’s been on the streets since she was twelve. There’s no support on her planet for the children of undesirables. She’s running from the local police (Law Enforcement or “Lees”) because she was engaged in illegal commerce. She was trying to trade some copper wire for credits (money). But she was set up and in the end, was captured. I called that flash story, “Betrayal Moon.” Later I expanded it to a full short story and subbed it to a few ezines and contests. There were no takers but the story had hold of me so in 2015, I used the short story as my base and wrote Troubled Streets for my November National Novel Writing Month story.
And that’s it. My process is to set a story aside for a while to let my brain forget it. I pulled it out in July and began the rewrite and edit process. Now, here we are, a brand new book, first in its series, Zoe Ohale. I have plans for Ms. Ohale. Oh yes I do. I hope you enjoy her story as much as I do.
Synopsis of Troubled Streets
Zoe Ohale has had a hard life on the streets of Baia Mare. It’s about to get a whole lot harder.
A gang of credit thieves has come to the city, and Zoe is tasked with finding them. She makes some progress in her quest, but who should she tell? The gruff cop who might be her ticket off the streets? Or the underworld crime boss who can kill with a word? Neither side can be trusted, and Zoe is left dangling in the middle with no way out.
But when a young girl from her orphan gang is kidnapped by a ruthless mobster, it becomes personal, and it’s up to Zoe to navigate the treacherous streets and bring her back. Going it alone brings more trouble than Zoe expected, and soon she is forced to rely on her own allies to help even the score… including assistance from the most unlikely of places.
As the debts owed pile up and blood starts to spill, Zoe has precious little time to figure out how to balance the scales and bring justice to Baia Mare. From the rich and powerful in their lofty council halls to the downtrodden folks on the dirty streets, the city is heading for a rude awakening – and at the center of it all is Zoe Ohale.
My Bio: A 20-year Air Force career, time as a manager at a computer operations company, wife, mother, sister and volunteer, provides a rich background for Connie Cockrell’s story-telling.
Cockrell grew up in upstate NY, just outside of Gloversville, NY before she joined the military at age 18. Having lived in Europe, Great Britain, and several places around the United States, she now lives in Payson, AZ with her husband: hiking, gardening, and playing bunko. She writes about whatever comes into her head so her books could be in any genre. She’s published fifteen books so far, has been included in five different anthologies and been published on EveryDayStories.com. Connie’s always on the lookout for a good story idea. Beware, you just might wind up in the next one!