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Questions about The Jillian Factor

Answered questions about The Jillian Factor.

Where did I get my idea for the Jillian Factor?

When I received these questions about where I got my ideas for the book, I decided I’d answer them here. The Jillian Factor and the Prequel take place in Southeast Florida where I lived for 30 years. Oops. I guess that shows I’m not a kid any longer. (Come to think of it, this next sentence would have blown that belief out of the water anyway.) I retired and was planning my bucket retirement trip with no intention of returning to Florida to live.

City life

I’ll admit to hating the large metropolis. The convenience was nice since I could go to the mall or the grocery store without a having to plan it so I didn’t forget anything. Then there was the Performing Arts Center, a football, baseball and hockey team within a half hour of where I lived. The ocean was 45 min away to the east. Yes, I miss a few of those things but I can do without them.

What I don’t miss are the traffic jams, the humidity, the rude and obnoxious people, the lack of community, being nothing but a number, the ‘keep up with the Jones’ attitude, etc. In other words, I was a square peg being forced into a smaller round hole. I guess my upbringing in a small town ever left and I spent those 30 years wanting to move to a small town where people know who you are and greet you like a friend.

Family vacation

Back to my retirement. My daughter wanted the family to get together for a fun week before I left on my trip. Sounded good to me. My stepson planned on going to Lake Louisa outside of Clermont, FL for the week. We would have a big enough place for everyone, the lake, a pool and a lot of activities to join in on while there. Place was set, now all I had to do was to get everyone I could together. Easier said than done. Sometimes, I swear, getting kids to come together for a family vacation is like herding cats.

So—what does this have to do with the book?

The idea arises

Easy enough to answer. I got the idea for Jillian after I returned home from that vacation and saw this picture.

Sunset through the Cypress trees.

Now, imagine a young girl on vacation in this setting with a family whose normal mode of communication is loud. Very loud. Everyone is talking over the other, and no one is listening. What would that girl do to get out of this confusion if she couldn’t stand the volume of noise in the small space where they were staying? Go for a walk to the lake where she could see this sunset and enjoy the peace of the water?

Probably. But a walk to the lake wouldn’t get it for a story. Something had to happen. Yep, you got it…a murder sounded like a fun thing. Now remember, I had no idea of where this story was going to go, or even the specific genre at the time.

The settings

So that you are aware, most of the sites I use in both books are real places, (the same will be true for the next book also) but the interiors and some of the names have been changed to protect the businesses. As to the legal portion of the book, most of it is all made up, so don’t expect it to even come close to reality. So all you lawyers out there, quit laughing. (Sitting through a trial for a case it is totally boring and filled with minutiae you forget almost as soon as it’s given. Been there, done that and likely to have to repeat it soon.) The actual trial is all fantasy and was used as a backdrop to bring out her story. We are allowed dramatic license in books, so there! (Think movies were all the trials as dramatic…and totally unrealistic.)

Although the courthouse and library can be found in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, the place where they stay is recognizable only if you know the area where all the duplexes are located. The settings which are totally a figment of my imagination all deal with her brother Brad. There is an arts district in old Ft. Lauderdale, but it isn’t anything like I depicted in the book. Brad’s studio and apartment don’t exist other than on the pages of the book.

Also, the office of the detective agency is based on a real building but again, it was change to suit my purposes along with the condo Wyatt lives in, although there is one skyscraper where helicopters do land and take off, so it isn’t far off the mark.

The picture

Oh, before I forget, the picture above was taken from the dock mentioned in the book, so yeah, that was a real place with the white cottage off to my right and the shoreline she followed going in the direction I’m looking for the photo. The parking lot is located off the dock  to my right and does lead to a paved road which, if you turn left, will take you back to the resort.

Where did I get the ideas for the characters?

Jillian Potter

I got the idea for Jill from several sources. First of all, she is Irish and that alone was a fun point for me since I like all things Celtic. Then there was a newspaper article I remembered from the 1980 era about a prostitution ring. The women had been kidnapped  from a smuggling operation and then forced into brothels when their families couldn’t afford to pay more to ransom them from the smugglers. Most were illegals who had payed to get here only to discover they had pay more to get their freedom or work in servitude until death or they escaped. Only a small percentage of the women were forced into the brothels. The rest were placed in factories, homes and other places to work for nothing until their bill was paid. Most of the time, that was until they were rescued, escaped, or died.

That article stuck with me for some reason and came back into my memory when I began to formulate what happened to Jill.  I was asked  why that particular scenario? Well part of it was that most people have no clue as to what survivors go through after the abuse is over. That fear and pain is something you never get rid of completely, no matter how much therapy you have. The emotions, fears, anger and other feelings are all very real for survivors. Her desire for revenge is another real thing and is another emotion most never get rid of when their abusers get a slap on the wrist before being allowed to go free and do it all over again.

Thomas Wellington

He is the voice of reason. He is a man of a thousand faces where you see him but you don’t recognize him as he blends in with the crowd with nothing to make him stand out other than his eyes if you even pay attention to him  The man is patterned after a few law enforcement people I know who work(ed) undercover. No one would believe they were law-enforcement with their actions and looks. I picked US Marshal as his agency as they have more latitude and pick up cases the other agencies don’t want to handle. I needed the flexibility for the story. I’m sure there are several in the US marshals out there laughing with the lawyers, but when you can’t actually talk to one of them, it’s difficult to get a realistic picture of what they do, even with extensive research.

Wyatt Potter

Her grandfather (and boss) is based on a person who I knew for many years. He was a good friend, but couldn’t hardly speak one sentence without dropping an F bomb. The language was something he picked up while actually working on the docks as a young man unloading ships in New Jersey. Like Wyatt, he was a big man, rough around the edges but had a heart of gold. Yeah, he recognized himself when he read the book, loving how I gave him a granddaughter who worked with him. (He’s actually owns his own business but it isn’t a detective agency—that was another friend.)

Bruce Foster

Her maternal grandfather is the rich men I’d see at the race track who had the women trailing after them, attempting to get their attention. Several of these men actually became friends when they discovered I knew how to handicap a horse and was decent at it. These are the men who could afford to bet a thousand dollars a race and think nothing about it when they lost it, whereas for me, a five dollar bet was, and still is, a lot. They were a fun group, most of who weren’t stuffed shirts and enjoyed having fun. I’d go to see the horses run and challenge myself to  see how many of the winners I could pick in a day. (That varied, but was usually 3 to four out of 15 races.)

Bruce is an amalgamation of several of those well-to-do men along with another who actually lived in one of the fancy places in Boca Raton. That is the place I used to pattern the condo Jill uses to in the Prequel.

Brad Potter

He is the typical gentle giant who you wouldn’t expect to be an artist. Of course he loves the intrigue of helping Jill and his grandfather. There have been questions as to why he doesn’t have a girl friend. I’m leaving that one open for now as I haven’t decided what way to take him in the fourth book I’m plotting out which will take Jill and Tom either back to Florida or somewhere different.

All questions answered?

You now have all the background on the ongoing Jillian Factor characters. Oh dear, not all the questions were answered…Where did I get the names? Well, naming a character is something each writer struggles with when writing a book. Certain names come to me like Bruce Foster. Wyatt was suggested by the man he was patterned after. (Go Jillian was because I liked the name. Thomas got his name since it is as common as he is…an easy name to forget. As for Brad, his name popped into my head as I was writing the first book and it seemed to fit him.

One last thing. I traveled extensively during the year and a half before I decided to settle here in Arizona. You will see the results of those travels in most of my books since I don’t stick to one local.

That’s it for now. Have a great day and happy reading



Abilene: No Where to Hide

The Jillian Factor





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