Forsaken

BY LAYDIN MICHAELS

ForsakenIt’s Thanksgiving, a time to reflect on those people and events in our lives that helped create who we are today. Thanksgiving has always been a special holiday for me. Growing up in my family it meant lots of good food, good company and stories. Always stories. To help you understand, I have to share a bit about the family dynamic. My parents were blessed with fifteen natural children and one who joined us at age fifteen. I was the third from the end, so family stories connected me to the life my family lived before my time. I loved hearing all about my brothers and sisters. I knew them, because I heard their stories every Thanksgiving.

We would always have Turkey, with dirty rice and baked spaghetti and cheese, broccoli and baked yams. With full bellies and sleepy smiles we would sit around the family table and listen to everyone reminisce about times gone by. In a family so large, you might think that it would be hard to hear, but that wasn’t the case. When someone was talking, everyone listened, adding a comment or a jibe here and there. Sometimes I’d come to know a story so well, I’d throw out a comment about how last year it had been Mary who did that, or Pete, or Andre. The thread that built the storyteller in me is tied to those times sharing around the table.

As we grew exponentially larger in number, Thanksgiving became conversely smaller. Brothers and sisters started having family Thanksgivings in their homes with their children and their families and I missed the deep connection of our stories. I was a diehard, always coming to my parent’s home for the holiday, cooking with Mom, making Dad his favorite apple pie, until I eventually ended up making the feast for them. I never regretted that. The after dinner stories continued with just the few of us who dined together. Now I learned my parent’s stories, about how they found each other and how they struggled to raise us. The thing they always made sure to tell me was that all they wanted was for all of us to be happy. And for that, I will always be thankful.

When I began my journey as a writer, I started with what I most loved to read. I had always been a fan of mysteries and thrillers, and that’s what I wanted to write. It’s what I always thought of when something weird happened.

Forsaken began with a long walk on a foggy beach back in 2003. I happened upon a suitcase in a trashcan. Why is this suitcase full of medical books and nicely folded clothes lying open in a trash can on the beach? How did it get here and why? I looked at the luggage tag and saw that it had been on a flight from Denver that landed the night before. What happened to the owner? I called the sheriff and reported the bag. They came with a bobcat and pulled the whole can out of the sand (it was on six foot sunken poles). They scraped all of the sand around the can and bagged it up. Then they interviewed me.

I didn’t have much to say, and I never heard what had happened, but my mind couldn’t stop the what ifs, I had to create my own story to fill in the answers. I couldn’t just let it go. It was something that would pop into my head when I was falling asleep, or in a particularly boring conference. What was the story with that suitcase? Finally, I decided to write a story around that moment and Forsaken was born. Now, you won’t find a suitcase in the book, “That’s just not believable” is what I heard. And, yeah, they say truth is stranger than fiction, but fiction is much more fun.

Forsaken grew into so much more than I envisioned, and I’m so happy to finally share it with all of you. I hope you will enjoy Blake and Lindsay’s story. They’re kind of special to me.

In that vein, I’m giving away a copy of Forsaken to one lucky person who comments on this blog. I don’t mind mailing overseas, so let me know if you’ve ever had a moment like mine with the suitcase.

Have a happy Holiday season, and keep on reading.

28 Responses to “Forsaken”


  1. 1 Anita Kelly December 1, 2015 at 8:46 AM

    Congrats on your published work! I am looking forward to reading this

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 3 Franci McMahon December 1, 2015 at 10:01 AM

    Laydin, how intriguing, the suitcase story. No wonder playing around in your mind with that brought you to this place of alternate reality. Your signed book is on my shelf, squirming like my Border Collie when she wants attention. I keep telling her, “soon, my dear.”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 5 RJ December 1, 2015 at 11:40 AM

    The most unexpected thing I’ve ever come across in a trash can was a raccoon. Not as thrilling as a suitcase with a mysterious story. I’m adding Forsaken to my TBR list. Congrats on your publication!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 8 sboase888 December 1, 2015 at 2:13 PM

    The wait has finally come to an end an I get to read your novel. Im so excited! The only thing interesting I found in a bin was a book of photographs of naked woman from the 50’s and 60’s. That definitely got me thinking 😊
    Congratulations Laydin on your new novel!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 10 Angie December 1, 2015 at 5:37 PM

    My story is different, but it does involve a suitcase. When I was a young child I owned a Holly Hobby suitcase. We moved around all the time due to circumstances I did not understand at that age. But the one thing that comforted me was the few items that I always had with me in that suitcase.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 12 Nancy Walters December 1, 2015 at 8:44 PM

    Ms. Michaels,

    We had these talks all the time at the table. Many special holiday memories. These stories kept me going. I had been estranged from my natural family for 30 years. With my father’s death I am now becoming acquainted with my natural family again. This year be my first Christmas home in 32 years and time to catch up. Wish me luck. Congrats on your book.

    Have a great holiday, Nancy Walters

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  7. 14 Sharon E. Owens December 2, 2015 at 4:09 PM

    Family stories were a special part of our holidays as well. Never found anything intriguing in the trash. Too bad you never got to hear the end(or beginning) of the story, but nice that it inspired your own. I look forward to reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. 16 Devlyn December 3, 2015 at 4:41 AM

    I am so looking forward to reading your debut book. I too am intrigued by the suitcase story. I have a few what if… and I wonder…stories but am unable to tell them. They do keep me awake and appear in my nightmares though. Congratulations on your new book I will be buying it next pay day.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. 18 S.A. December 3, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    Thanks for sharing your story of your family’s Thanksgiving tradition! Same is true for many families, I expect – as kids grow and start families of their own, the old family traditions change over time. Congratulations on the new book! I look forward to reading it. Nothing similar in my experience to your suitcase story, although I agree that it’s a puzzling and intriguing find.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 19 laydin December 3, 2015 at 8:10 PM

      Thanks S.A! My family is still very close. We have exceeded the capacity of any single home, but we do rent out the YMCA of the Rockies every few years. Good luck in tomorrow’s drawing!

      Like

  10. 20 Felice December 3, 2015 at 4:29 PM

    Nice family anecdote and the suitcase story is perfection. Use it the next time. Don’t pay attention to people who say it’s not believable. You’ll make it believable, I’m certain. Remember Alice who liked to think of what was it 5? impossibly things every morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 21 laydin December 3, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      Why thank you, Felice! Maybe at some point I’ll revisit my suitcase story, but for now I’m writing about a girl with psychogenic amnesia. Good luck in tomorrow’s drawing!

      Like

  11. 22 marydeutcher December 3, 2015 at 8:24 PM

    You know I read it already! People are in for a real treat. Totally believable! The suitcase story is believable too!

    Dutch!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. 24 Mercedes December 3, 2015 at 9:28 PM

    I’ve got my signed copy, I haven’t read it yet. I’m savoring the anticipation!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. 26 Jaycie Morrison December 4, 2015 at 10:42 AM

    Hi Laydin,
    The closest I’ve come to your suitcase story happened once when I was dining in a favorite restaurant of mine. This place was a wine bistro with funky decor and great food, but since it was a little pricey I had to budget my visits there accordingly. One night I was at a table which was against the wall. Instead of a picture, the wall above me had a bulletin board covered with dozens of small nails on which people had put corks from their favorite bottles of wine. It was the kind of thing you’d just glance at once – “oh, that’s typical of this place” – except I happened to notice that under one cork was a key. (Now I wasn’t writing at that time, but the image has always stuck with me and may yet find its way into one of my books.) At the time I looked around, wondering if someone else had been planning to sit at my table. Or would someone sit here later and retrieve the key? Was it a lovers rendezvous or a meeting of spies? Or criminals? I didn’t call the police or anything, but I still enjoy finding that moment in my imagination.

    Congratulations on your novel. I’d love a copy. Best wishes,
    Jaycie

    Liked by 1 person

  14. 28 laydin December 4, 2015 at 5:53 PM

    Hi all! The randomizer has selected RJ as the winner of a signed copy of Forsaken. Thanks to everyone for reading my blog and commenting.

    Like


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