Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Lacy Eye {+ Giveaway}

I’m excited today to welcome author Jessica Treadway to Thoughts in Progress to talk about writing genres and her latest release, LACY EYE.
Thanks to Jessica, I have a copy of LACY EYE to giveaway to one lucky visitor here. Please see the end of the post for more details on the giveaway.
Inspired by an actual crime in the author’s upstate New York hometown, this harrowing novel follows a mother’s slow awakening to the prospect that her daughter may have had a part in a violent attack that left her widowed, permanently disfigured, and suffering from a traumatic brain injury. Reviewers universally praise the novel including The Chicago Tribune, The Boston Globe, Good Housekeeping, and The Huffington Post among others.  
What if you began to suspect that the child closest to your heart—the cherished, vulnerable daughter you thought you knew better than anyone—might be a stranger capable of evil? In her acclaimed psychological thriller LACY EYE (Grand Central Publishing; March 1, 2016; Trade Paperback; 9781455554072; $14.99), Jessica explores the potential cost of choosing to believe what we prefer to be the truth – even in the face of evidence to the contrary.
Three years have passed since Hanna Schutt survived the brutal home invasion that killed her husband, Joe. Now, the man found guilty of the attack -- Rud Petty, the too-good-to-be-true boyfriend of her daughter Dawn -- has won a new trial on appeal.
Along with circumstantial evidence, Rud’s first conviction hinged on Hanna’s silent, semi-conscious confirmation of his guilt to a detective at the crime scene. To Hanna’s dismay, courtroom testimony also revealed she nodded when the detective asked, “Was Dawn here too?” “The Nods,” as a local tabloid reporter coined them, fueled the prosecution’s effort to indict Dawn on charges of murder and attempted murder. To Hanna’s relief, the effort failed, and Dawn moved across the country.
With the re-trial rapidly approaching, Hanna’s memory has started to return via terrifying flashbacks of that night. When approached about testifying again she agrees, knowing that another conviction is the only way to keep Rud in jail. Further, if she can testify as to what actually happened, she can once and for all prove Dawn’s innocence. Just after promising the prosecutor that she will do her best to recall the grisly event that left her memory impaired, Hanna receives a phone call from Dawn, who is living in Santa Fe. “I want to come home for a while,” her daughter says. “If you’re really going to do this -- try to remember what happened -- I don’t want you to do it alone.”
Hanna is thrilled at the idea that she might rekindle the companionship and intimacy she shared with her younger daughter, which she never felt with Dawn’s older sister Iris. Despite warnings from friends and internal unease, Hanna welcomes Dawn home with open arms, and begins to suspect a neighbor's son of committing the attack. Gradually, the lost memories surface, and Hanna is forced to confront the truth about that fateful night.
Told from Hanna’s perspective, LACY EYE is a chilling work of fact-based fiction forcing readers to face tough questions about the nature of truth and how responsible a parent is for what their child becomes.      
Here’s what others are saying about LACY EYE:   
          "Quietly disturbing...nail-bitingly suspenseful.”— The Columbus Dispatch
"Deftly plotted... Treadway paints a devastating portrait of a family torn apart from both the outside and within.” — Publishers Weekly
"An intricately plotted psychological thriller.”— The Chicago Tribune
Please join me now in giving Jessica a warm welcome as she talks about her writing. Welcome, Jessica.
When it was time for publication, I learned that LACY EYE falls into the category of “psychological thriller,” but I actually never set out to write a thriller, psychological or otherwise. I hoped that the novel might appeal to readers because the suspense comes not so much from the What happened? as from the narrator’s state of mind as she tries to decide how much she wants to remember about the what happened. At least, that was my intention. I aimed to depict her psychological journey, more than anything else.
I was fascinated to imagine what was inside the mind of a mother who potentially feels the need to hang onto the relationship with her child at all costs – including the cost of becoming estranged from her other child. The novel is based on a real murder in my hometown outside Albany, NY, in which a college student was convicted of murdering his father and attempting to murder his mother. As in the novel, the mother first identified the son as her attacker, then later appeared to lose all memory of the attack itself and became his defender, saying that he would never have committed such a crime. Because it happened so close to home, I followed the news coverage of that case, and I became fascinated by the detail of a mother maintaining her child’s innocence, when she herself had originally implicated him and when the jury took less than a day to convict him.
I knew right away that instead of writing about a mother and a son accused of the crime, as in the real case, I wanted to write about a mother who had a daughter with a very sketchy boyfriend. I was far less interested in writing about a sociopath as the grown child of the victim than about a grown child who would be vulnerable to a sociopath’s sway. Sociopaths, as they are classically defined, aren’t interesting to me in a fictional sense because – at least from my understanding – there isn’t a conscience at play, and I am most interested in the conflicts that spring from the conscience. I suppose I could have written about a son with a male friend or boyfriend, but to me it came more naturally to write about a mother-daughter relationship that became compromised by the daughter’s attraction to a man her parents were suspicious of.
Ultimately, LACY EYE is the story of a mother whose relationship with her grown daughter is stretched to the breaking point, and beyond. It’s also about the courage it takes to see things as they are, instead of yielding to the temptation to cast them in a prettier, more palatable light. 
Jessica, thanks for joining us today and sharing this insight. It’s hard to image what the parent in the real case went through. Your story makes for an intriguing read.
Now for those who aren’t familiar with Jessica, here’s a bit of background on her.
Author Jessica Treadway
JESSICA TREADWAY is the Flannery O’Connor Award-winning author of two story collections, Please Come Back to Me (University of Georgia Press, 2010) and Absent Without Leave (Delphinium Books/Simon & Schuster, 1993), and a previous novel, And Give You Peace (Graywolf Press, 2001).
A professor of creative writing at Emerson College in Boston, she is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and lives in Lexington, Massachusetts.
LACY EYE (On-Sale: Now, Grand Central Publishing, trade paperback, pages: 368) is available in the following formats:
ISBN: 9781455554089 | ($14.99)
eBook: 9781455554065 | ($13.99)
Downloadable Audio: 9781478927181 | (24.98)
This giveaway is for one print copy of LACY EYE by Jessica Treadway. The giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. only and will end at 12 a.m. (EST) on Wednesday, March 30.
To enter the giveaway, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the instructions. The widget may take a few seconds to load so please be patient. A winner will be selected by the Rafflecopter widget and I’ll send an email with the subject line “Thoughts in Progress Giveaway.” The winner will have 72 hours to reply to the email or another winner will be selected. PLEASE be sure to check your spam folder from time to time after the giveaway ends to make sure the notification email doesn’t end up there. If you win and you’ve already won the book somewhere else or you just decided for whatever reason you don’t want to win (which is fine), once again PLEASE let me know.
Thanks so much for stopping by today during Jessica’s visit. Have your ever heard of a case such as the one that inspired LACY EYE? What are your thoughts on this matter?


  1. Oh my goodness. This is a conundrum I have often considered. Not just with children but with any loved one who 'may' have committed a crime of violence.

  2. So sad it's based on a real scenario. Some tough decisions to make.

  3. Sounds nail-biting and poignant.

  4. This sounds like a compelling premise for a novel, Mason! Thanks for sharing.

  5. What a horrible situation to be in - truly. As parents, we never want to think our children capable of terrible acts, but one thing I do know - young people can certainly be swayed by inappropriate friends. Well, anyone can of course. Interesting sounding book. I'll look for it.

  6. This plot would be real and is frightening since we cannot control what happens.

  7. It's interesting that this is based on real events. Sounds like a great read.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.