My debut novel, Protector, has several interlocking themes. One of those deals with how a defining moment in one’s life shapes you for better or worse. For protagonist, Detective Jane Perry, her defining moment drives her entire life and, as the book unfolds, that violent moment makes her question whether she can fulfill her promise to protect a traumatized nine-year-old girl.Visit Laurel Dewey's website and The 8th Sense blog, and read an excerpt from Protector.
When I was invited to explore page 69 of Protector, I was stunned because that page deals with a conversation between Jane and her younger brother, Mike, about defining moments.
“Do you believe that everybody has a defining moment in their life? You know, something that alters the course of their existence? Something that turns them into a completely different person? And afterwards, nothing is ever the same. Is that possible?”
Jane felt an uncomfortable tremor in her belly. “We all have defining moments.”
“You think it’s possible to have more than one defining moment in your life?” Mike seemed to struggle with the concept but pressed on. “Like, do you think that you could have a defining moment when you were young and then have another moment that defines you all over again? Does that make sense?”
“I don’t know. Maybe. You’re giving me a headache. What’s all this about?”
Mike stared down at the napkin. “I’m not sure I can talk about it just yet.”
Jane leaned forward. “What do you mean?”
“I need to think about it some more.”
“Think about what? Come on, you always tell me everything.” Jane reached across the table and touched Mike’s hand. “Mike, talk to me. Whatever it is, I’ll fix it.”
Mike looked at his sister with a guarded eye. “I don’t think you can, Janie.”
This scene exemplifies Jane’s struggling heart. The first person Jane had to protect was Mike. Their father was a sadistic monster. Jane’s defining moment dealt with the choice she made at age 14 to deflect her father’s rage from her brother and suffer his brutality. In doing this, her life was forever changed. It was the beginning of her spiral into alcoholism and her regret that she didn’t kill her father at that moment. Now, his voice haunts her, making her question if she has the courage to pull the trigger against another abuser to save an innocent life. That defining moment is the fulcrum from which my character-driven novel builds its fire.
Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.