Uta has written a different kind of paranormal book. Yes there is a strive for redemption, but unlike in most paranormal books the redemption come as the scores get settled.
In Immortal Link Fifteen-year-old Catholine Keenan gets raped in her room by one of her brothers’ friends. Fearing the news could send their unstable mother to a mental institution, the siblings swear an oath to never tell. Her two older brothers promise Cathi to help her through the trauma, but the secret and its aftermath is slowly destroying their lives. Cathi hides behind a shield of dark, baggy clothes and plots revenge, but every time she encounters her smug attacker, she panics and runs the other way. During the month of October she works as a tour guide at the Old Jail Museum. Several members of the infamous “Molly Maguires,” a group of coal miners named after one of her ancestors, were hanged in the jail more than a hundred years ago. Cathi has the feeling that the spirits are trying to tell her something.
A new neighbor moves in next door. Through Stella, who is kept prisoner by her own secret, Cathi is able to accept her shamed body and she confides the rape to her new friend. Together they come up with the perfect plan for revenge.
MP-Tell us a little about your background
UB-I was born and raised in Germany and married an American soldier who was sent to fight in the First Gulf War six months after our wedding. After his return we were stationed in Louisiana from 1992-94 and have lived in New Jersey ever since. Because I am an avid reader, I learned the English language so well that I do all my writing in English. During the day I work for Rutgers University which I enjoy tremendously, then write at night and on weekends.
MP-Usually characters in paranormal books are dealing with their immortality and some great sin they feel they have committed, in a way they are impenetrable. In your book, Immortal Link, the main character has to deal with being assaulted. Please explain your motivation.
UB-Catholine Keenan and her family grew entirely in my imagination, but the rape of a young girl and her two older brothers’ promise to take care of her really happened. I heard about it by accident. I have no idea how the boys took care of their sister or how the girl dealt with the aftermath; I only knew that the mother found out years later from a counselor. He told her that the way the children coped with something so devastating was superhuman. That was ten years ago.
Then, one evening in March 2010, I felt an urge to write about that family. An hour later I had what would later become Chapter 3 of my then untitled book, with no clue where it would go or how it would end. All I had was this terrible crime and three teenagers left behind to deal with it.
What started out as a YA novel about the aftermath of a rape turned into a paranormal story once I chose the setting of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. I am not saying a ghost wrote it, but it sure felt like it at times. Whole scenes were “dictated” to me. I went along and was stunned to discover an ending I had no intention of writing when I began “Immortal Link." It certainly includes plenty of immortality and sin from the town’s past.
MP-How many people have contacted you positively about your book helping them?
UB-Mothers and teens alike, but not because they are abuse victims and ‘enjoyed the revenge.' They just loved the story. My hope is that "Immortal Link" will be found by readers who can personally relate to what happened to Catholine and find some sort of direction and closure, because not only does the main character get her revenge, but she learns how important it is to talk to the right people and get help immediately. Keeping this horrible crime secret was not the answer, and nearly cost her brothers their lives or at least their future.
Despite its dark topic, there is a lot of hope and help woven between its pages, complete with a most satisfying outcome.
Is it your hope to help girls that are holding in their abuse? Yes, that is predominantly why I wrote "Immortal Link - You hurt me, I'll hurt you more." Find the right person to confide in and ask for help reporting the crime. Revenge should never be the answer, but let's be realistic. We are only human and if someone does us wrong, we want to see that person pay for it. The question is, how far can we go before we become criminals ourselves? It would be great if Catholine could take revenge for all the sexual abuse victims out there with her incredible retaliation that goes back over a hundred years. My readers could move on with their lives, knowing that karma or the police or God will take care of their attacker sooner or later.
MP-Do you think having your own teenage daughter has helped you with the current slang?
UB-Absolutely. She is my best critique partner and beta reader, because she enjoys telling me, her mother, where my writing sucks. Or that a teen would never say or do that. Sometimes she gives me the answers, but she also lets me figure some things out on my own by counseling me through a scene. Additionally, I attend Public Speaking and writing classes at a community college where I am surrounded by teens. My next YA novel, "Skinny For Just One Day," borrows several Facebook dialogues from my classmates who gave me permission to use their 'off-the-wall' bantering. You just can't make some of their stuff up.
By the way, the hand on the cover reaching for the real handprint of Alexander Campbell in the Old Jail in Jim Thorpe is my daughter's. We were granted artist's rights to go into his closed-to-the-public's cell by the owners who read and approved the book.
Follow Uta at
Buy "Immortal Link" in paperback on Amazon or for your Kindle