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Creating Captured Lies – Bailey’s Journey

Maggie Thom, Multi-Award Winning Author, Speaker, Writing Coach

The crazy things I was dealing with when I wrote Captured Lies

The great thing about writing is that you can let your imagination go anywhere you want it to. You can use it to create situations, people, whole worlds, whatever you need to, to craft your story. With writing anything is possible. And it is a great way to escape life.

When I wrote Captured Lies my life was… incredibly busy and chaotic. It felt like I’d just deal with some major event only to have another. And another. Looking back, I wonder how I kept my head together. Actually, I know that writing was what helped keep me afloat.

There was a lot was going on in my life at the time – I was working full time and I was taking a graduate level Coaching course. I was also married and had two small children. and my mother-in-law who was now in her late eighties and had been living with us for ten years was demanding a lot more time and attention. Needless to say, I was busy. Many people I know have been in this position. I always wonder what has helped to get them through it.

Anyway, in the middle of this my dad got very sick. He was in hospital for a while. So I was making the three to four hour drive weekly to go and see him. Then he died. That’s when I realized I couldn’t keep up with all that I had on my plate. So we moved my mother-in-law who needed a lot more care than we could give, into a lodge. Unfortunately, she passed away a few months later. Oh, the guilt. Then on the day she died, my mom had a heart attack. After she got out of the hospital she came and stayed with me for a while. Oh, did I mention that I  quit my job? The crap that was going on there is a whole other story. It brought some relief but also another whole line of stress.

A little bit of a wild ride. Writing became my sanctuary. It was my late night, early morning, me time. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the gift of writing. I am so thankful that I was able to escape into whatever world I wanted to.

Captured Lies was the result of that crazy time. It was born out of chaos and pain and love and loss.

Where did the ideas come from?

When I was coming up with Bailey and all of her troubles, a lot of things came together to create it. It started innocently enough. We were driving on a secondary highway and a plane flew overhead. It was headed for the airport, so nothing new but it seemed to be flying awfully low. It startled me as I wondered what if it would crash.

Thankfully, it didn’t. It landed safely. But it got me thinking.

plane flying

Then, twice within three months, I was on a plane. Which was very unusual for me. I had done a bit of flying and did it maybe once a year or every couple of years. On both of my flights, there were a few people who were obviously not happy about being there. They had that white knuckled grip either on the chair arm or their partner. And of course some were drinking pretty heavily. As I’m watching people cope with their fear, the thought of that other plane crashing, came to mind. A few times.

I wondered if we did go down, would anyone survive. Could they? I wasn’t sure. I guessed it would depend on several circumstances.

I started playing with the idea of a plane crash but I was going to have someone survive it. Now, I just needed to know how to make that happen.

Kidnapped children

Not long after deciding this, I had gone to a local store. The walls when you entered were covered with posters. They were for anything from things for sale to missing pets. But they also have a wall with several pictures of kids and teenagers who have gone missing. Some that were missing it was suspected that they’d been kidnapped by a family member and were living under an assumed name. It reminded me of an incident in the town where I grew up, that had happened several years before. A woman had been determined unfit (due to mental health issues), so the father was given custody of their children. I really don’t know much about the situation or what really happened. All I know is what was reported in the news. And of course gossip. I know it was a heartbreaking situation. Anyway, the mother was patient. She waited. Then one day she took off with her children. She kidnapped them. Now this was back in the eighties, so I’m not sure if that was why she managed to get across the border into another country, pretty easily. All of them got new names. And they lived there for several months if not years. I’m not sure how they were found.

I can’t imagine how awful for everyone. Especially the kids. How did they cope? What stories were they told after they were found? How has their life turn out? Has it been good? Was their mom able to be part of their life? What would they do if when they were adults they discovered or remembered things about their childhood?

I never heard any more of their story, so I’m not sure what happened. I hope that it turned okay for everyone. I’m sure it didn’t though.

Can she untangle 30 years of secrets, lies and deceit?

She was kidnapped not once but twice… And now someone wants her dead because of it…

Her life was a lie!

Bailey knew her upbringing hadn’t been normal but she’s worked hard to stabilize her life. She finally has a good business, a stable home; her life is miles from that of her childhood. Then her mom suddenly dies, leaving a gaping hole and a discovery  that they may not even be related. If Guy, the private investigator is to be believed, her life was a lie. Growing up on the run has prepared Bailey for once again, fleeing to stay alive. Using the skills she learned on the street, Bailey travels back through a sketchy and dangerous past, to find answers. Dodging bullets, staying ahead of those who want her dead and convincing Guy she can do it alone, are making it difficult to uncover not only the secrets of her mother’s past but that of a family claiming she is theirs.

Everyone seems to have a story… but who’s telling the truth? And who wants her dead? To discover the truth, she’ll have to untangle a web of deceit, lies, and secrets dating back over thirty years.

The Two Ideas Came Together

These two events were what became the basis for a compelling story, Captured Lies.

To make this believable, Bailey couldn’t have any memory of a childhood. So I made her a baby when the kidnapping took place. I wanted her to have a really tangled web to unravel. Then I started to wonder what would make it really difficult? And why would she have been kidnapped not once but twice? The elements kept building. It made me think of that family that I knew from my home town. I wondered where the kids had ended up. What had they been told. So with Bailey, I didn’t want her to know any of it. I wanted her to discover it as an adult. I can’t imagine how tough that would have been. But it gave me the basis so that I could write and intriguing and compelling story. With her story though, I wanted her to have a happy ending.

As for Bailey, she isn’t based on any one person. Although, I have had people tell me that she is them. When I build a character I often take little bits of different people I know, or have seen or heard about. I take their flaws, their strengths and I add in what kind of person would you have to be to go through this and come out the other side. So she is a kind of an amalgamation of several people—their looks, their quirks, their habits. But she is definitely her own person. And discovers more of who she is as she goes on this wild ride to find out who she really is.


The setting would be Canada but who was her family going to be?

As for the setting, I had decided early on that I wanted it set in Canada. You can read more about that here. The problem I was struggling with as I wrote this was who her family, her real family going to be. Right around that time, I heard of another kidnapping. A woman walked into a hospital and walked out with someoen else’s baby. They just happened to be a wealthy family. I thought, wow, even they aren’t protected from such things. And there is how I came up with who Bailey’s family would be.

How to complicate it more?

If Bailey was kidnapped and raised as another person, having no idea who her life was, what could make her life more complicated? I love twists and turns in stories, so I was keen on finding something that would make her journey to finding the truth all that much more difficult. So I had her kidnapped a second time. Some might say rescued but still, it meant as an adult she had a lot to unravel.

“Captured Lies was quite a journey to write but one that I am so glad that I took. It has been worth it.”

Bailey is a strong, female character (okay let’s be real, all women are strong) who goes through normal life stuff. But she ends up having to go through something very traumatic and life changing. Again. Her story, her journey is not one you’d wish on anyone but I am sure that some people have lived this kind of life. Kind of scary to think that. It’s not a life I’d wish on anyone.

Bailey’s life was definitely very complicated. As was mine at the time. Maybe that’s why I put her through so much.



Maggie Thom

Whether her thrillers are set in a real town, city, or countryside, or one made up from her imagination, Multi-Award-Winning Author Maggie Thom writes engaging suspense thrillers that delve into a family’s lies, ties, and deceit. They are rollercoaster stories featuring strong women fighting for what they know is right but having to wade through a maze of twists and turns. Maggie believes in happily ever after but will take you on one heck of an adventure to get there.

And her Free eBook - Blurred Lines.

Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…

"Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller... that keeps the reader interested and on edge!" InDtale Magazine

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Learn More about my Suspense/Thriller/Mystery Books

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Editing my suspense/thriller taught me a few of my writing quirks

Spelling Quirks

Setting the Series in Canada

Deceitful Truths

What was I thinking?

Split Seconds

Split Seconds Won 2 Awards

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