Read for the Love of it!

How a Vacation Spurred the Idea for Tainted Waters

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

It started innocently

The title, Tainted Waters, makes you think of something sinister, doesn’t it? Or at least I hope it does. I have to say when I was coming up with this book, I was having some pretty sinister plot ideas and yet it all started so innocently …

I think the thing about being an author is being open to what is around you and combine and twist things together that may not really be meant to go together.

We Went on a Vacation

My family and I went camping at a lake. A rather normal thing, right? You make plans to get away from it all and believe that it will be a wonderful, refreshing time.

Well … not this time.

We arrived at this lake that we’d never been to before. We’d chosen it because it was fairly remote, was off the beaten path and because we wanted to do some canoeing but didn’t want to have the hassle of motorboats. Motorboats and canoes really do not go well together, at least not in close proximity.

So we arrive at this lake which turned out to be a good two hour drive. We were only expecting it to be maybe an hour and a half. But it was in the middle of nowhere and we had to drive down a gravel road, something we were quite used to but this one was quite beat up. Which in hindsight should have been a clue.

It was pristine and quiet.

It was a sunny warm day, there were a few other campers but ultimately it was peaceful. It was perfect. We find a nice secluded, treed area, close to the water. We immediately unloaded our canoe and hit the lake.

We took turns going out in the canoe and playing in some blow-up boat-things we’d gotten for the kids. It was a fun day. We only stopped long enough to eat. The sun was shining, the lake was calm, and the only sounds for the most part was the silence of nature. Loved it.

It was such a great day.

At about 9:30 that night we crashed, tired and ready for a good night’s sleep.

How had we missed it?

Sleep was not going to happen. At about 10:30 p.m. I was awakened by the sound of a large truck rumbling by on the gravel road. I didn’t think much of it, just waited for the truck to go by and then nod off. Only then another one came. And then another. And another. All night long, big trucks bounced up and down that road. Since we were only a few hundred feet from the gravel road that we thought was remote, it was easy to hear them.

At some point I became aware that there was also a large plant nearby as I could clearly hear the grinding, banging, thumping sounds of it.

Can she untangle a sinister plot, dating back decades?

Tainted Waters Book Blurb

He didn’t commit suicide but who’s going to believe her?

Frustrated at being fired from her latest job and overwhelmed by her consolatory family, Sam needs to get away, so she moves to the family’s cabin at the lake. A place she hasn’t been since her dad committed suicide there, twenty years before. Or did he?

Keegan has recently moved to the area to finish his latest book, but he is also trying to find out if his grandfather, who’d passed away ten years before, died of natural causes. Or was there more to his death?

The descendants, of the four families who own the land around the lagoon, are dying off. But why?

Since Sam and Keegan are the only ones questioning what’s going on, they find themselves working together to seek the truth. Are people being murdered? Who would benefit from their deaths? And why are there barricades and armed guards at the north end of the lake? What they discover is unbelievable but even worse is who’s behind it. To stay alive, Sam and Keegan must find proof and convince others, before more people are killed … including them.

Did we sleep?

What? How had we missed all this during the day? I have no idea, maybe having too much fun?

When we finally crawled out of bed the next morning, almost as exhausted as when we crawled in, my mind of course started coming up with what those trucks were really doing. They weren’t just hauling water to the plant; no, they were hauling something much more sinister. Much more ominous.

This campground was rather secluded, perfect for something secretive and illegal to happen. To add to this, I’ve always been interested in people who flock to cabins at the lake every weekend. So I started combining all these ideas.

What would happen if something bad happened at the lake and people stopped going there for a long time? What if someone wanted to run drugs and the black market from this secluded lake? What if someone came back to live at the lake, what lengths would another go to protect their illegal but lucrative operation?

What if that wasn’t enough for a good story …

So the story started pulling together all these facets, even though I was exhausted, my mind was having a great time coming up with ideas.

So we stayed that day and played but by supper time we packed up and headed home. The sounds of the plant were very evident but still not as loud or as annoying as it had been at night. I never did find out what type of plant it was. Anyway, we got home tired and tuckered out but of course sleep wouldn’t come easy. I turned on the TV, since I seemed to be wide awake.

They were doing a show about the black market for organs. What?

I was so shocked by the concept, I didn’t know such a thing existed. Some people were donating their organs thinking they were going to get paid $100,000 only to end up with about $50 and life threatening post surgery complications. Others were just pulled off the street and some of their organs taken. I was horrified. Who knew this kind of crazy was happening?

There’s a Black Market for Organs?

I think what floored me the most was that there was a market for stolen human organs. And it is incredibly lucrative. Crazy.

But … it started my mind working overtime. What if what had been happening at the lake we were at, had to do with a black market op? Wha tif it had to do with drugs? With harvesting human organs for the black market?

Not exactly the things you want to be thinking about, but that is the mind of a writer.

My mind went into overdrive.

And the result was Tainted Waters. It became one of those compelling stories that I just had to tell. It was one of those stories that kept playing around in my mind and when all of these different concepts came together … it created an intriguing plot …

So next time you have a vacation from hell, be sure to write a compelling story about it.



“Thom’s book was like one of my Nana’s triple layered chocolate cakes, impossible to walk away from …”

I’d love to hear about your vacation from hell. 🙂

Read the first 2 chapters of Tainted Waters, here.

Maggie Thom

Multi-Award winning author, Maggie Thom. Author of The Caspian Wine Series – Captured Lies (Book of the Month – LAS Reviews and Reader’s Favorite Finalist), Deceitful Truths and Split Seconds (Award Winning) – and her other published novels, Tainted Waters (2013 Suspense and Thriller Book of the Year through Turning the Pages Magazine) and Deadly Ties.

Her motto: Read to escape… Escape to read…

“Maggie Thom writes a fast paced thriller laced with romance that keeps the reader interested and on edge!” InDtale Magazine

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