Follow the clues for a chance to win a Kindle Fire HDX or 30+ novels!
Welcome to the Autumn 2014 Scavenger Hunt. You have arrived at Stop #24. The hunt begins at noon (Mountain Time Zone) on October 17, 2014. You may have arrived here before the start which could mean all of the sites aren’t ready quite yet. Once the official start has begun, you should go to Stop #1 and then work your way through the sites, gathering clues and entering bonus giveaways, until you reach the final stop which will also be on the site of Robin Lee Hatcher.
I love chocolate as much as the next hungry writer, so putting a gourmet chocolatier at the center of Motherless was one way to justify eating as much as I wanted. Research, you know.
When I began, there was much in the news about chocolate. The headlines went something like this: African Cocoa Plantations Use Child Slaves! American Candy Makers Buy Chocolate from Africa! Stop Eating Chocolate Harvested By Child Slaves and Buy Only the Certified-Stamped-Officially-Approved-Dolphin-Safe Stuff!
The revelation about child slavery on (primarily) African cocoa plantations provided me with important information about how to consume one of my favorite foods responsibly—something I could improve. I won’t lie. I’ve never met a chocolate bar I didn’t like, whether it be seven dollars or forty-nine cents. Of course, cheap is cheap for a reason.
My novel Stranger Things tackled the human sex trade, so I considered keeping the slavery theme going in Motherless. But novels lead their own lives, and Motherless became a strange and complex story about the power of belief. Specifically, belief in things that aren’t true.
So chocolate took a back seat until I discovered a chocolate-coated false belief of my own: If a chocolate product doesn’t have fair trade (or similar) certification, I reasoned, its cocoa beans have probably been harvested by child slaves or workers in undesirable conditions.
This kind of belief helped me create boundaries. After all, I’m just trying to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the perception isn’t necessarily true and might even be harmful.
Williams and Eber’s book Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate helped me see how hard it is for many plantation owners to attain certification. In South America, for example, where human slavery in the cocoa industry is all but unheard of, many small family-owned farms—the very sort my sweet tooth would happily support—simply can’t afford it. But without certification, even if their beans are sustainably farmed and ethically harvested, their very livelihood is put in jeopardy. The American companies that buy their beans want certification so people like me won’t stop buying their chocolate.
“So how do people like me sort this out?” one of my cause-driven characters asks. “You keep telling people what you know,” the chocolatier replies, “and what you don’t know.”
Confessing what I don’t know makes life a little less black and white than I’d like it to be. But it makes me more teachable and less alarmist. So, I look for certifications. But I also buy bars such as the presently uncertified Chuao Chocolatier’s Spicy Maya bar because—well, because the dark chocolate and pasilla peppers and cayenne and cinnamon are KILLER—but also because of its owners’ ideals and Venezuelan roots. It is enough for me that their beans are “ethically sourced.”
Unfortunately I can’t afford to buy my favorite bars for all the trick-or-treaters who’ll knock on my door later this month. For them: microwave popcorn.
Guilt might be the most dangerous motive of all.
On a rainy night seventeen years after his wife’s suicide, Garrett Becker sees her walking down the street. A tragic accident snatches him away from this world before he can reach her, and he leaves behind their children, Marina and Dillon.
Marina has spent her whole life mothering her brother, who has agoraphobia. Now they face losing their home, where Dillon’s fears are held at bay.
Crushing debt is only one of their father’s secrets. His belongings yield another startling discovery: Their mother is alive and lives nearby. Sara Rochester is a successful chocolatier. She doesn’t dwell on her past and never expects the resurrection of its ghosts. But after Dillon confronts her Sara begins to parent in the only way she knows how: with money, chocolate, and a gross deficit of experience.
Sara’s arrival divides Marina and Dillon, and Marina soon suspects that Sara isn’t their mom, but the person responsible for their mother’s death. When her ensuing investigation leads to a murder charge against Sara, no one is prepared for the tragic truth, and the powerful redemption, that Marina’s actions expose.
Narrated by a supernatural storyteller who has more to lose than any other player, Motherless is a richly layered mystery about the power of perception—and deception—among people seeking forgiveness for irreversible sins.
Purchase Motherless from :
Comment on this post for a chance to win an autographed copy of An Amish Second Christmas! I’ll announce the winner at the end of the Scavenger Hunt.
Here is your clue: …our particular path…
Write down your clue and visit here for Stop #25, Erin Healy’s website. Here you’ll meet another author and get your next clue. Good luck!