By Glenys O’Connell, author of Saving Maggie
When I was seventeen I had a stalker.
Everywhere I went, he was there. Out with friends, he’d be sitting at the next table, or watching from the sidelines as we danced. Walking home at night on dark country roads, I’d turn around at the sound of footsteps behind me and see him from the corner of my eye as he stepped into the shadows. I could feel him watching me, even when I couldn’t see him.
Luckily, I had four brothers, all over 6 feet tall, who had a ‘chat’ with this guy and he was gone.
But not everyone is fortunate enough to have the situation handled so easily. And I do remember the sense of helplessness that I had to rely on other men to do what I couldn’t – make this man stop bothering me.
For a woman, having someone watching, following, perhaps entering your home when you’re not there and going through your personal belongings, is probably the most unnerving experience other than an actual attack. It wears on the nerves, robs you of a sense of control of your life, of safety, and the ability to trust. Tragically, there have been all to many instances where stalking resulted in murder.
Of course, all life’s incidents are grist to the writer’s mill, and I was able to use this real life experience – in a larger than life way – to create the story line for my latest release from Crimson Romance, Saving Maggie.
Maggie Kendall, the heroine of Saving Maggie, finds that even being a wealthy heiress cannot protect her from the terrors of a stalker. In Maggie’s case, the stalker is killing anyone he believes has hurt her, leaving her completely afraid to trust or get near anyone in case a simple disagreement, a small real or imagined wrong, will lead to their brutal killing.
And worst of all, the killer sends Maggie an invitation to every sick party where he commits the murders – and promises her that one day she will be his guest of honor. Maggie’s gift of second sight, which she has had since childhood, morphs into a link to a killer’s mind, letting her see the missing dead who call her to bring them home. The victims of her stalker.
This link reinforces the stalker’s belief that there is a special bond between himself and Maggie – that Maggie was intended to be his forever.
Maggie’s only escape is to become someone else, leaving her life and all she loves behind. In the small town of Woeful Creek, she finds not just sanctuary, but happiness and fulfillment.
And then the stalker finds her again.
But this time Maggie has an ally in Detective Josh Tyler. Although their relationship is rocky at first, Maggie eventually finds the courage to confide in Josh.
And in doing so, puts both their lives at risk.
Maggie must find the courage to take a stand against her stalker and save the life of the man she loves even at the risk of her own.
Saving Maggie is a work of fiction and I don’t recommend anyone take the route that Maggie must! Each stalking situation is different, depending on the offender and his victim. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t try and deal with it alone. Contact the police and ask for advice – don’t be embarrassed or afraid you’re misreading the situation. If someone’s behavior is scaring you, then you’re within your rights to act. Here’s some advice from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in their report Stalking — It’s Not Love:
1. Do NOT agree to have contact with a person who you think may be stalking you – contact the police. Each situation is different. Consider that sometimes, when a stalker is confronted or meets with resistance, he/she may react with violence or the conduct may escalate.
2. Maintain detailed notes about the stalking conduct. Dates, times, places, actions and threats are easier to explain and remember when written down.
3. Keep all recorded telephone messages, e-mails, gifts, letters or notes that have been sent by the individual.
4. Keep a list of emergency numbers posted in several locations.
5. Pay attention to incidents that may seem coincidental. Are you suddenly running into this person more often? If you are not sure if you are being stalked contact the police.
Have you ever been stalked? What did you do to get out of the situation?