THE LIFE GROUP is my debut novel. Two events inspired me to write it.
First, one of my students mentioned being part of a life group. He said something about why he hadn’t done his homework–and it was completely innocent, some kind of charity work with his group–but it struck me as odd that people his own age had so much control over him. They could persuade him to do things and perhaps even lead him down a bad path.
The second event was of greater significance: one of my colleagues went missing. The vanished teacher wasn’t gone long—less than a week. And good news, she was fine—just mental illness showing its ugly head—but the events of those five days struck me to the core.
Later that semester, as I drove to the local daycare to pick up my children, thoughts of my colleague swirled through my head. I remembered the gnawing feeling I had–my stomach alternating between tight clenches and high-up flips. I recalled my heart thumping as I trotted down sketchy streets in the bad part of town, looking for my missing friend’s apartment. In my mind’s eye I again saw my colleague’s office key sitting on the side table as if she’d left it there, not knowing she would be abducted in the next moment. My children’s daycare in sight, I gripped the steering wheel tighter, and then it came–the entire plot of The Life Group. It bounced straight into my head.
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