Not only because I liked writing a story about a single mom, dealing with an ex-husband, working in a demanding career as a therapist, this book gave me a chance to write about another kind of place that gives second chances-- wildlife rehabilitation centers.
Since I had seen how they operate and respect very much the work of these places, where they operate from donations most of the time, having a hero who ran one was perfect.
Another reason for writing it was that hero. He was not a man the heroine would normally have ever chosen. Much too young for her. More seriously he had another major problem-- he was a caretaker type. So it was fun to write a story about a man who took on the problems of others with a heroine who wanted to be tough and avoid that kind of thing for her own life. No way would she let herself fall in love with such a guy.
The story was set again in the Portland area and areas where I have lived or spent a lot of time. When I write books there, I get to choose neighborhoods I have liked-- not usually ones in which I have lived but have spent time.
Secondary characters showed up in this book from Moon Dust since Barrett was best friends with that heroine. I set this one eight years after it, which meant change had come to these people's lives. I like to carry forth characters and would have done more of it if I had been thinking series when I was writing all these books. So many are set in Portland that they'd be naturals for a Portland series, but the years didn't always work; and so they just live in the same place but don't all know each other. Except sometimes.
Snippet from Second Chance:
Judd reached into the steel cage, grabbed the water container from where it had fallen, but not quickly enough before the razor sharp beak slashed down across his right hand. He cursed as he withdrew his bleeding hand, still holding the dish.
"I told you that would happen," Barry Kuntz told him.
Judd glared down at his friend but handed him the dish. "If you hadn't lost my gloves it wouldn't have."
"I'm sorry, Judd. You could have worn mine." He looked at Judd's much larger hand. "I guess you couldn't. I just..."
"Never mind. He barely nicked me.” He studied his hand to see if that was true. He’d had enough stitches over the years since he’d opened Second Chance that he was pretty good at assessing when it was required. “This is shallow and my own fault.” He had known the hawk was recovering, had known he wouldn't appreciate a human hand in his cage, but Judd had been in a hurry, his mind distracted. Those kinds of mistakes usually ended up with blood being spilled, too often his.
Barry looked at the blood welling up, and his face blanched.
"You’re not going to faint are you?” Judd asked with a laugh.
“You should go to ER.”
"Not on a bet." He reached into the cabinet for the antiseptic bottle and poured a liberal dose over his hand, hissing as pain seared across the cut. "It's not that bad. See, the bleeding's slowed already." He hoped it was true. A hawk had a beak like a knife. If his wrist had been turned upward, the wound would likely have required a visit to have it stitched.
In a hurry to pick up Barrett Shaeffer, and knowing he was already running late, Judd grabbed a gauze pad and held it firmly over the wound. "How about taping it?" he asked Barry.
Barry cut off strips of tape, securing the pad crudely in place. "I think--"
"Look, Barry,” Judd interrupted. “It’s going to be fine. Right now I really have to get out of here. You finish up, okay?"
Barry coughed. "Sure. Where you going?"
"I'm bringing a friend back to tour the place."
Barry looked around and Judd knew he was seeing the ramshackle buildings, the conglomeration of cages and assorted sheds and wondering who was interested in them this time. Second Chance didn't look like much, but it had saved hundreds of raptors and other wild birds and an assortment of domestic animals that had suffered from mistreatment.
Most recently they had successfully treated, then released, a cougar who'd been peppered with buckshot. There had been numerous deer hit by cars. As word had gotten out about their operation--a few newspaper articles and one interview with a local television reporter--they had been assured a constant supply of abused animals, mostly birds; unfortunately, the money to treat them was not so easy to come by. Luckily one of the local veterinarians had been supportive of their operation.