The story continues with the Innisfil author’s latest book

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Both stories are set in Barrie and include scenes in Wasaga Beach, Sauble Beach, Orillia

Alicia Anderson, the heroine created by Innisfil author Beverley Neilson, is back in Family always comes first.

This time, Anderson is living one of the worst nightmares a mother can imagine: investigating her son as a murder suspect.

The novel is a sequel to Neilson’s first book, The dark side of painwhich featured Anderson as a patrolman involved in a fatal car accident in which his partner is killed.

Family always comes first takes many twists and turns. Now a detective, Anderson is caught between a murder investigation and hope for her son’s innocence.

“I love creating characters, watching some grow and expand their horizons, and leaving others in compromising and deadly positions,” Neilson said.

Family always comes first starts by resuming from the end of The dark side of pain, when Anderson and his partner are assigned to the case of a body found behind the Barrie community center. They are given a temporary ID of the victim, Jessica Winters. It’s the same name as the former girlfriend of Anderson’s son, Luke.

After completing The dark side of pain, which was released in June 2021, Neilson took a few months off from writing. And all the time she was thinking about where the next script should go.

“Did Luke do it?” If not, who did it? What would a mother do in a similar situation? What would a detective do in a similar situation? If not Luke, who else would be involved in Jessica’s death? I had a lot of questions that I felt needed to be answered, and I sat down to write the story,” she said.

All characters, scenarios and reactions come from Neilson’s imagination. She says she tries to put herself in each character’s position and life, imagine what she would do in the same situation, and then go a bit to the dark side.

“The situations made me do a lot of research for both books to understand police procedures, addiction issues and parenting a teenager,” she said.

Both stories are set in Barrie and include scenes in Wasaga Beach, Sauble Beach, Orillia, and a certain trailer park outside of Orillia. Neilson explained that it’s because she likes to read stories where she can imagine the buildings, the streets and the community.

Although entirely fictional, the story may resonate with other single moms of working teens. Neilson said she tried to make Anderson a likeable, sympathetic woman.

“Alicia is struggling to succeed in her life, as we all do, with major issues related to her marriage, her job, her health and the well-being of her son,” she explained.

A fan of detective stories, Neilson always wanted to write a book, but couldn’t find the time because she was working full time and commuting to Toronto every day.

When she retired two years ago after working for a major telecommunications company for 36 years, it was finally time for her to pursue her passion for writing.

She is currently working on her third book with Anderson as the central character. The story will continue with shots fired on New Years Eve at Georgian College in Barrie, where his son, Luke, is studying.

“I don’t know where we’re going yet, but hopefully everything will be planned out in the next few months,” Neilson said.

She and her husband, Will, have lived in Innisfil for over 22 years and celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary in September.

Family always comes first is available from Amazon in paperback and for Kindle readers, and is also available from Kobo for Kobo eReaders.

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