By: Joan Swan
Congratulations to Colleen C., SamGirl, and Tammy J., the winners in Joan's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated.
I’m a native Californian. Born in the San Francisco Bay Area, I moved south to the central coast for college and fell in love with the slower country life. Even though our family moved around some, we returned to the central coast to put down roots.
This is a huge farming and ranching community. In the last decade, San Luis Obispo county has become a rival to Napa for growth of wine grapes and development of wineries, but the weather and soil are perfect for crops of all types.
Living and working in this area has brought me into heavy contact with our Hispanic communities. I quickly developed a fondness for the culture—their polite ways, their love of family, their work ethic, their openness and warmth. I learned of many Mexican nationals who come to our area annually to work for the harvest season, then return to their families in Mexico. Their illegal status was no secret. They didn’t speak of it in guilty whispers, but as a necessary fact of life.
I didn’t think much about the “how” of these people crossing the US-Mexico border back then, but the horrific events of 9/11 put the border’s weaknesses under a microscope. Suddenly, the Department of Homeland Security decided the smuggling of aliens across the border constituted a significant risk to national security.
Who knew? (Maybe the coyotes who’d been smuggling people over the border for decades.)
Since then, the US-Mexico border has been a popular topic of political debate and public interest—so much so that a reality show on the battle over securing the border was created: Border Wars. Yes, I have to admit, I became addicted. While I enjoyed watching our cops take down the drug smugglers and violent coyotes who guide Mexican nationals across the border in the dead of night, I also had a huge soft spot for the families caught in the impossible situation--the mother with three young children simply searching for a better life outside her own poverty-stricken country.
It’s a complicated, heart-rending subject with innocent, sympathetic victims and manipulative, greedy villains… Perfect material for a romantic suspense novel, no?
That said, INTIMATE ENEMIES was not instantly born from these revelations. In fact, Border Wars was created after the initial draft of INTIMATE ENEMIES was written. And revised. And edited. But I can say that when I pulled the two-time RWA Golden Heart finalling manuscript from under the bed for rewrite, my conviction to explore the heart-rending, maddening, complex issues surrounding human trafficking and the door it opens for terrorists to enter our country had only deepened.
That conviction lead to the creation of deeper, more complicated characters. Cassie and Rio are both striving for the same goal: to end the trafficking, to shut down the violent smuggling operations. But their very different methods only complicate an already very dangerous situation.
So far, the reviews of INTIMATEENEMIES have been passionately good, which leads me to believe my goal of drawing emotion from the reader with a real-life struggle that occurs every day in a country just along our borders was successful. I hope you’ll find INTIMATE ENEMIES to be an emotionally charged, action-packed, realistic romantic suspense read.
In closing, I thought I’d share a few human trafficking facts I found fascinatingly horrifying:
· Human trafficking is the fastest growing illegal industry in the world and it is predicted to surpass the illicit drug trade, which will make it the world’s largest criminal activity.
· According to the United Nations, human trafficking generates an estimated $32 billion in revenue each year (worldwide).
· The State Department estimates that between 600,000 and 800,000 individuals are trafficked annually (worldwide).
· Traffickers employ a variety of strategies to ensnare their victims, ranging from false promises of employment in the United States to kidnapping. Often, individuals pay “coyotes,” or immigrant smugglers, to help them cross over into the U.S.
· Victims are often forced or coerced into prostitution, domestic servitude, farm or factory labor.
· According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the vast majority of human trafficking victims are raped, physically abused, and confined by their captors.
· The State Department estimates that 70 percent of trafficking victims are female and that nearly 50 percent of the victims are younger than 18.
· Due to the Mexico’s proximity to the U.S. and the relaxed government regulations concerning trafficking, a huge percentage of the sex trafficking victims in the U.S. originate in Mexico.
If you’re ready to watch the sexy good guys take these trafficking bastards down…read INTIMATE ENEMIES today!
I’m giving away **3** copies!! Just leave a comment to enter the random drawing!
Joan Swan is a triple RWA® Golden Heart finalist. She writes the paranormal romantic suspense Phoenix Rising series for Kensington. Book 2 in the series, BLAZE, releases October, 2012. She also writes the romantic suspense Covert Affairs series independently. Book 1 in that series, INTIMATE ENEMIES, is now available.
In her day job, Joan works as a sonographer at a one of the top ten medical facilities in the nation, and lives in magnificent wine country on the central coast of California with her husband and two daughters.
Where you can find Joan online:
Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Aug. 4th. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway.