Blog Tour The Candidates Daughter.

The Candidates Daughter


The plan is simple: kidnap the daughter of Senate candidate Richard McClaine, take the money and run. Nobody gets hurt, the kid goes home alive. Twenty-two-year-old car thief Kelsey Money thinks it's the worst idea Matt and his drug-fueled brother have ever come up with. But Matt's the planner. He's the one Kelsey has always depended on. Then she discovers she only knew half the plan. By the time she finds out the rest, she's been framed for murder, and six-year-old Holly McClaine won't be going home alive. Across town, Elizabeth McClaine has no idea what her daughter was wearing when she disappeared. When Holly was born with Down syndrome and a cleft palate, Elizabeth placed her only child in the care of a nanny while she fought post-natal depression. But when Holly is kidnapped and Elizabeth discovers the detective leading the hunt has already failed one kidnapped child, Elizabeth knows she cannot fail hers. Now both women have twenty-four hours to find Holly. Because in twenty-five, she'll be dead. The Candidate's Daughter is a fast paced thriller of love and loss, failure and redemption, of mothers and daughters, and the bonds that hold them.



Catherine lives with her daughter, and a fox terrier that thinks he owns the house. She has sold international satellite capacity, worked in IT recruitment, and run her own communications store.

When Catherine isn't writing, she's dog-wrangling, wrestling with technology, or going crazy trying to maintain control of the yard.

THE CANDIDATE'S DAUGHTER is her first published work.




Six years old. Even from here the kid looked small for her age.

Kelsey lowered the binoculars and squinted off down the street.

"Is that her?" Lionel asked and reached back. Kelsey handed him the binoculars while Matt shifted forward in his seat and rested both arms across the steering wheel, his attention on the child.

"That's her," he said.

They'd been sitting in this junker Camry for half an hour now, freezing their asses off while they waited for school to finish and the last remaining students to leave. November in Cleveland and no functioning heater, the car was an ice-box. The instant Kelsey saw the kid, it was like someone had flicked on a switch. Now all she could feel was heat flashing down her back and sweat prickling under the wig. She adjusted her jacket and loosened her collar, watching the woman and the child exit the Special Children’s Center and make their way to the street.

"Ready?" Lionel said.

Matt checked the street front and back. "Not yet. Wait for it! "

Kelsey lifted the binoculars again, leaning forward so she could get a clear view of the kid. Holly McClaine's mousey brown hair was cut into a bob and secured back from her face with a headband; she wore a windbreaker two sizes too big over a checked pinafore dress, fawn-colored tights and plain brown shoes. Her left hand was on the strap of her Dora the Explorer backpack, her right one in the grip of a woman Kelsey recognized as her teacher, Audrey Patterson. While Holly stared straight ahead, a worried frown creased the teacher's brow. She pulled the child's hood up, then turned and shrugged her shoulders against the icy wind, searching the street for a car that was never going to come.

Matt checked his watch. "Okay," he said. "Now! Go, go, go."

Kelsey opened the left rear door, got out and headed down the street, drawing the collar of her jacket up over the dagger tattoo on her neck. "Hi," she called, flipping back a strand of her long brown hair and smiling as she crossed and trotted towards the teacher and the kid.
Audrey Patterson gave her the brief smile, but otherwise ignored her and continued scanning the street, until Kelsey paused next to Holly, dropped to one knee, and said, "Hey, Holly, I'm taking you home, baby."

The teacher swung on her, automatically gripping the child's shoulders and pulling her in, saying, "Excuse me?"

Kelsey straightened, offered her hand. "Oh, I'm sorry. I'm Amy, Lizzie's sister. You must be Audrey. Lizzie told me all about you. Says you're a terrific teacher."

Audrey's frown softened but the skepticism remained. She took the proffered hand. "Nice to meet you," she said, although the snap visual she gave Kelsey's jeans, Metallica tee-shirt and fringed suede jacket told her something entirely different.

"Oh, yeah, I didn't have time to change. Airports, huh?"

Their eyes met, locked. Right there Kelsey saw the distrust and her heart did a flip.



Embark on a journey of utterly believable intrigue toward a nail-biting show-down that'll have you screaming "get'm, oh get'm, please", until the very last world-erupting word. An emotional freight train running at an unprecedented pace into unfathomable darkness. A place of ice cold emptiness. A hollowed-out-heart. A wicked barren pit. You feel all this in the mother's pain, tangibly. You will hear a crinkle of paper, loud enough to set your teeth on edge, as she crunches up her heartfelt void right in front of you! Yet, it has rhythm, a speed to it that layers warmth to melt straight through the ice at the base of the tale. I felt myself rooting for the heroine(s) vocally(very loudly, in fact). At various intersections, I found my hands in fists of sheer anticipation. The suspense nearly killed me. I was so very involved in the story I dreaded its finale, now isn't that something? Incredibly eloquent, you'll be marveling at phrase after phrase of first class, sparkling writing; could I say more? Catherine Lea stitched me right into the fabric of her story without me even noticing that she had; the mark of a truly gifted author.

Why Did You Write the Book?

I'm the mother of a disabled child and I originally wanted to write a book about the mother of a disabled child to highlight the conflicts of emotions that result in the birth of a child less perfect. So I needed plot. I decided that if this child were lost or stolen, then I could examine the complex issues involved. I opened the book with Kelsey, and well, she took the story from there.

What Is Your Next Project?

My next project. Ah, well, that's a leading question. I'm working on a number of different projects. I have a thriller about a sociopath who finds himself the victim when he enters a competition for a $10 million prize. It's very different from The Candidate's Daughter and I'm tossing up whether to launch it under a pseudonym. That's almost ready to go. In the meantime I'm working on a humorous YA mystery series titled, THE MYSTERIES OF MOSEY BLAINE. It's set in New Zealand and it's about two intellectually over-achieving high school girls who solve mysteries in their school. Of course, nothing works out the way they plan and I've drawn on my own dismal high school memories to come up with a cast of interesting characters. I wrote two books a while back and decided to do a complete rewrite on them before putting them up. I'm also around a third the way through a suspense, also set in New Zealand, and a military thriller set in Zimbabwe.

Who Inspires You?

All good writers inspire me. I began reading all the British authors like Ruth Rendell and Colin Dexter, then I discovered Lawrence Block and Ed McBain. Sue Grafton is also one of my loves. I've read every one of her books. I have to admit, I have a real problem reading bad writing these days, which makes me more fussy with my own work.

Who Do You Write - Using an Outline or Adlib

I use a mixture of both. I have to know where I'm going. With The Candidate's Daughter, I had the end scene firmly in my mind by Chaper two. I didn't write it because although some writers can happily write out of sequence, I can't. I'm very liniar, but I don't make notes, either. That may have to change as my home life becomes more hectic looking after my terminally ill daughter.

How Long Did it Take to Write the First Draft?

The first draft took around five months. It was a whirlwind affair and at no time did I doubt the story. I was enormously fortunate to catch the eye of Sara J. Henry who is the multi-award-winning author of A COLD AND LONELY PLACE and LEARNING TO SWIM. There's a good reason she won so many awards for these books and I was incredibly lucky that she took me under her wing and helped me address some areas that weren’t working. She worked on the edits over and over to help me get it into shape for submission. Sara was also kind enough to give me a blurb for the cover.