I was flipping television channels and saw the show Toddlers and Tiaras. That’s when the first kernel to write a book about beauty pageants came to me. I was fascinated, and at the same time, appalled by what I saw on the screen.
My mind went back to the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, a six-year-old little girl who lived in Boulder, Colorado. JonBenét’s body was found in her home. She participated in glamor beauty pageants, so there was much speculation that her pageant participation might have somehow contributed to her death. The crime put child beauty pageants in the spotlight, and there were many discussions on whether or not the contests caused psychological harm to the participants. The murder of little JonBenét, as of the time of this writing, has not been solved.
I wondered how I could write a book about the competitive and, to many people, an abusive program that young girls (and less often boys) experience. Sometimes the interest is sparked through the child’s desires, but from what I saw on Toddlers and Tiaras, more often the interest seems fueled by the parent/s desires.
As a writer, when I’m thinking about a new book many times I’ll “see” scenes in my head. The story unfolds in a thrilling novel that I can’t wait to sit down and write. But I have learned it’s a lot easier to write a book in your head than to sit in front of the computer and put the words on paper. And rarely do those original visions make it into the final product. Not because the original ideas were bad, but more because my characters won’t be forced into preconceived situations.
I know readers are particularly sensitive to children harmed in books. So, with A Deadly Beauty, I set the story in the beauty pageant world but was careful with how the children and teen characters were handled.
The story is about people, some young, some older, chasing their dreams of fame, fortune, and beauty. However, the story exposes the often seedy, shallow, and sometimes illegal avenues employed to reach their destination.
A Deadly Beauty revolves around two half-sisters; a teenager and a little girl, who entered the same beauty pageant. One of the girls is a natural beauty who is talented, smart, and always wins. Every virtue the fortunate sister possesses, the other sister does not.
When two women connected to the beauty pageant vanish, LAPD Detective Maddie Divine must try to find those who’ve gone missing, and unravel the lies, secrets, and scams to deliver justice for those who are casualties of aspirations gone awry.
I wrote A Deadly Beauty while trying to make sense of pop culture’s fascination with appearance and beauty, and the lengths pursued by many to obtain the latest vision. And in the spirit of full disclosure…while I like to think I’m not shallow or vain, I rarely leave the house without makeup. 😉
Kathy Bennett is no stranger to murder and mayhem. She served twenty-nine years with the Los Angeles Police Department – eight as a civilian employee and twenty-one years as a sworn police officer. While most of her career was spent in a patrol car, she’s also been a Firearms Instructor, a crime analyst in the “War Room”, a Field Training Officer, a Senior Lead Officer, and worked undercover in various assignments. Kathy was honored to be named Officer of the Year in 1997.
Kathy’s debut novel, A Dozen Deadly Roses became a bestselling E-book at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Her second novel, A Deadly Blessing was chosen by Barnes and Noble as a Best Book of 2012. A Deadly Beauty is the fourth book in the series, and she is currently working on her next Maddie Divine novel.
Kathy lives in Idaho with her husband and two energetic Labrador retrievers.
You can buy Deadly Beauty here:
So, dear readers, what do you think about those toddler beauty pageants? Would you enter your child in one? Let’s give Kathy some comment love!
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