Some of what follows you will glean from the novels. The remainder is in my head which is why I am sharing it here for those who are interested. In the introductory book in the Essie Openwaters mystery thriller series, Essie is twenty-one-years-old and she has just graduated from Stanford University with two PhDs, one in chemical engineering and one in earth sciences. You've guessed it, Essie is a smart young woman. She is also beautiful and can fight way above her weight. The latter is due to her upbringing (more about that later). But Essie is not without flaws. She doesn't trust people, avoids relationships, and arches her back and attacks when confronted by anyone she considers a bully. That too stems from her upbringing.
You see, Essie is half Kootenai Indian. Her mother, of French Canadian heritage, passed away from a brain tumor when Essie was only eight. So, she was raised by her 100% Kootenai Indian father, Joseph. Joseph abandoned the reservation as a young teenager, moved to a small town in northern Idaho, and made his way as a laborer. He found a small abandoned wooden shack in a defunct industrial site where the sawmill foreman had lived. That became Essie's home. Joseph trusted no one and taught Essie to do the same. They were poor with no electrical appliances (not even a TV). Consequently, Essie wore clothing from thrift stores and lawn sales that were mended many times over. Being the only Indian girl in an otherwise all white town made her a social outcast and the target of bigoted catcalls and cruel pranks. Her clothing earned her racist names such as 'rag doll squaw' and her inability to talk about TV shows or movies contributed to her classmates' dislike. Together with her father's admonitions, Essie found it easy to trust no one.
After Essie's mother passed away, due largely to a misdiagnosis by the city hospital doctors, Joseph devoted himself to teaching Essie to be strong and a survivor. Together they would camp out in the mountains where he taught her ancient tribal ways--how to hunt, fish, build tule huts, harvest and preserve wild vegetables, and how to fight. As a result of Joseph's relentless training and spending most weekends climbing mountains or paddling Joseph's hand made canoe through streams and across lakes, Essie became stronger and faster than the other kids who preferred video games and malls. When Essie was fourteen, Joseph was struck by a car and died. Essie was placed in a state orphanage where she kept to herself, defending herself against bullies as necessary. Life changed for the better when Essie turned fifteen and won a full scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines where she graduated at the top of her class with a degree in chemical engineering. She was then granted a full scholarship at Stanford University where Essie earned two PhDs in record time, one in chemical engineering and one in earth science. Essie found it easy to excel in universities--she could keep to herself and use her photographic memory to test out of nearly every class. Things changed when she finally obtained her dream job as a research scientist at a prestigious national laboratory. Her boss required team work and that was outside Essie's skill set. How can she be a team player if she trusts no one?
But Essie evolves, gives up her dream of being a respected research scientist, and becomes a super sleuth as the series progresses. Meet Essie in GIRL EMERGING. I think you will like her in the three Essie Openwaters novels I have published.
I have moved on to Rocco Mancuso mystery thriller novels, however, I have received so many requests for another Essie Openwaters novel after 90 DAYS, I have also started to work on a new one, this time partnered with her lover and business partner Josh.