Author Leslie Bratspis with her latest book, “White Dunes.” Photo: Karen Lovett, KP News

Local author Leslie Bratspis’s third self-published novel is hot off the press. The carefully crafted plot unfolds among the isolated, wind-swept sands of a fictitious California desert town called White Dunes, where the worst of human nature meets its match in a series of life-altering events.

Bratspis grew up in Los Angeles in the hills beneath the Hollywood sign. There were few children in the neighborhood to play with.

“I spent a lot of time reading and writing stories about digging secret tunnels in the woods and talking bunnies,” Bratspis said. “An author has to start somewhere. Reading and writing have always been two of my favorite pastimes.

“I was watching the news one night. The topic was young girls being pandered on city street corners. It’s a prevalent, worldwide problem. This book is a combination murder mystery and kidnapping that are linked in an unexpected way,” she said.

“When I wrote the first chapter, I knew how I wanted it to end,” Bratspis said. “I took it chapter by chapter and let the chapters lead me. The book actually had a lot of unexpected twists and turns I hadn’t planned on. I had no intention of writing a murder mystery. There were so many details I had to fit together to write the story. That was a real challenge because I’d never written anything like that before.”

A couple of events and characters are loosely based on incidents with people she has known. In real life, they were never punished. “I took matters into my own hands,” Bratspis said. “They got what they deserved in my book.”

Bratspis wanted to draw attention to the problems of kidnapping, sexual abuse and domestic violence. “I wanted to write a book where the reader could get personally involved in the characters and their personal journeys of healing,” Bratspis said. “This book was so cathartic for me. I took great pleasure in punishing the bad guys.”

Bratspis read four Elmore Leonard crime novels while she was writing this book. “He writes with quirky humor,” Bratspis said. She wanted to inject humor into her stories. “With each book, I am getting bolder with my subject and themes. I want the readers to come away inspired. I feel this is my best book yet.”

Bratspis is currently working on a sequel to her first book, “Good Fortune.”

“White Dunes” is for sale at Cost Less Pharmacy in Lake Kathryn Village and online at Amazon. Bratspis will be signing her new book in the Brones Room at the Key Center Library on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

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