Braxton DeGarmo, author
“Indebted” is a story of redemption that begins in the backwoods of western North Carolina in the late 1960’s. Alice Cummings, raised by an abusive, alcoholic father, longs to leave her home and have a real family of her own, a desire that contributes to an out-of-wedlock pregnancy. But when she returns home with her baby, her father makes good on an earlier threat and sells the infant boy. Driven to find her son, she sets out to leave, find the baby, and start a new life together. Her plans go awry from the start when she witnesses a murder outside her home, and injures herself as she attempts to retrieve her suitcase from the shed. She escapes with the help of a neighbor, and circumstances force her to move on, unaware that his kindness will bring retribution by her father and the murderer. Myra Mitchell is the mega-bestselling author known as the “Diva of Disaster.” Yet, calamity is about to befall her this time, as her hard-partying lifestyle catches up with her. After passing out, she wakes up in the hospital ICU to learn she has little time left, unless she gets a liver transplant. The Catch-22: she must remain alcohol-free for six months to qualify, but she might not live that long. It’s a race against time to write her last book. With an assistant imposed upon her by her agent, she sets her sights on the story of her favorite cartoonist, Betsy Weston. Betsy appeared out of nowhere in Asheville, North Carolina in 1969, arose to develop the wildly popular cartoon strip – “Sweetie … and George,” made millions, and at the summit of her success, disappeared from the face of the earth. Myra puts everything on the line to uncover the rest of that story. ---------- Family. Belonging. Relationships. We all long for these things. Yet, what if you were the daughter and sole child of an alcoholic father. Worse, make him a moonshiner in rural western North Carolina, a man whose associates have no qualms with hurting people who get in their way. It's 1969 and 18-year old Alice Cummings wants what she hasn't had since her mother died, a real family. As her boyfriend ships out to Viet Nam, she succumbs to her desire, only to discover just before his death in SE Asia that she's pregnant. Her father sends her "away" to a distant cousin to complete her pregnancy and threatens to sell the child if she returns home with the baby, but she has nowhere else to go. Within a week after her return, he makes good his threat. The story begins as she wakes up to find her son missing. Alice's first reaction is to recruit the help of the local sheriff, but she finds that her father has staged his misdeed well, having cast her as delusional and distraught to the townspeople. When the sheriff takes her father's side, where can she run? And when she witnesses a murder outside her own home, she has no choice but to run. She finds herself on the last bus out of town, heading for the "big" city of Asheville, NC. The bus driver seems helpful and takes her to an affordable motel near his bus yard. When she discovers it's a brothel and there's a hasp on the outside of her room's door, has she been "sold out?" The story of Alice takes its twists and turns, and tragedy leads to an unexpected turn in her life. Fast forward to present day where mega-bestselling author Myra Mitchell finds herself in a drama only she could conceive. At the premiere of a movie based upon one of her books, she encounters a young fan who gets her attention by triggering a deep set paranoia. "I know your secret." After a night of binge drinking, she meets her agent at breakfast only to pass out and find herself in the ICU of Ronald Reagan Medical Center. The news isn't good. She might have but months to live, yet she's determined to write one last story. That story? The mystery of Betsy Weston begs to be told and Myra wants to unlock those secrets and tell the story of her favorite cartoonist. "Indebted" tells how these stories intertwine. It's a story of loss and hope, and of injustice and redemption.