Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Jodie Bailey as our Friday Feature Author. She’s taking us behind the scenes of her latest release, Smokescreen: When her life is on the line, Ashley Colson is rescued by the last person she ever expected to see again. Military officer Ethan Kincaid might have disappointed her once in the past, but now he’s the only person who can keep her safe. They’re under the gun to decode top secret files that can save the life of a friend who is in enemy hands. But the killers will pull out all the stops to get their hands on the files…and Ashley. With time running out, can they put aside their past and find the answers that could give them a future?
Ashley’s story in Smokescreen is one I’ve wanted to write for a very long time. You see, a lot of what she experiences emotionally is something I’ve dealt with. And going back there? Not easy.
Ashley has panic attacks brought on by post-traumatic stress from a near-death experience. She has ordered her whole life to avoid the thing that triggers a panic attack, seeking tight control of events around her so that she can keep herself on an even keel, keep her emotions form running away with her.
Panic attacks are nasty beasts that leave you completely helpless to control your own emotions and the responses of your own body. When you have several in a very tight period of time, you’ll do anything to avoid more. And yes, I walked that walk. Unlike Ashley, though, my trigger was a lot less specific. Mine was born out of years of stuffing my emotions, and an attack could be brought on simply being around other people.
Fear dogged everything I did. Fear controlled me. Honestly, the idea of fear controlled me. So I set out to control everything. My relationships, my environment… where I went, what I ate, who I saw. I lost friends. Lost opportunities. Lost. So. Much. Could have lost more. But… God.
Thank God. Thank my Almighty God! After ten years, He saved me out of that. He delivered me from that horrible, horrible bondage. And on my birthday,no less. Another story, to be sure.
But it’s a story I’ve always wanted to tell. I lived with the stigma for years, thinking I was somehow unworthy because of this weakness, this attack by an unseen enemy that sought to destroy me. So I wanted to write a heroine who is weak… but who finds strength. Who is broken… but who is made whole. Mostly, though, I wanted a heroine whose suffering might help others understand those who suffer. And Ashley was born.
I can’t wait for you to meet her.
Jodie Bailey writes novels about freedom and the heroes who fight for it. Her novels include 2014 RT Reviewers’ Choice Award Winner Crossfire, from Love Inspired Suspense, as well as 2015 Selah winner for Contemporary Romance, Quilted by Christmas, from Abingdon Press. Her devotions have appeared in Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home and Sweet Freedom with a Slice of Peach Cobbler. She is convinced a camping trip to the beach with her family, a good cup of coffee, and a great book can cure all ills. Jodie lives in North Carolina with her husband, her daughter, and two dogs.
Have you ever struggled with anxiety, panic attacks, or PTSD? What helped you the most?