Friday, October 7, 2016


The Story behind the Story
By James R. Callan

Several years ago, I read a short article in the L.A. Times about a woman who was held a virtual slave. There were no chains, but threats to kill one of her family if she escaped or even told anybody about it. I had trouble believing it, so I did some research. I found the practice is widespread in the U.S.  with tens of thousands caught in this web.

I knew I had to write a book around this. I discussed it with a top-notch editor I know. She was intrigued and said I should write a non-fiction book, interview some who had been trapped in this practice, talk to the immigration agencies and really expose the practice.

I thought about this for a long time. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could not do that.  It would bring the situation to close and quickly become too emotional. The book would never be written.

Finally, I decided to write a completely fictionalized version, where I could highlight the problem, but at the same time, I would not be dealing with actual people.  I could do that.  As I got into it, even the fiction version became emotional for me. To this day, I can read parts for the twentieth time and still find it difficult to continue reading.

In A Silver Medallion, Crystal Moore discovers the plight of Lucita, a young Mexican woman. She and her husband were raising two young girls, when he suddenly died. Lucita found it impossible to support her family.  She met Jose Rodriquez who offered to get her a job in Texas making "big Yankee dollars."  He would pay for her travel. The two girls could stay at his hacienda until Lucita saved the $1,200 necessary to bring them to her in Dallas.  Desperate, she accepted the offer.

But once in Texas, she is told should she escape or even tell anybody of her situation, her daughters would be killed.  She is paid $5 to $10 per month.  Another Mexican woman in Dallas tells her Jose is evil and would indeed kill or sell the girls if Lucita escapes.

Crystal is appalled and seeks possible ways to free Lucita. But all are discarded because of the treats to the daughters. Crystal tries to forget about it.  But her conscience will not let her. She cannot sleep or concentrate and is haunted by the plight of Lucita and her daughters. Crystal is not an adventurer, but the only solution she can find is to go into the jungles of Mexico and rescue the two girls.

If she succeeds, then Lucita will be free to escape and reunite with her daughters. But Crystal will have two powerful and ruthless men who want her dead.

A Silver Medallion is fiction. But it is rooted in a terrible truth.

James R. Callan, 2016

A Brief Bio of James R. Callan

James R. Callan had a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who's Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans.  He left the technology field to pursue his real love, writing.  He has had four non-fiction books published, but his passion is mystery and suspense novels.  His eleventh book was published in June, 2016.

Webpage and blog

A Silver Medallion on Amazon  

Comments About A Silver Medallion

"A Silver Medallion is a gripping, action-packed adventure from talented author James Callan.  Crystal Moore is a tough and savvy heroine who knows no fear."

New York Times Bestselling Author Bobbi Smith

"A Silver Medallion, the second title in the Crystal Moore Suspense series, reads like a gold-medal thriller from page one, when Crystal Moore and her grandmother take in a young Hispanic woman who escaped from a drug-dealing, modern-day Texas slaveholder. Crystal emerges as a compelling heroine with a big heart and bold personality, and her fierce independence allows Callan the creative freedom to take his character into the heart of Mexico to rescue two young girls she’s never met. ..."

From BookLife Prize in Fiction, Critic's Report

In July, 2016, A Silver Medallion won the ETWG novel contest for mystery/thriller over entries from across the U.S. and several foreign countries.