Monday, 7 May 2012

Character Spotlight ~ Kathy Herman's Sax Henry & Zoe Broussard

Kathy Herman completes her Secrets of Roux River Bayou with Relentless Pursuit, available now from David C Cook


Rich with the Cajun flavors of south Louisiana, this final book in the Secrets of Roux River Bayou Series is a story of what it means to find true peace in an uncertain world.
Sax Henry left home at seventeen to escape his father’s abuse, leaving his mother and sister to fend for themselves. Now, twenty-eight years later, both parents are dead, and guilt compels him to find his sister and make peace. His search leads to Les Barbes, Louisiana, where authorities fear a bio-terrorist has injected cyanide into juice cartons and fresh produce at the grocery store. People are dead. It’s not safe. Sax stays, fearing death less than living another day without peace. A divine appointment is about to change all that forever.

Enjoy meeting Sax & Zoe!

Background for the Secrets of Roux River Bayou Series

I’m a Texan, and Louisiana is my next-door neighbor. With all that colorful Cajun culture nearby, I thought it would be fun to set a series there. So I set out on a road trip to south Louisiana with my husband, Paul, and drove from town to town, snapping pictures, sampling delicious food, and making copious notes. But somewhere along the way, I came to realize that this unique little corner of America evolved after a period of terrible persecution. That once upon a time, the British had ordered the forced removal of every last Acadian from what is now Nova Scotia—because they wouldn’t renounce their Catholic faith and become Protestant. And wouldn’t swear allegiance to the British flag and take up arms against France. A third of the Acadians died in the process. The mass exodus was eerily like what we later imposed on Native Americans in the Trail of Tears. Thousands o f these displaced Acadians ended up in south Louisiana, where they began to recreate themselves. Once I understood the faith and fortitude that sustained these proud people, writing the stories in this series became much more personal for me.

Sax Henry

Physical Description

Sax is nice looking, average height and weight, dark hair and eyes. Five-o’clock shadow. He looks younger than his forty-five years. Just a little rugged—a look befitting a saxophone player.

Actor/Famous Person

I think Ben Affleck (see attached picture) might be a good fit to play the part of Sax Henry. This is always a hard call for me because I “feel” my characters more than I actually picture them.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Sax is kind and sensitive and respectful. He has learned to use music as a way to release deep emotion. He’s also determined. That determination is what has enabled him to survive with the pain that resulted from his violent upbringing and choice to walk away from it. It’s also determination that compels him to find his sister, Shelby, even though he knows she might not want anything to do with him.

Sax is also moody, unsure of himself, and guilt-ridden. He feels like a loser for leaving his mother and sister to fend for themselves. His inferiority complex is not an attractive quality. He is bitter toward God and openly hostile about spiritual things.


I’m not sure if this qualifies as a quirk, but Sax has kept the ashes of his parents in two urns in his closet. His feelings about them are so conflicted that he can’t decide whether to scatter them in the gulf or in the landfill—so he does neither.

Inspiration for the character

Since book one, Sax’s sister Shelby (who has changed her name to Zoe Broussard) has struggled to reconcile her past, specifically with her brother, whom she hasn’t seen or spoken to since he left home at seventeen and left her to deal with their abusive father. I wanted to create a brother who would be a catalyst for bringing that healing to fruition in this third and final book. I needed Sax to come to the realization that it’s impossible to find true peace and be at odds with the Prince of Peace. I need him to see that his being reconciled to his sister was a “God” thing.

Background for the story

Sax Henry was born Michael Austin Sieger in Devon Springs, Texas. He grew up with a father who was a violent drunk and a mother who pretended he wasn’t. He left home at seventeen to travel with his rock band, leaving his mother and thirteen-year-old sister, Shelby, to fend for themselves. He immersed himself in his guitar-playing and went back to Devon Springs several times to try to convince his mother to leave his father and take Shelby to a women’s shelter. She wouldn’t. After that, Michael cut all ties with the family. He eventually changed his interest to jazz and learned to play the saxophone, after which he changed his name to Sax Michael Henry. But Sax never found peace. He was haunted by the undone business in his life. Now, twenty-eight years later, after three failed marriages and both parents dying, Sax is desperate to find Shelby and make peace. Whatever it takes.


Zoe Broussard

Brief Physical Description

Zoe Broussard is 41, attractive, cropped chestnut hair and blue-gray eyes. She’s average height and weight. Bubbly personality. A real people person.

Actor/Famous Person

If I were choosing someone to play her, I would choose Sandra Bullock. (See photo attached) They seem to have similar physical features and an infectious personality.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Zoe is friendly; bright; entrepreneurial and organized. She is the founder of Zoe B’s Cajun Eatery, which she began twelve years earlier and continues to operate with husband, Pierce, who is head chef. She’s a devoted wife and a loving mom to their two children, Grace (4) and Tucker (1). Zoe has a soft spot for senior adults and has “adopted” three older gentlemen who hang out at the eatery and play checkers, as well as a woman she once worked for who has become a mother figure.

Because of her abusive background, Zoe struggles with abandonment issues and shame. She’s still not entirely comfortable in her own skin. Her newfound faith has helped immensely, but part of her still thinks that if people knew who she really was they would reject her. Her “adopting” people to care for is an unconscious attempt to fill the emptiness that has resulted from her dysfunctional background.


I guess if Zoe has any quirk it’s her obsession with being a few pounds heavier than she wants. She’s always trying to present a perfect facade—again, part of her struggle to get comfortable in her own skin.

Inspiration for the character

Zoe Broussard has evolved over the three books in this series. In this last story, I used her to help demonstrate the central theme, which is what it means to find peace in an uncertain world. The story is based on a Bible verse: Psalm 34:14: “Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.” Zoe realizes that forgiving her brother and being reconciled is the only right thing to do.

Background for the story

Zoe Broussard was born in Devon Springs, Texas as Shelby Sieger. Abused by her alcoholic father and left vulnerable by a mother who turned a blind eye, she left home when she was of legal age and never went back. Shelby changed her name to Zoe Benoit when she started Zoe B’s Cajun Eatery and to Zoe Broussard when she married Pierce. She has forgiven her parents, though she has no desire to go home and see either of them or to make contact. The one person in her life, who broke her heart and that she just can’t forgive is her brother, Michael. He was the one stable, loving person she could turn to, and he left home at seventeen leaving her (then thirteen) and her mother to fend for themselves. Zoe has not seen Michael in twenty-eight years, and it would be fine with her if she didn’t see him for another twenty-eight. She has no idea that he has been searching desperately for her.

Relz Reviewz Extras
Character Spotlight on Adele Woodmore
Visit Kathy's website
Buy Kathy's books from Amazon or Koorong


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