Kate Winters is more than ready to chalk up the sudden invasion of trolls and knife wielding pixies to an inconveniently timed mental breakdown, after all with a serial killer on the loose it’s not as if London is short of real monsters.
Still reeling from the loss of her husband and a long way from home, Kate doesn’t have any plans beyond just getting by but there are some things you just can walk away from, no matter the cost. In over her head she soon finds out that the only way to get yourself in to more trouble than ignoring what is right in front of your face, is not to.
This isn’t like in the fairy tales, the Incubus has emotional issues, the only angel in the picture isn’t entirely sure that she counts as one of God’s children and nightmares can come to life.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I recently took a year off to go traveling after the loss of my husband and for the first time in a long time I actually had the time to actually write. ‘Losing it’ was started in the luggage rack of a train somewhere south of Mumbai and finished 9 months later in a homemade campervan the size of shoebox near Ninety mile beach, New Zealand. This fact may explain a number of interesting things about both myself and the novel.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I work in neuroscience and I’ve always loved the fact that what we see isn’t what is actually there but just how our brain’s interpret the signals from our environment. None of us see the world in quite the same way.
Kate came out of some very odd wine fueled conversations with some widowed friends about the strange things grief, trauma, sleep deprivation and a hefty dose of wishful thinking can make you see. I wanted to create someone who doesn’t loose her sense of humor when things get bad and still despite all her own problems wants to help because that is the way the people who became my friends after my husbands death are. After all who else is going to agree that skydiving is a good way to get over a helicopter crash or help you burn your husband favorite underpants.
You would think that having a nightmare so often would lessen its grip but this dream, like so many of the ones I’ve been having lately, is rooted in memory and all the more terrifying for it. I just keep expecting it all to turn out differently, even though I know that it can’t.
The details change but the fundamentals stay the same. I always start out happy, surrounded by friends and the sound of laughter. This time we’re queuing to get the gondola up to the ski slopes at Heavenly, a lazy four hour drive from San Francisco where we all live. It had been a great trip, despite the weather, which had turned unexpectedly cold. Little puffs of smoke escape our mouths with every word spoken, only to be whipped away in a flurry of snow and excessive cheer. Alan, his nose bright red against his surfers tan, digs me in the ribs and comments that as a Scot I should be used to this. In reality I had laughingly predicted worse to come and been snowballed for my pessimism; however justified it had turned out to be. In my dream though, panic already has too strong a grip on my heart for me to do anything but walk away. There’s someone missing from the group, someone important; even if I can’t quite place who it is. I scan the crowd until I’m ready to scream and then when I’m filling my lungs, I see a figure walking away from me and on instinct start to run.
After that it’s always the same. I try to follow but people, old friends and strangers alike, keep getting in my way, trying to tell me things I don’t want to hear. The soft wisps of frozen breath thicken into tendrils of caustic smelling smoke as everyone keeps yelling at me to stop and think through what I am doing. Reminding me that I don’t even know this man. How can his fate mean anything to me? They’re right, all of them. I don’t know him. Have no reason to follow. Except that I know that without him some part of me will always be missing, so when the panic sets in and the smoke turns to flames, I keep running.
A wood springs up out of nowhere and I can hear the sap boiling within the trees, causing them to explode on every side. Images start to dance within the flames; a man smiles up at me with a ring in his hand; friends raising their glasses in a toast. A thousand different things swim up into the light only to be burnt away, while my quarry glides ahead of me, his path unhindered, as the grey man looks on, his face impassive.
I grit my teeth and fight my way through, this is not a race I’m willing to lose. I gain ground slowly, until all I have to do in order to touch him is reach out my hand, but when I do all I find is pain. It flashes up my arm as vivid in memory as it had been in real life. I scream and the man turns.
I shoot bolt upright, having apparently fallen asleep sitting up and crack my head off something solid.
“You all right luv?” Asks a man from the drivers seat. I can see his eyes in the rear-view mirror and he looks a little freaked out. I don’t blame him, with my wild hair and black smudged eyes, I must have looked like a lunatic even before I started acting like one. If only he knew how close to the truth he actually is.
About the Author:
Elizabeth Armstrong is a science nerd, as proven by the fact that she has been known to make Undergraduates go to sleep by just talking at them and then somehow ends up talking about the same topic after work in the pub. To try and make people think she’s a little more interesting she also travels extensively and has developed a liking for sports that don’t get covered by normal travel insurance policies. Although this should not be taken to mean that she is actually any good at them, in fact she has often been referred to as the living embodiment of Murphy’s Law by friends and colleagues who are continually surprised when she turns up in one piece. So far writing has only resulted in a number of papers cuts and her falling out of a luggage rack.
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