Author: Sarah Williams
Page count: NA 69,000 words
Price: $4.00 e-book
Sarah is originally from England but now lives in Australia with her boyfriend and an ever growing collection of plants. As well as writing, Sarah enjoyed reading, films, music, good food and wine, gardening and yoga.
Tell us about your book:
I’d describe my book as a thriller with a supernatural twist. Set in the South West of England it starts with a young woman who awakes in a hotel room that she has no memory of falling asleep in. She is alone and inexplicably terrified of the dark. She doesn’t know where she is or even why she is there but she knows she must escape.
How long did it take to write the book?
I think it took me about a year to write the book but then after that there was probably another six months of editing and revision.
What inspired you to write the book?
I’ve written books since I was very young and have never really stopped. This idea popped into my head one day and then it just grew into a full length novel.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
When an idea comes to me I tend to map out the basic structure of the story, jotting down ideas along the way. Then I’ll go and develop my characters, writing down information about their personalities and their history. When this is done I tend to launch in and just start writing. I like to get words down and then I’ll go back and start revising anything I’m not happy with. For this book I did a lot of research as I went along as I have an excellent source in my father, who is a retired policeman. When I’m happy with the first draft it’s distributed amongst friends and family for their review. Then it’s on to the second draft…
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I hope I’ve written a book that people will find entertaining and fun to read. I’ve written something that I think I personally would enjoy and I hope that readers will enjoy it too.
Where can we go to buy your book?
My book is available in ebook format on Amazon and on Smashwords. It is currently priced at $4.00
Any other links or info you’d like to share?
Excerpt from book:
Though her eyes were tightly shut and her body lay still, Lux Swithin had long since escaped the arms of slumber and was now awake once more. She welcomed the blindness offered by her closed eyelids and felt her other senses sharpening as a result. For the time being Lux chose not to see but to listen, to smell and to touch. To see would be facing the unknown and unpredictable. To see would be giving away her position of consciousness.
With that in mind, Lux tried to keep her breathing even and steady, hoping to give the impression that she was in a deep and peaceful sleep. The only sound she could hear was the gentle sigh of air as she inhaled and exhaled through her nose. It should have been a calming noise, soft and soothing but tonight the sound seemed to echo around her, tearing through the silence like a jagged knife.
Fighting to control the panic that was beginning to seep through her body, Lux felt dangerously exposed. It was as though a hundred eyes were focused on her, scrutinizing her every move. And those eyes knew she was awake, knew that the deep and steady breathing was fake.
The sound of her own breathing was becoming overwhelming, pounding in her ears so loudly that Lux wanted to grab the pillow her head was resting on and use it to block out the noise. Gripped by fear, terrified at not knowing what she would wake up to, Lux nearly gave in and opened her eyes.
But at the last minute she stopped.
She could face the unknown, she could face the unpredictable but she couldn’t face the darkness.
It was strange, the darkness. It’s one of those things that you can normally only see. Darkness has no texture, it has no scent and it makes no sound, yet with her eyes shut, the only thing Lux was certain of was that there was darkness. There was darkness everywhere.
A chill ran down her spine and forgetting that she was feigning sleep, Lux curled her body up in to a ball in a subconscious attempt to defend herself. As she moved she felt an ache in both of her wrists. A small memory of yesterday flashed through her mind and Lux remembered the bruises.
At least she thought it was yesterday. At the moment the days were blurring into one and Lux was becoming more and more disorientated. She had no idea where she was.
In a large bed where she could feel the softness of the linen and smell the fresh scent of washing powder, Lux guessed they were in another hotel room, but she couldn’t be sure. It was a disconcerting thing, waking up in a place different to where you fell asleep.
Still curled up in a ball and shivering slightly despite the mild night, Lux let her hand drift to the other side of the bed and felt a surge of relief when she realised it was empty. If the bed was empty, then it was likely the room was empty, for now at least. Lying flat on her back once more, Lux did not want to go back to sleep. She needed to find out where she was.
Lux took a few moments to compose herself before slowly and cautiously opening her eyes. She drew a short and shaky breath on the realisation there wasn’t the slightest bit of light in the room. Lux had hoped for a digital clock or the glow from street lamps, but the room was pitch black. It was the kind of darkness where you could hold your own hand inches from your face and not be able to see it. The kind of darkness that offered shadows deep enough to shield anyone who would want to remain hidden.
Lux’s breathing was no longer deep and even but coming in short, fast bursts. She reached out her hand and immediately found a bedside table. Her fingers tiptoed over the surface until they found the base of a lamp. Lux traced her hand up towards the top and flicked the switch, immediately illuminating the room with a soft glow. Normally Lux would have squinted at the sudden change in light, but tonight she embraced it.
She quickly assessed her surroundings, glancing momentarily at the furniture and décor, but focusing on mainly the door and the windows. They were definitely in another hotel room. This would have been the third or fourth in a matter of weeks. It was stylish and expensive, though Lux had expected nothing less, but she didn’t care for the minimalist look of white and chrome. It felt too new aged for her and had no warmth. A white room full of empty bookshelves and artistic furniture wasn’t a home. It was just a room. And that’s all this was – it was just a room. Just another room, in another hotel, somewhere in the country.
Lux pushed aside the sheets and stepped bare foot onto the plush carpet. Tonight she wore a white, silk nightgown, though it wasn’t hers. Hesitating slightly, Lux made steps towards the door that she imagined led out onto the hotel landing. Pausing before reaching for the door handle, Lux paused to listen. She thought she could hear voices in the distance, but it only seemed to be the general buzz of various conversations mingling together from elsewhere in the hotel. Lux wrapped her hand around the handle but didn’t turn it. She hesitated but wasn’t sure why.
Curling and uncurling her toes as she thought, Lux realised she was gripping the handle so tightly that her knuckles had turned white. She flexed her hand and twisted the handle.
She had expected it to be but still managed to feel a slight pang of disappointment. Turning on her heel, the next place to check was the window. This time, Lux moved more quickly across the room to the tall French doors, which were hidden by a set of heavy curtains. Lux pulled the curtains aside and looked out onto the city. The French doors led out on to a balcony but Lux stayed put. There was an even bigger darkness out there just waiting to swallow her whole.
She pressed her hand up against the cool glass and gazed longingly into the distance. She was a long way from home tonight.
Unblinking, Lux’s vision focused on her reflection in the tall glass doors. Her straight black hair reached just below her shoulders and seemed too neat considering she’d just got out of bed.
He liked her hair; liked to play with it and stroke it.
At 5”4 she wasn’t tall and her petite frame made her seem smaller still. Her reflection in the large glass panes seemed tiny and vulnerable. Lux suddenly felt self conscious in her nightgown alone and turned to see if there was a dressing gown nearby. She noticed a wardrobe by the main door and decided to see if any of her clothes were in there. As she walked back across the room, Lux folded her arms across her chest. She wasn’t cold, but felt a need to shield herself.
On pulling open the wardrobe doors, she revealed numerous beautiful gowns and other such glamorous attire. None of these things were hers and none of them interested her in the slightest. She pushed past the designer outfits until she found a little pile of her own items folded neatly at the back.
Just as she was reaching for the gypsy skirt and vest top, Lux became aware of footsteps approaching. She froze by the wardrobe, hoping that they would just walk past. Her blue eyes were wide with anticipation and widened still when she realised that the footsteps had stopped right outside the door.
He was back.
There was a click as she heard the lock disengage and then the handle turned. Lux quickly and silently withdrew from the wardrobe and just as the door opened, she slipped to the side and pushed her body up against the wall. When the door opened further still, she found herself hidden between door and wall.
Lux held her breath.
A large and balding man entered the room. His footsteps were heavy on the floor and his leather jacket creaked as his broad shoulders moved with each stride he took. He didn’t close the door behind him and Lux was able to stay hidden in the shadows. The bald man stopped in the middle of the room.
“Lux,” he called after apparently realising she was no longer in bed.
Lux waited and listened as the footsteps moved deeper into the room.
“Lux?” he called slightly louder this time.
Lux strained to look sideways out of her small hiding place to see whereabouts he was. The door was open and if he was far enough away, she would be able to slip out from her hiding place and flee. Admittedly, running down a corridor in her nightgown didn’t overly appeal, but Lux decided it was a sacrifice she was willing to make. She couldn’t see him properly because the wardrobe was in the way.
Lux bit her lip in indecision.
If she delayed any further then she’d risk him coming back and shutting the door and therefore revealing her hiding place.
“Lux?” this time he sounded alarmed and Lux was sure he’d realise his error in leaving the door open.
With bare feet and wearing just her nightgown, Lux made her move.
She had to push the door back away from her body in order to make a big enough gap to get away from the wall.
As soon as she did this he heard her.
For a brief and frightening moment their eyes locked – his cold and threatening, hers wide and nervous. Lux moved as fast as she could but he was faster. For such a large and heavy man he had the speed and grace of a gymnast. He launched his body towards her like a man possessed.
Lux knew she wouldn’t be able to make it and so decided her best option was to get as far away as possible from the rhino sized man charging towards her. She darted back towards the bed and he slammed into the door with such force that Lux thought the door should have splintered to pieces. He quickly locked it before turning to face her.
Lux stood against the bed, her fingers gripping nervously at the edge of the sheets. She noticed he’d dropped his cigarette in his attempts to keep her from leaving. It now smoked away on the floor between them, gradually burning a small black hole into the white carpet.
A nasty little smile pulled at his thin lips and gradually turned into a grin that showed his yellow teeth. He said nothing and instead pulled a piece of rope from the pocket of his jacket. Lux remembered the bruises.
As he walked towards her, Lux contemplated making a break for the bathroom, but realised that he was now blocking all possible exits. Striding towards her with an arrogant swagger, he dropped to pick up his fallen cigarette and took a drag before blowing long billows of smoke in her direction. He menacingly pulled at the rope in his hand and before she knew it he had his huge fists around her arms.
She could feel his nails digging in to her skin but did not flinch. Instead she stared back at him, unblinking and calm. The next few moments were a complete blur to her.
Lux was fairly sure she’d heard the gunfire, but couldn’t work out where it had come from.
For a second it felt as though they were frozen in time.
Lux stared into his eyes as he continued to maintain his heavy grip on her arms. Things started moving again when she saw the shock register on his face. For some reason she couldn’t break her gaze.
It was strange, she thought, that as his eyes rolled and the trickle of blood escaped his lips that he managed to continue grinning at her.
The colour drained from his leathery skin and he sunk to his knees like a man begging forgiveness. His ham like fists were still hanging on to her, but now all he was trying to do was stop his heavy body from crumpling further into the ground. His teeth were stained with blood but his lips were pale. Head lolling and grip loosening, the great rhino of a man before her let go of his grip way before he let go of his smile. When he finally folded into a heap by her feet, he fell in slow motion.
Lux couldn’t move a muscle. Her arms were still slightly outstretched where he’d been holding her and her eyes locked in a distant stare.
The tall man at the door didn’t appear to be holding a gun, but Lux was sure it had been him that had fired. He crossed the room without taking his eyes off of her once. Stepping over the body as though it weren’t there he reached for her slightly outstretched arms as though she’d been reaching to him and cupped her small wrists in his hands.
It was the touch of his lips on her skin that brought Lux back to reality.
She stared at him as he gently and tenderly kissed at her bruises.
The pain was worse than ever.