That’s right, today’s the day where you get a sneak peak at The Fifth Watcher, Book One of Melissa Barker-Simpson’s Worlds Apart series. But how did this story come to be? Well, let’s hear it from the author herself:
I wrote the Fifth Watcher during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last year. It’s taken a while to get it ready for publication, but there are a few reasons for that. The novel was originally written in third person perspective, and during the first edit I decided to change it to first – not an easy task!
The premise for the story came to me following a discussion with my sister about alternate realities. I saw the protagonist of this tale clearly in my mind and Audrey Montgomery was born. I didn’t give much thought to the name, it’s who she is. My grandmother’s name is Audrey too, and though both are strong, formidable women, I didn’t base the character on her.
As I like to do, I gave Audrey the canvas to tell her story in her own way. One of her protectors, a man I instantly felt a connection with, reminded me a little of my father. Not the way he looked, but his quiet strength and inherent goodness. The more I thought about it, the more I knew I wanted to name the character Keith, after my father. It felt right in a number of ways. This year is the tenth anniversary of his death, so it seemed the perfect tribute to him. My connection to Audrey may also relate to the fact she lost her father too, and I’m sure some of my own emotions influenced her grief.
I enjoyed spending time with Keith so much I gave him a voice too – his side of the story. His partner, whom I also adore, I named Nathaniel (Nate). I did this unconsciously, and because it fit the image of him in my head. My great-grandfather’s name was Nathaniel and, like Audrey – his character has nothing to do with the man I knew (except for sharing a sense of humour). Talking about my novel with my family caused a bit of a problem! Not having read it, my sister couldn’t get past the family links and how these characters intertwine. For a while I tried calling Audrey something else, but it just didn’t work – it was like renaming my child! The thing is, I don’t see my grandmother when I think of her, and neither do I see my father (though I do acknowledge the essence of him). My readers won’t share my family’s misconceptions, and I’m hoping when my sister reads the book, the characters will speak for themselves.
It’s a story I’m particularly proud of, and only the first part of a grand adventure! I haven’t finished with Keith yet. He has much more to offer, and I’m thrilled I get to share him with you.
And now, as promised, here’s the excerpt from The Fifth Watcher:
I shook my head to clear the hum in my ears. The sounds were duller now, my vision blurry. I was looking through some kind of membrane and it was closing in on me. It pulled me further and further inside until I wanted to scream for it to end.
My father hadn’t prepared me for this. If I could see the enemy I could fight, but I had no way of defending myself against this.
Heat travelled along my skin, but it didn’t burn. There was no pain. I held onto that as everything faded and I was engulfed by a shocking blast of light. It was everywhere. Even when I closed my eyes it pierced right through me.
I couldn’t deny the strange pull; a demand in my blood that told me to let go. I had little choice but to obey.
In the next moment a wave of nausea caught me unaware and I clenched my teeth to control it. The light receded, little by little, and my skin felt clammy now, rather than hot.
The silence was deafening and though I was afraid, I opened my eyes, holding my breath until the spinning stopped. The world settled around me slowly, sharpening as I exhaled the air caught in my lungs.
I was no longer at home. I was out in the open, somewhere strangely familiar.
Melissa Barker-Simpson fills her days with language and words so she doesn’t get lost among the clouds. She is an interpreter by day, and a pen-wielding conjurer by night. Of course the only thing she conjures belong between the pages of a book, but it doesn’t make them any less compelling.
Her most important job, as far as she sees it, is being a mother to two impish teenagers. They keep her feet firmly on the ground, are a huge source of joy (despite the rampant emotions) and allow her to live out her fantasy of being a musketeer!
She spends her time living between different communities, one of them being the (mostly) online writing community and giving back the magic that has touched her life.
Melissa runs a series of blogs, has a thing for collaboration, and enjoys to support others as often as possible.
The Fifth Watcher will be available for purchase at Amazon and Smashwords on Friday, November 21, 2014.
(c) 2014. All rights reserved.