It’s taken the better part of four years, but this week marks the release of my debut novel, On Angels and Rabbit Holes. I’m so excited, and have so much to share about this book. The odd thing is, I’ve talked about other authors and promoted them extensively, but haven’t done much to promote my own book. It seems I’m better at plugging for others… but this deserves recognition, and I will crow about it, because it’s the kind of book that sticks with you… for all the right reasons.
The novel is best described as “magical realism” — there’s a mystical, almost supernatural twist to the goings-on inside the brain of the protagonist, Corrie Weber. It’s a love story, and a book about the complexity of relationships. It’s about the depth and breadth of conviction, and understanding one’s strengths. It’s about forgiveness and loss. More than anything else, it’s about growth.
It’s also about chronic illness… in this case, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, migraine, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, and synesthesia. As someone who’s lived with these conditions, I made sure not to pull punches: you’ll get a heavy dose of what it’s like to experience them. You won’t see it coming — you’ll just get pulled in, the way it happens in real life. I’ve been told by others who’ve been diagnosed with one or more of these neurological “disorders” that the prose is highly evocative and transportive… even somewhat uncomfortable. It’s about as close to experiencing it for yourself as you can get and still sit safely in your favorite reading spot.
Here’s an excerpt:
It’s going to be an orange night. Orange makes it hard to breathe. Orange nights are thick like itchy winter blankets, and always scary.
Briefly, Corrie’s thoughts revert to normalcy and she realizes she’s having another nightmare, the kind that happen when she’s awake and sleepy. In a way, they’re worse than the other kind, the ones where she wakes up in a sweat and calling for her mom because she’s frightened by some unnamed terrible thing. The angels play a different game.
Corrie wonders briefly where the sheep went. She sees them then, orange and dense, making her left arm ache. Her face hurts from the thought of the sheep, the weight pushing down on her arm and making her head feel heavy. The woolly orange sheep bleat a sound like laughter, at once both distant and oppressively close.
The laughter issuing from her father’s television show is long and slow, a mockery of real laughter. Stretched out like this, it sounds like a threat, like a bad clown, its smile turned sticky and dangerous.
Corrie’s eyes are open but her bedroom isn’t what it was; her sheets suffocate her and her bed swallows her. She opens her mouth and releases her terror out into the night. It might be a scream or a laugh, or it might be something like the bleating of sheep. It is weightless, meaningless.
The uncounted sheep that wandered away have returned, and now they’re painful and orange, their cries like the echoing, dissonant, watery sound of her own voice under water. She tastes the sound of it. She sees the feeling of it. The opaque, slow movement of its turbulence leaves a palpable wake in her mind as it passes.
It doesn’t make sense, and she can’t stop it. Being awake does nothing to keep these waking dreams away. They warp everything she knows, and leave her disoriented, exhausted and confused. They’re wrong. They turn reality widdershins.
She distantly remembers that colors aren’t felt. Sounds aren’t seen. Angels are soft, pretty, glowing things. They smile. They make you safe. Except for here, in this place in her head. Sometimes the door opens and she falls in, or they fall out. In the space of a heartbeat, sometimes things right themselves, and Corrie remembers things as they ought to be. A beat later, her open-eyed dream carries her away again, and it doesn’t surprise her. She walks a familiar path every time, and never sees the next step until she takes it.
Corrie takes another intentionally shallow breath, trying to keep from flying off the bed, afraid it will happen anyhow. Each breath is ballast, the thing that keeps her balanced and steady. Right now, it’s the difference between a hand that rocks a cradle and one that tips it over. The moment impresses itself upon her heavily, insistently. It’s a television show that’s always at precisely the same point, every time the set’s turned on. She knows what’s going to happen next; nothing really changes with the waking nightmare in her head.
She tries not to move. She feels the motion anyhow.
Her head rewrites the rules. She is afraid she will become lost and never find her way back home. She searches for the memory of her mother’s face. It’s slippery, but Corrie grasps for it as desperately as a tether in a storm.
Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, it’s being well-received. I read extensively, and confess that this book really is beautiful. There’s also a paperback copy of it up for grabs at Goodreads — enter now! The giveaway lasts only a week!
Giveaway dates:Mar 11 – Mar 19, 2017
Countries available:US, CA, GB and AU
On Angels and Rabbit Holes is available at Amazon in both paperback and Kindle — it’s a great read, and one worth sharing.