As part of our Summer Sizzle book sale celebration, I’m delighted to host fellow crime writer, Alison Bruce. Alison has had many careers and writing has always been one of them. Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison has also been a comic store manager, small press publisher, webmaster and arithmetically challenged bookkeeper. Three of her novels have been finalists for genre awards. DEADLY SEASON was shortlisted for the Lou Allin Memorial Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novella.
Alison’s topic is Using Fear
All kinds of things scare me and I am remarkably good at scaring other people. I think the two go hand-in-hand. Once the threat (real or imagined) passes, it goes from being scary to more grist for the writing mill.
For example, a few years ago I was in a five-car pile-up. I was driving the fourth car behind someone making a left hand turn off a county road. The fifth car was an SUV. It didn't notice we were stopped and plowed into us. I got squeezed into the oncoming lane and just managed to straighten out so the next oncoming car didn't hit me. This wasn't easy since my car was now an accordion.
This was not my biggest scare —although it is up there in the top five cases of pain I've endured. My biggest scare came a week later when I was driving down that same road at about the same time in the evening. A pickup truck came up behind me quickly and I almost freaked. I was shaking and on the edge of tears. As soon as I could, I pulled over so it could pass.
Until then I hadn’t realized how deeply the collision had affected me. Pain and the effects of shock left little room for fear. It’s an experience I’ve drawn on when I’ve put my characters in danger. It also gave me a taste of what post-traumatic stress is like.
It took a year or more before I was comfortable driving down that road at night. I couldn’t avoid it. It was on the route to my father’s nursing home. I travelled it three to four times a week until he died. Eventually it stopped giving me the shakes, but I still have a frisson of fear every time someone tailgates me after dark.
From DEADLY SEASON
Last month Kate Garrett was a Police Detective. Now she’s a Pet P.I.?
Kate recently inherited half her father’s private investigation company and a partner who is as irritating as he is attractive. Kate has been avoiding Jake Carmedy for years, but now her life might depend on him.
“I’m missing Senior Idol,” said Mrs. Parnell, checking her watch for the umpteenth time. “Paulo isn’t going to be happy.”
I’d only been half listening to Mrs. Parnell’s running commentary on her neighbours. It was my second time out with the woman and most of the stories were reruns, but something didn’t jibe.
“Isn’t your husband’s name Graydon?
“Of course, dear. Paulo’s our neighbour. He watches Senior Idol with me—sometimes World’s Funniest Vids too.”
“Can’t he come over later? You can stream them whenever you want.”
She poked me in the arm. “Oh he doesn’t come over dear. He watches through the window. I think he has limited access at home, and I’m sure our wall screen has better resolution.”
When Mr. “Just call me Gray like my hair” Parnell took his turn on patrol, I asked him about Paulo.
“Can’t stand the little snot!” He stopped, took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Sorry. I’m sure he has reasons for being the way he is. I’m sure it’s not his fault he’s creepy.”
“I shouldn’t have said anything. Stella feels sorry for him. I suppose I do too.” He started walking again. “That doesn’t mean I have to like him.”
“Of course not. What does he do that strikes you as creepy?”
Mr. Parnell looked heavenward, as if for guidance.
“You’ll think I’m crazy, but I think he has a thing for my wife.”
Only professional training kept me from smiling.
“She thinks he’s watching our vid. But I caught him watching her. I don’t think she’s the only one either.”
That was nothing to smile about.
DEADLY SEASON by Alison Bruce
An Imajin Qwickies™ Mystery/Crime Novella
A Carmedy & Garrett Mini-Mystery #1
A Carmedy & Garrett Mini-Mystery #1
Kindle eBook on sale for 99 cents at Amazon
Other digital formats available via Smashwords. Go to Imajin Books for the sale codes.