A woman plunges into consciousness in the midst of what seems like someone else’s life, sending her on a quest to discover who she is and to craft an identity that makes sense within her current circumstances. As she digs into the mystery of her life, she uncovers a top secret government organization plotting world domination and a clandestine vigilante organization dedicated to destroying it and is caught between these warring factions. Nobody in her new world is exactly who they appear to be, including herself. Identity, she learns, is complicated and inseparable from the body in which it resides.
Targeted Age Group:: Adult audiences
Heat/Violence Level: Heat Level 4 – R Rated
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This is a sequel to A Stand-in for Dying, a science fiction novel about the quest for immortality in the Twenty-first Century. Brink of Life offers a deeper dive into how the interaction between body and mind determine identity and behavior, which was one of my special interests during my career as a psychiatrist. Writing Brink of Life allowed me to play with these ideas within the framework of a fast paced science fiction thriller.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Some of the characters evolved directly from characters in A Stand-in for Dying, responding to readers’ requests for more background about those characters. Others arose naturally from the relationships I imagined that my primary characters would have. And still others sprung to life in my imagination from the tapestry of impressions of people I’ve encountered. The interplay of body and mind provided a guiding framework for my characters’ behavior.
“Tap, tap, tap.” The sound was coming from somewhere on the ground floor. “Tap, tap, tap.” The rhythm was deliberate. The series of taps came at regular intervals, separated by half a minute.
She descended from the bedroom and moved softly around the perimeter of the house, listening. “Tap, tap, tap.” Now louder as she approached the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, she noticed a service door she hadn’t seen before that opened to the side of the house. The tapping got louder and more insistent. She walked to the door.
“Who’s there?” she demanded.
“Connor.” The answer was unhelpful. The name meant nothing to her.
“Petra, it’s Connor,” the voice insisted. “Please let me in.”
So at least he knew her. And he was addressing her with a familiarity that implied friend, not foe. He could be another clue to her identity. She considered the risk, then commanded the door to open. She heard a deadbolt slide and the door swung open. A young man rushed inside and gestured for her close it.
Connor appeared in his early twenties, around the same as her biological age. Six feet tall and slender, but muscular, he had sculpted features, blond hair, and blue eyes.
“Gorgeous,” she caught herself thinking, then felt something peculiar about her reaction. Why shouldn’t she find this man attractive?
“Thank God you’re safe,” Connor said and moved in to embrace her. She instinctively backed away and he stopped short.
“Why didn’t you come in the front?” she asked.
“The surveillance,” he replied. “I don’t think it’s safe for us to be seen together right now.”
“Why not?” she thought, but deemed it prudent not to ask. She was not ready to expose her ignorance or her vulnerability to this man.
“Some questions have been raised about Arlo’s death,” Connor said, answering her unspoken question. “If people knew about us, we might come under suspicion. And I no longer have a legitimate reason to be here now that he’s dead.”
“So we’re lovers?” she thought and found the idea oddly delicious. She regretted for a moment fending off his embrace. She relaxed her posture to appear less defensive. The maneuver had the desired effect.
Connor approached her again, placed his hands on her shoulders, and brought his face close enough to hers that she could feel his breath. She moved into the kiss. His lips were soft and moist. She was lost in his embrace, feeling her whole body responding to his touch. Yes, they must be lovers. And yet…again something off about her response…like she’d never been with him before…or perhaps with any man.
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