My guest today is S.C. Alban. Hello! Welcome to Writing in the Modern Age! It’s great to meet you. :)
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book? When did it come out? Where can we get it?
First, I’d like to say thanks for having me today, Marie. I’m so glad to pop on by. One of my latest releases is titled A Life Without Living. It was just released at the end of last year. It’s a paranormal fantasy, the paranormal element involving witches. But, it’s really a love story. The story follows the “star-crossed” love of Kate and Gio- two souls destined to be together, though Kate’s betrothed, Alessandro, doesn’t necessarily agree and stops at nothing to keep these two apart. There’s a little bit of everything in this one…sex, violence, time twists, magic, true love, and mystery. It’s currently available through Amazon as a paperback and e-reader version, Barnes and Noble online, and of course through the publishing company, Solstice Publishing.
I’ve always been a romantic at heart. I was an English Literature major at university, so much of my writing has been prompted by classic tales of love and loss.
I’ve always had a passion for writing. I’ve always loved to read. I’m a “journaler” so I suppose you could say I’ve been a writer for a while now. However, it was only just recently (five years ago) that I decided to follow my passion and commit to one story to completion.
I love Anne Rice. The Witching Hour is one of my top five novels of all time. But, I’m also a Hemingway fan. I also tremendously enjoy Garcia Lorca and King, Keroauc and Walker.
I work from a laptop because I prefer to be mobile. If I really need to get working and focused, I love to work in the library of the nearby university. There’s just something about being around all those books that gets me going. As far as a certain time, I’m all over the place, morning or night, whenever, just as long as I have my ipod and headphones.
As a newbie myself, there is so much I have to learn, but one of the most important lessons I have gained thus far, is to be persistent. Just keep at it. Evolve as a writer, keep writing, keep querying, keep going, don’t quit. Just…persevere.
Kate Martins appears to have it all– a good career, a beautiful home, and an amazing husband. What more could a woman ask for? But when Kate's recurring nightmares begin to cross over into her waking hours, she discovers that her perfect life is not at all what it seems. It isn't until she meets a mysterious stranger that Kate begins to question who she truly is and where she comes from.
Here is an excerpt.
I was running. Always running. Running fast among the trees, feet bare as I trampled over the wet ground. My breath sliced the air with quick and rapid urgency and my lungs burned for me to slow down. My throat was raw; my heart pulsed at its max. Still, I ran faster.
I was in a forest. The lush greenery that comprised most of the northern California coast flew past me as I ran faster and faster. The monstrous redwoods that flanked both my left and right sides were a blur as I ran in earnest. The spongy moss gave just a little as each foot fell heavily on its furry surface.
As I ran faster to my unknown destination, I knew that there was no alternative to failure. I would make it on time. My conviction was strong and I would get there. I had to. And yet, in the back of my mind, I knew how this would end. It always ended the same – I had been there before.
I knew that no matter how fast I ran, no matter how much I wanted to get there, the simple truth was that I would not make it. What I had would not be enough. I would be too late. I wouldn’t be able reach him in time and there was nothing I could do about it.
I never would, but I had to try.
I sat up with a start. The room was black. Sweat poured down my brow, my breathing was labored. How long had I slept? Five minutes? An hour? Six hours? I had no concept of time anymore. I glanced over at my bedside table to take a peek at the red digital glow of my alarm clock. It was 3:23 a.m. Good, I still had time before I had to get up.
“Honey? Angel?” Alex sat up slowly, rubbing his eyes. “Are you all right? I heard you scream.”
As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I was able to see him. Even at 3:23 a.m., my husband resembled a Greek god. He was of lean build and solid muscle. My eyes wandered across his bare chest and up toward his face. His features were dark, with a strong jaw line and a face that held perfect symmetry. The kind of perfection that would make any woman bargain for a second glance. His longish, obsidian hair stuck up in all different directions, commanding attention. He ran his fingers through it as he became more aware of his surroundings. Looking at him, I had almost forgotten what had awakened me in the first place. His tanned face carried a look of confusion, turning into alarm as he reached toward me and gently caressed my arm.
“Jesus, love! You look awful. Are you all right?” There was genuine concern in his voice that melted my heart, and again I struggled to focus. “Kate, what’s wrong? Are you sick? Hurt?” His voice had an edgeto it. I could tell he was losing his patience. “Kate, answer me! Please!”
Like being hurtled into a brick wall, the sound of my name through the pain in his voice snapped me out of my trance. I could sense his frustration and remembered what had started this to begin with. Suddenly, without hesitation, the images of my dream came flooding back over me like a dark, black wave. Involuntarily, I shuddered.
“Nothing, love,” I said, not too convincingly. “I guess I just heard a noise or something.”
I was not going to go into the dream again – not tonight. Every time I began talking about it, I sounded more and more crazy while Alex became more and more frustrated. No, I was definitely not going to discuss it.
“Are you sure you don’t want to talk about it? You look really bothered.” The unease in his voice mixed with a tone that let me know that he was not fooled. “What happened in the dream this time?”
Even though I was grateful to have Alex by my side, I did not want to go through the details with him. Not again. Not tonight. I knew I had to be more convincing if he was going to go back to sleep.
“No, love,” I said in a gentle voice. “I’m fine ... really. Go back to sleep. It was nothing ... just a noise outside ... a dog barking or something.”
His lips were soft as I leaned in toward him and pressed mine against his. His hand rose to brush the side of my face as he pressed back and for a moment I was lost, not knowing who or where I was, spinning alone in a universe untouched by anyone.
Alex had always seemed to have that effect on me. He made me forget everything and anything except to wonder how it came to be that I was this lucky. But I couldn’t get lost. I had to stay focused if I wanted him to go back to sleep.
“Goodnight, see you in the morning.” This time, I almost convinced myself.
Yes, I was getting better at hiding the truth from him, though I was not quite sure if that was a good or bad thing. I didn’t think much on it in that minute. For the moment, I merely turned over on my side, my back to him, and pretended to go to sleep.
“Goodnight, love,” he whispered in a soft tone. I recognized the tiredness in his voice and knew that he had believed my lies or was at least resigned to them. “I love you.”
It would not be long now before he was sleeping again, that much I knew. What I was not so sure about was why I kept having the same dream over and over again, night after night. And why did I feel this indescribable need to keep it a secret from Alex, my own husband?
Sooner than later, Alex’s breathing returned to the rhythmic inhale and exhale that I had grown so familiar with, and I knew that he was asleep.
Not wanting to close my eyes just yet, I slowly slid out of bed and quietly entered the bathroom. I took great care to close the door as silently as I could behind me before I turned on the lights.
The bathroom was cold. My feet, surrounded by the soft, warm comfort of my sheets just moments ago, were instantly assaulted by the hard, frigid flooring on which I now stood. As I leaned over the sink, Ilooked in the mirror. I struggled to recognize the woman I saw looking back at me. But who does see themself clearly at 3:23 am?
I wasn’t hideous looking. On the contrary, some people found me quite attractive. I never quite agreed with them, but that was more of a personal problem. Rather plain looking, there was definitely something to be desired.
Dark eyes looked back at me with indifference. Dark hair framed my oval face. My fair skin, once tight and glowing like a fine piece of porcelain, looked pale and faded. It was during these times, the in-between times – when it was too late to be night yet too early for morning – when I felt I could look at myself and see the true me.
I took a deep breath and let it sit in my lungs for a few seconds before blowing it out. When did I get so old? Even though I had just turned thirty a few weeks ago, I felt as if time was taking an express train across my face. Within the past few weeks I had noticed laugh lines around my mouth, several fine lines around my eyes, one large crease across the middle of my forehead, and four gray hairs.
The initial shock still hadn’t faded from the morning when I was brushing my hair and noticed the small patch of grays sitting close to the front of my hairline. Most women probably wouldn’t have even noticed such an insignificant amount of hair, but I did. Against the contrast of my black locks, those hairs shone brightly and shimmered in a mocking elegance, silver trails meandering through a black forest.
I continued to stare at the reflection I saw in the mirror. However, it was only a brief moment before the haunting images of my dream came creeping back into my consciousness with stealth- like expertise.
The dream. The reason for this early- morning bathroom visit now came back to me with a harsh clarity.
I was running. Yes, I was always running. I was running faster this time, faster than any of the other times before. Where was I going? I did not know the answer to this question, but I did know I was trying to get to him. And this time I got further; further than I had ever gotten before. Yes, I was getting closer. That much I was sure of. Soon I would be with him and everything would be right again. But who? And why was I so scared? What could it mean?
All I knew was that I had to get to him before it was too late. My future, no, our future, depended on it. It was my destiny. I knew that I ran to save him, the man I would give my life for. The man that would save me from what would destroy me; and that this man, whoever he was, was not Alex. As I pushed further into my brain to capture more details, I felt the realness of it slipping away.
“Keep it together, Kate, it was just a stupid dream,” I said out loud as I tried to convince myself again, but I had already reached that quota for one night.
I took a deep breath and let out a sigh. There was no use staying awake for something I didn’t have control over. I turned out the light and carefully opened the bathroom door.
I peeked into the bedroom. Alex was still asleep; his methodic breathing was instantly calming. Quietly, I stole back into bed. I snuck another peek at my alarm clock. It was 4:35 a.m. Shit. I had taken longerthan I had wanted to in the bathroom, but at least I still had more than an hour and a half before my day started.
I lay on my back contemplating sleep. Why was I so upset? If only I could understand. If I could just understand why I kept dreaming it night after night, I probably wouldn’t be so obsessive about it. At the very least, I wouldn’t wake Alex up with my screams on a near-nightly basis.
As I thought of all the reasons in which my life would be better if I could just understand the significance of these nightly visions, I became aware that I was tired again. And although I would’ve done anything toavoid the unfathomable feeling of desperate terror I felt running through that lush, green forest while I rested, I knew that if I ever wanted to find peace again, I could only do it while sleeping.
I consciously slowed my breathing and relaxed my body. Sleep was coming and I’d be damned if I was going to let it pass me by. It was my only lifeline to what I sought. I could feel it take over my body in awarm wash and I knew I should rest. I’d have to rest if I was to make it through work tomorrow.
As my eyelids became heavy, my breathing fell in time with Alex’s. I took one last deep breath before I allowed my eyes to fully shut. Yes, I’d welcome sleep. It was not the answer I was looking for, but it was the only answer I had. And although I was able to justify its significance, it was not comforting in the least.
S.C. Alban was born and raised in Northern California. She is the eldest of three children and often spent much of her childhood playing make believe with her two younger sisters. However, it wasn't until much later that she knew she was destined to be a writer.
After graduating from university, where she majored in English literature, S.C. Alban traveled for a year. She ultimately moved back to Northern California where she obtained two Education Specialist credentials and a M.A. in Education. However, her passion for writing never died.
Her first break came in 2013, when she had some of her poetry published in Coalesce Literary Magazine, an online publication. In 2014, Solstice Shadows, an imprint of Solstice Publishing, took on her first novel A Life Without Living, the first book in the Life Without Living series. It was released in December of 2014. Shortly after it’s debut, Solstice also released the first story in S.C.’s short series, The Woman Inside.
These days, S.C. spends every minute she can squeeze in imagining fantastic realities for her characters, who are very real parts of her life. She is an avid hiker, loves to garden and a relentless dreamer. Both of S.C.’s titles are available through Amazon and the Solstice Publishing website. Additionally, A Life Without Living is also available on Barnes and Noble online.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/muchasflorasGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14013487.S_C_Alban
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/S.C.-Alban/e/B00QUVBTVM/
Amazon Author Central: http://www.amazon.com/S.C.-Alban/e/B00QUVBTVM/