We're pleased to have Nerine Dorman here with us today on The Speculative Salon, with an exotic guest post! Be sure to check out her latest release below.
Chasing a supernatural thriller with an Egyptian Twist
By Nerine Dorman
People’s expressions when I tell them what my most recent release is about are priceless.
“My book is about a little old lady who’s a member of an ancient Egyptian reincarnation cult, who returns in the wrong body—that of a 21-year-old metal head.”
Then again, nearly any story reduced to a twenty-word sentence sounds pretty far out. Go on. If you’re an author, reduce your novel to the bare bones. Or, if you’re a reader, take your favourite novel or movie.
A young farm boy discovers that his father is the chief henchman of the evil emperor.
A halfling sets out to destroy a magical ring by tossing it into a volcano—thereby bringing about the end of a war.
I’m sure you can think of a few others, and the aforementioned examples are pretty darn obvious. This exercise definitely makes for some amusing fireside banter. But to get back to my novel, Inkarna. What my readers have appreciated was stepping into a story that did away with the expected tropes of vampires and werewolves, angels or demons. Not only that, but I offered a glimpse into a side of my home town, Cape Town, they wouldn’t ordinarily have.
As an author, I’ve always wanted to write what I still affectionately call “the great Egyptian novel”. I recall reading Anne Rice’s The Mummy in my teens, and wishing she’d offered more in a similar theme. After all, she’d finished the book with a few loose ends that could easily be taken up.
So, in a way, Inkarna is my take on the myth of the vengeful mummy, who returns through the ages, only he’s got far more sex appeal and packs plenty of “Jedi mind tricks” if you want to call his powers that. But things aren’t all plain sailing for my dear Lizzie, now affectionately known as Ash, as this short excerpt will reveal:
More streetwalkers lurk in corners, dark-skinned women who don’t quite meet my gaze. Although many are pretty, their expressions are hard and I quicken my pace. The sooner I get through this area, the better. I’m the one who’s the outsider here.
It’s more a prickling at the back of my neck, the sense of being watched, that warns me I’m being followed. A cursory glance over my shoulder reveals two coloured youths falling in step about five metres behind me, their focus very much on me; their arms too loose by their sides. Trouble.
One of them conceals something in his hand. I’m so busy keeping an eye on them that I walk straight into a man approaching from the front.
We collide hard, and we both stumble.
“Ooof! I’m sorry!” I hold my hands before me to show I don’t mean him any harm.
He’s skinny, all elbows and knees, and he glares at me through slit eyes. That’s when I note the metallic flash of a blade in his hand. “Gee my jou geld.” When he grins he shows a gap where his front teeth used to be. Scum.
“I’m sorry, I don’t have any money. I don’t want trouble.” I back up into a lamp post.
“Wit poes, wat soek jy hie’?”
His friends reach us, the shorter one of the pair circling round to flank me while the other lends support to my toothless friend.
“Gee die geld.”
“I don’t have any money! Why don’t you all just fuck off and leave me alone!” Darkness takes hold of me, flaring from within the deepest recesses of my psyche. I want to hurt this unfortunate trio. I lash out with my right arm, even as the other knife-wielding scum takes a stab at me. It doesn’t occur to me that I should fear anything.
How can I describe the outpouring of daimonic energy? It’s like taking a breath, reaching into the core of matter around one, borrowing from the humming wires, from the ground, from every available source, so the world goes a little dim for a few heartbeats. The path I opened earlier during my confrontation with Ashton’s uncle has forced a breach in whatever blocked me until now. My body becomes a conduit for this force and, with a soft implosion, I release. My assailants drop, the glass of the nearest shop front filling with millions of hairline fractures radiating outward from a band of impact at about chest height.
A car alarm starts wailing across the road. A woman screams. That dull throb begins again behind my temples, the small zigzags of visual disturbances wriggling across my field of vision in my left eye. My mouth has gone dry and I swallow reflexively, my arms numb, my legs not quite willing to support me.
Now’s about a good a time as any to get the hell out of here, before I need to pass out from the migraine that will no doubt flatten me soon. Something tickles my left nostril. When I raise the back of my hand to wipe, the skin is stained with dark liquid, blood. Just perfect, I have a nose bleed on top of everything.
It’s only when I’ve stumbled far enough to put a few blocks between me and the incident that it occurs to me I’ve started swearing like a sailor. Lizzie never used to do that.
* * * *
So, there’s a little taster. I had a great time elaborating on the sheer discomfort my protagonist experienced as she (now a he) grew into the second chance at life offered. Readers have pegged my stories as supernatural thrillers that kept them up ’til late or even away from their daily tasks, so feel free to give Inkarna a shot. It’s available in electronic and print formats.
Feel free to stalk me on Twitter @nerinedorman or go check out my website at http://nerinedorman.weebly.com to find out about my other titles.