Yesterday I shared some self-publishing news, the fact that my novel ‘Farholm‘, is available as an actual paperback book as well as the original eBook I published in 2012. I’m amazed it was nine years ago, but it was something I’d written a while before then, I think the first draft was probably finished half a dozen years before that. My second eBook, ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’ was published just three months later. It too had been written some time before, as you can tell by the primitive phones the characters use, and the fact their text messages are all abbreviated because at the time only a certain number of characters were allowed! 2011had been the year I was able to give up my day job – liberation!! and I spent my time editing and rewriting my novels, which was why I was able to publish ‘Rosa’ so soon after ‘Farholm‘.
Like many people I’m fascinated by the idea of stalkers – although I am well aware that in real life they are the most vile and horrible individuals who make their targets’ lives a misery and cause them to live in fear, sometimes for ever. In my story, Rosa believes she is being stalked but there is never any concrete evidence and sadly even her husband who loves her so dearly doesn’t a hundred percent believe her. I was also interested in the idea of what happens to people after something traumatic occurs – when you read a book or see a film with an exciting and gripping and maybe shocking conclusion, what happens to those characters afterwards. I said yesterday that people asked me if there would be a sequel to ‘Farholm‘, and no there won’t but when I finish a story, the characters continue their lives in my head. So supposing I wrote a story about characters who had experienced a trauma, and how they lived after it.
Before the story of Rosa Czekov begins, she was involved in the events surrounding as armed raid on a bank in which she offered herself as hostage in place of a young pregnant woman one of the robbers had grabbed her.
He pushed her forward so she was against the door, the gun tight to her throat, her head tipped awkwardly. The street outside was cleared of people and there was a line of police cars and men in navy with strange caps and black sticks. Except they weren’t black sticks they were guns.
He was swearing continuously, the words running into one long stream of expletive.
“Right bitch you’re gonna open the door and we’re goin’ out and we’re gonna get a car and we’re gonna drive. Right bitch, right bitch.”
For a moment Rosa didn’t realise that he meant her to open the door but it was locked.
“Open the door, open the fucking door or she gets it!” he screamed and there was a chorus from behind “Open the door! Open the door, he’ll kill her, open the door!” as the other customers begged for her life.
It clicked unlocked and she pulled it open, her hands slipping, as wet as if she’d dipped them in a pool of sweat and tears. The air outside was icy and peculiarly silent.
“Put the gun down,” a calm voice came through a megaphone. “Put the gun down and you’ll be alright.”
Put the gun down, put the gun down said Rosa inside her head. She was pushed forward and stumbled as they went down a kerb.
“I wanna car an’ a million pounds!”
He was holding her so tightly, pressing her so close against him she could feel his heart.
“Put the gun down and no-one will get hurt and we can talk -”
“Fuck talk! I wanna car an’ a million pounds!”
Rosa looked at the sky; the clouds were moving very fast, like a speeded up film. She leant back to escape the pressure of the gun and the man staggered. He began to say something and the pressure eased and in her peripheral vision she saw the barrel wave and then there was a loud plopping noise and the retort of a gun and she was showered in a hot crimson stream.
Hot rain? Hot red rain?
The arm around her waist fell away and she sensed the man moving back and then she knew what was dripping off her hair and eyelashes, what was streaming across her mouth and down her chin, with a metallic stink of gore. It was his blood, he’d shot himself.
But standing facing her, a gun to his shoulder, staring down the barrel at her was a policeman, his blue eyes so wide they seemed to start from his head. She stared back at him and slowly raised her arms, held them out beseechingly to the man in blue with the gun.
This happens before the start of the story which begins when Rosa’s cousin arrives from Australia, because after the bank raid and Rosa’s heroic act to save the pregnant woman, someone begins to stalk her. The cousin, Tyche Kane, has come to discover who the stalker is, who the person is who made Rosa’s life a misery.
Here’s the blurb for The Stalking of Rosa Czekov’:
Rosa Czekov is an ordinary person who, through an extraordinary act of courage, brings herself to public attention. Rosa is modest and private, and this unwelcome publicity attracts a stalker who makes her life a misery and brings her to the verge of a breakdown. Her cousin, Tyche Kane, has a mission to discover who is tormenting Rosa and bring him or her to retribution. In the course of her pursuit, Tyche uncovers many secrets in an effort to prove Rosa was not just imagining her persecutor.However, her quest not only puts her own life at risk, but endangers Rosa’s friends and family and leads to the murder of someone very close to her.
Now ‘The Stalking of Rosa Czekov‘ is also available as a paperback, and here’s the link: