Welcome to this week’s installment of The Scariest Part, a recurring feature in which authors, comic book writers, filmmakers, and game creators tell us what scares them in their latest works of horror, dark fantasy, dark science fiction, and suspense. (If you’d like to be featured on The Scariest Part, please review the guidelines here.)
My guest is Pamela Crane, whose latest novel is A Secondhand Life. (On a personal note, I love the cover art and think it’s among the best I’ve seen this year!) Here is the publisher’s description:
In a freak collision when she was twelve, Mia Germaine faced death and the loss of her father. A heart transplant from a young murder victim saved her life, but not without a price. Twenty years later, chilling nightmares about an unresolved homicide begin to plague Mia. Compelled by these lost memories, she forms a complicated connection to the victim — the girl killed the night of Mia’s accident — due to a scientific phenomenon called “organ memory.”
Now suffocating beneath the weight of avenging a dead girl and catching a serial killer on the loose dubbed the “Triangle Terror,” Mia must dodge her own demons while unimaginable truths torment her — along with a killer set on making her his next victim.
As Mia tries to determine if her dreams are clues or disturbing phantasms, uninvited specters lead her further into danger’s path, costing her the one person who can save her from herself. More than a page-turning thriller, A Secondhand Life weaves a tale of second chances and reclaimed dreams as this taut, refreshing tale ensnares and penetrates you.
And now, let’s hear what the scariest part was for Pamela Crane:
I consider myself a pretty fearless person. I skydive. I ride and work with untrained horses. (Wanna see a rodeo? Come to my house!) So it takes a lot to scare me. What is the scariest thing I can imagine? The dark — not at all, because I love to sleep. Creepy critters — nah, because I can squish ’em. Heights — nope, because I can simply move to a safer place. Even being at the hands of a psychopath, while scary, at least gives me a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, I can talk him out of sadistically dissecting me while I’m conscious. (Please mercifully kill me first.)
The scariest thing to me: Losing my mind and being unable to stop it.
I like the fact that I can control my actions and thoughts. But what if that power were to be stripped from me? What if something — or someone — else took over my mind, something sadistic that plagued me with nightmares that I couldn’t stop, and compelled me to do things I didn’t want to do? That’s pretty darn scary to me.
My thriller, A Secondhand Life, is a story about this scary scenario. Have you ever wondered what it would feel like to be possessed by another person? In real life I met someone who suffered this type of existence — and it wasn’t quack science or supernatural phenomenon. Due to a health condition, he was an organ recipient. Shortly after a lung transplant, he started “seeing” things, experiencing memories that weren’t his, and even his tastes started to change. He expressed just how overwhelming and, yes, scary it felt to be in this position. Luckily these memories weren’t anything creepy, but in A Secondhand Life, the protagonist, Mia Germaine, receives a heart transplant from a murder victim — a young girl, and the first in a string of killings. Mia must witness horrid, chilling nightmares of this murder, which eventually leads her down a dark journey straight into the path of the serial killer dubbed the “Triangle Terror.”
In researching this science called “organ memory,” where our organs retain parts of ourselves that can be transferred to an organ recipient, I read about haunting experiences that I transcribed into my own character’s life. Being forced to relive gruesome details and physical pain that often accompany these memories, Mia must survive the havoc this wreaks on her psyche in order to dig for clues amidst the blood and guts.
Does she endure the ordeal and capture the villain, avenging the lives of the victims? Is she able to conquer these demons to find peace from these grim phantasms? Is it possible to recapture your mind once it’s lost? Find out by picking up a copy of A Secondhand Life, available where books are sold.
Pamela Crane is a North Carolinian writer of the best-selling psychological thriller The Admirer’s Secret, A Fatal Affair, and A Secondhand Life. Along with being a wife and mom of three rug rats, she is a wannabe psychologist, though most people just think she needs to see one. She’s a member of the ITW, ACFW, and EFA, and has been involved in the ECPA, Christy Awards, and Romance Writers of America. Along with delving into people’s minds — or being the subject of their research — she enjoys being a literary reviewer and riding her proud Arabian horse, when he lets her. She has a passion for adventure, and her hopes are to keep earning enough from her writing to travel the world in search of more good story material. Grab a free book on her website.