Today's guest is Becky Johnson, author of the mystery suspense novel, TOUCHING DEATH. Please leave a comment or question for Becky below to let her know you stopped by!
Author: Becky Johnson
Author: Becky Johnson
Rachel Angeletti knows things. She always has. With one touch she sees secrets, emotions, lies. Her gift helps her to be the best museum curator in Chicago. It also makes her personal relationships difficult.
Her life is complicated enough when a run in with her ex and an unanticipated vision sends her reeling. One touch and she sees death. One touch and she is thrown into the midst of killer’s dark fantasy. Now Rachel is in a fight for her life against a killer she knows too little about.
With danger stalking her around every turn Rachel is in a thrilling race against the clock. Can she catch a killer before he catches her?
Touching Death will take you on a riveting, page-turning, journey into the mind of a killer and the heart of a survivor.
For More Information:Book Excerpt:
I was eleven the first time I saw someone die.
It was hot. The kind of hot where your shirt sticks to your back and every breath feels thick and heavy. The waistband of my plaid, pleated school uniform was itchy. It was always itchy, but in Chicago in early September with the temperature in the nineties, I could barely stand it.
“Look,” my best friend April gave my arm a sharp and eager tug, “I can’t believe he’s talking to her.”
I looked across the museum where she was pointing. Jonathan Adams. With his dark hair and blue eyes he was the cutest guy in our class. He was talking to Carol, the prettiest girl in our class and our sworn enemy. April had such an intense crush on Jonathan. She had already named their children and when we played the name game she always wanted to get him.
While April plotted revenge on her arch nemesis, I looked across the Ancients room in The Chicago Museum of Anthropology and Archeology to where Billy Masters stood by a glass display case. His hair was unruly and stuck up in odd peaks from his forehead in complete disregard of the rules. His white, button-down shirt hung out over his waistband. Technically, he was wearing the school tie; he just wore it tied around his belt loop, a bright red flag of rebellion. I never wanted to admit it, but when I daydreamed and played the name game, I was always looking for Billy Masters.
Our class slowly moved through the large room. My teacher, Ms. Daniels, stood at the front of our group lecturing on the Egyptian Empire. With her graying hair pulled back into a tight bun, her stockings sagging around her skinny legs, and her soft and squeaky voice the lecture didn’t keep my attention. Her high-pitched voice faded to the background as I gazed at the surrounding exhibits. They were all so beautiful and fascinating. My imagination ran wild with stories and images. I imagined hands cupping a bowl or pulling a comb through a child’s hair. In my mind’s eye a thousand stories and possibilities ran wild.
We walked through the center aisle of a room, clustered with pottery and remnants of houses. I felt the strangest urge, the almost all consuming desire to touch. My fingertips itched. The power of it drew me. The crumbled edges of the pottery bowl almost begged me to touch them. Only a velvet rope and a few feet separated me from that tantalizing edge.
One touch. No one will know.
I didn’t even realize I’d stepped forward until the velvet rope stopped me from going any further. Vaguely, I heard my teacher discussing social structure and family groups, but the pounding of my own heart overpowered all other noise.
Rachel, the past whispered, “come. See. Life and death.”
I reached my hand out and my fingers brushed the edge of the bowl.
The images bombarded me -- a woman sat in front of a fire pit making dinner for her family. A dispute nearby grabbed her attention. Two men were fighting. The crowd surged and pulsed with the energy of the fight. Screamed words sounded foreign to my ears, but the emotion made perfect sense -- fear, anger, uncertainty.
Only the woman with the bowl saw the little boy standing too close to the fighters. Only the woman with the bowl saw the danger. She screamed his name. Her screams went unheard in the din. The crowd moved with the fight, their bodies cutting off her view.
The bowl was clutched tight in her fingers as she struggled forward, pushing people aside. It grew eerily quiet. The crowd slowed, then paused responding to a different energy. Shoulders and heads slumped as they parted before her. The little boy was on the ground. A bloody rock lay near him. She dropped the bowl as she surged forward, screaming.
I awoke on the ground in front the display my face wet and my throat raw with the echo of the screams still ringing in my ears.
10 things you may not know about Touching Death:
· The editing process of Touching Death took much, much longer than the 1st draft! For me when I’m writing there’s this click when the book comes together and I know I have something. Touching Death took a while to click. For a while I was scared it wasn’t going to and then boom it all came together in a rush. The last time I read it before publishing I was so excited. It completely clicked!
· There is a scene where the main character is locked in a trunk. I really wanted to write it as realistically as possible so I asked my friend to lock me in my car trunk. She was a little nervous about it. We chose an empty parking lot, I climbed in, and she shut me in. Thankfully no one called the police.
· Rachel Angeletti’s wardrobe is my dream wardrobe. My actual wardrobe is very boring so when creating Rachel’s I pulled out everything I have ever wanted in a closet!
· One of the hardest things to research for Touching Death was movie quotes! I wanted Sam to be funny and engaging, and I loved the idea of him being really into movies, especially old movies. I had to watch a few of them so I could use the quotes correctly. It took a while to find the right quotes, but I had a lot of fun researching.
· I had so much fun writing Kat. Basically I took everything I’m not, but often wish I was, and put it into Kat. In the end I think she became a really great foil to Rachel’s more reserved personality.
· I got the idea for Touching Death in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first scene of the book came to me as I was walking through the Arms and Armory Room. It took me a while to develop the rest of the story, but I knew Rachel would have psychometry, or object reading, and I knew she would work in a museum. The rest of the story grew from there.
· I modeled Rachel’s ex-boyfriend Robert after an ex-boyfriend of my own. I have to say it was therapeutic to make him a bad guy. He isn’t really anything like Robert, but it was still therapeutic!
· The name Derek Shanks came from one of my close friends. It’s a twisting of his name. My friend, however, is nothing like Derek Shanks!
· Touching Death is the first of at least a four book series. I have basic plots for the next three books. Each title will use a variation of touch. The working title for the next book is Just a Touch, and I’m hoping it will be released in early/mid 2017.
· It was much harder to come up with ten things than I originally thought. Phew. Every book I write has pieces of myself imbedded in it. Every character is parts of me or parts of what I could never be! Touching Death is at its heart a story about being okay with who you are and where you are. It’s acceptance. My deepest wish is that my readers find acceptance of themselves within themselves.
Thanks for your time. Peace and Love.
*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*About the Author:
Books are Becky Johnson's passion and always have been. She used to get in trouble in school for reading during class!
Becky has Master's degrees in social work and history, and for her day job she is a social worker. In her writing she tries to answer a question that is important to both social work and history: Why? She always wants to know why people do the things they do or feel the way they feel.
When not reading or writing she enjoys yoga, photography, cooking, and makes a pretty mean chili!
Her latest book is the mystery/suspense, Touching Death.
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