by Nick Wilford
GENRE: YA Sci Fi
Harica is gifted with the ability to defuse conflicts using her mind. When she is recruited to assist in resolving a war via an arranged marriage, she discovers that the reluctant bride-to-be has similar powers. Princess Jasmila doesn’t use her powers for good and when Harica arrives to help with the marriage arrangements, she fights back and sends Harica into a coma.
It is through this comatose state that Harica discovers a mysterious liminal space populated by others who share her gift. In this new realm, she learns to do things she never believed possible, but soon things spiral out of control.
In the face of a terrifying and seemingly unstoppable adversary, Harica wrestles with the decision to come to terms with the dark side of her gift.
Will she take ownership of it or turn her back on it forever?
Read an Excerpt
I couldn’t say that everything went black. Or that everything went white. Those are both colours, and therefore they’re something. This was a total mass of absence, an aching emptiness, a void so all-consuming I couldn’t even register my own existence. I couldn’t tell where I ended and the void began.
I don’t know how long I was there for, either. Not even time can escape a black hole.
Eventually, somehow, I became aware of myself again. Two arms, two legs, a head. I had a body, and I was bizarrely grateful for it. I wasn’t in the void anymore, or at least not in such a bleak, hopeless version of it. But neither was I in the conference room, or whatever it was, or my room upstairs, or even my room back home. This new space was all white, with no discernible floor or ceiling or walls. But there were voices. I wasn’t alone. When I tried to turn towards them, however, they receded. I saw no one, and I couldn’t pick out anything they said.
I stayed very still in the hope they would come to me. Maybe they could help me get out of here.
“. . . only here for a short time, I think. We’ll see how we can help her.” A woman’s voice. It seemed to be getting closer again. I held my breath, although I wasn’t sure whether I actually needed breath in this place, whether my bodily functions were just a reassuring approximation based on memory, whether I was alive or dead.
About the Author:
Nick Wilford is originally from Brighton, England and now lives in a quiet town in Scotland with his wife, three daughters and six rescue dogs. Wanting to make a career from writing, he trained in journalism, but soon realized that the fictional realm was where his true passion lay. He enjoys writing speculative fiction, exploring the things that cannot be seen and “making the impossible reality.” Nick is the author of the Black & White YA dystopian series and has also published a collection of shorter fiction as well as curating, editing and publishing a fundraising anthology featuring a diverse array of talent. By day, he works as a freelance editor, and he also enjoys travelling to inspiring locations with his family, listening to music and helping unwanted dogs find loving homes.
Q&A With the Author
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
The idea came together during the early part of lockdown, just that idea of being trapped together and not being able to easily leave and get some space if tensions brew. Even if the people you’re with are your nearest and dearest, it can be a fraught situation. Then I had the notion of what if someone had the power to go into others’ minds and defuse the conflict between them, so then afterwards they couldn’t even remember why they had been arguing? As soon as I had that idea, the character of Harica, the girl who possesses this power, pretty much turned up fully formed and said that I should tell her story.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I definitely enjoyed the interplay between Harica and her nemesis, Princess Jasmila, the most. Jasmila shares a similar power but doesn’t use it for good. She enjoys heightening the tension and causing chaos, so there is a real battle of wills between the two, and it’s that undercurrent of confrontation that really powers the story along. It’s quite cosmic, especially when we get into interdimensional planes!
Do you have any other books you are working on that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on a story about an AI-controlled VR theme park based around a teen drama that’s a bit like Dawson’s Creek. A superfan of the show who posts about it tirelessly on social media is gifted a ticket to the experience as a reward for her efforts, but things go wrong – as they tend to do in my work – when she becomes trapped and must try to escape. I’m still working out all the details, but I’m fascinated by whether AI can truly take on a life of its own and commit harmful acts, or must the blame always be aimed at those who created it? There’s definitely a Frankenstein’s monster vibe to the whole thing.
Can you tell us about what you have planned for the future?
Well, apart from what I’m working on now that I’ve just mentioned, I have another book completed that I hope will be published in the next couple of years. This is about a future society where people can transition fully to another gender by having their chromosomes altered, so it’s a “one-hit” procedure. However, the system is being abused by certain people who are using the former DNA of those who have transitioned to create clones – clones of people who no longer exist, and using them for nefarious purposes. There’s a lot of ethical questions in this one, I suppose I’m interested in exploring those areas.
Anything more you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for reading, and I hope you get a chance to check out other stops on my tour. If you’ve read The Becalmer, I would so love it if you could leave a review – it only needs to be a couple of lines, saying something you liked, but it’s one of the most valuable ways to support an author.
Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/c9f1r2
Nick Wilford will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway