Sunday, July 14, 2013

Saving Amy by Nicola Haken {Book Blast + Excerpt + Author Interview}

Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: June 26th 2013
Author: Nicola Haken
Series: Stand Alone

Eighteen year old Amy’s surname may be Hope, but her life contains anything but. She drinks, she sleeps around, she cuts… anything to help her escape the agonising existence growing up between her mother’s drunken wails and her father’s fists. But nothing works. There is no escape. And Amy wants out…Enter Richard Lewis – the doctor responsible for saving Amy’s life after her drink and drug-fuelled suicide attempt. Thanks to his own hidden demons, Richard is drawn to Amy and her situation, and despite the incessant warnings from both his own mind and his jealous ex-lover Joanna, he feels compelled to help her. But how will Amy feel when she discovers Richard’s attachment to her is born out of his own guilt? He was her last resort – her last chance at being saved. Can anybody save Amy, or has she finally reached the end of a very long, torturous road? (Not recommended for younger readers due to language, scenes of self-harm and sexual content) 


I hated this house. I hated the white walls, the arched russet door, the overgrown lawn… they all led inside. Animosity consumed me as I turned my key in the brass lock and my heart plummeted into the depths of my stomach when I saw my dad stood before me. He was dressed impeccably as usual - ever the professional in his grey, pinstripe suit with a crisp white shirt. His slick black hair was combed neatly to the side and his thick black moustache was groomed to perfection.

“And where the hell do you think you’ve been?” he yelled in my face. I shrugged my shoulders, unsure of the answer he wanted from me. “I’ve had some up herself teacher on the phone today, reading me the riot act about you skipping school. You think I need that while I’m at work?” I was stunned into silence. “Well DO YOU?” he roared, more force with each word.
His face was just inches from mine and the vile stench of Old Spice aftershave burned my nose, making my stomach churn. I shook my head at him. My mom appeared from the kitchen door across the hall. She didn’t intervene. She never did. She simply bowed her head, hiding her face with her greasy black hair while she listened to him yell at me.

“You fucking stink. Have you been smoking?” he shouted and I wanted to scream ‘and what if I have?’ but I couldn’t seem to summon the courage for fear of where this was heading. Instead, I nodded once.

“Yes, sir,” I muttered, fixing my eyes onto the marble floor. I was forbidden from addressing him as ‘Dad’. It took only a handful of slaps across the face to learn that. It was a power thing, I assumed.
And then it came… a harsh, smarting slap to the side of my cheek – swinging my head to the side and making me stumble. Enough! A brave voice buried deep in my subconscious bellowed and suddenly I refused to be afraid of him any longer. I breathed a defiant laugh.

“Is that all you’ve got?” I goaded him, feeling bold and rebellious. His blue eyes widened and for a moment he was paralysed with disbelief. Then I saw the veins in his neck begin to bulge under the pressure of blood rushing to his cheeks and I knew what was coming but for the first time I didn’t care.

I watched as his hand clenched into a fist and transformed into a blur as he rammed it into my side with excessive speed, thrusting me into the wall. I slid to the floor against it and watched vacantly as his fist retracted and flew back again, then again… but I couldn’t feel it. My eyes locked onto the bottom stair and I completely tuned out of my body. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t hear anything. I could see hazes of movement in the corner of my eye but my mind was firmly focused on the plum carpet hugging the stairs.
“Don’t ever talk to me like that again,” he said sternly, forcing his boot into my thigh and snapping me back into consciousness.

I stared after him, feeling physically sick with revulsion as he retreated to the magnolia living room. My mom was still stood in the doorway and her eyes met mine for a brief second. Part of me wanted her to rush to my side and hold me, but the rational part of me knew she was too selfish to bother. I was proved right when she turned away and headed back into the kitchen – to pour another glass of gin no doubt.
I used to love her… I think. Or at least I used to believe she loved me. I was only a young girl – five, six maybe – when she first witnessed me scream as my dad jabbed his fist into my ribs and yet she did nothing to stop him. Too young to know any better, children love their mothers instinctively and so I used to believe she was too afraid to help me. It was only as I grew older I began to see her for what she really was – a selfish drunk who blamed my entrance into the world for my dad turning into a violent monster.
I ran to the bathroom taking two stairs at a time and slammed the door closed behind me before bolting it and sliding to the floor against it. I hugged my knees and thoughts of razor blades slicing into my flesh overwhelmed my mind. I tried to ignore it, rocking back and forth, closing my eyes and fighting desperately against the urge, swearing I wouldn’t visit that dark place again.
But the craving was too intense.

I opened my eyes and found my hands picking apart the plastic casing on a razor from my vanity case and not remembering how I got there. Perching myself on the edge of the bath I rolled my pant leg up to the top of my thigh. A faint voice in the back of my mind was telling me to stop but I defied it, craving the relief I knew it would bring.

I glided the blade through the skin of my thigh slowly, meticulously. I needed to see it. I needed to physically see the excruciating pain I felt reverberating throughout my insides. Again, I tuned out of the pain as I focused on the rich, red blood spiralling down my pale leg. I sighed contentedly and repeated the process, trying desperately to carve away his touch. It was deeper this time and I felt an even greater sense of release. And pride. I felt fulfilled and I smiled inwardly at the knowledge that my dad couldn’t hurt me as much as I could hurt myself.

I noticed spots of blood dripping onto the white marble floor tiles which stunned me back into reality and I realised I needed to clean myself up. After cleaning the floor, wrapping the blade in tissue and flushing it down the toilet, I took a steaming shower – feeling similar relief as the hot water stung my thigh. Then I took myself to bed, applying pressure to my cuts with a hand-towel. The house was eerily silent but I savoured the still and drifted into a heavy sleep.

Author Interview:

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your books.

 I spend most of my time cleaning up after my four (sometimes) delightful children, my husband and the dog! I married my best friend when we were still seventeen year old babies and are coming up to our twelve year anniversary (I need a medal right?). When I’m not busy being the family slave I pretty much have either my Kindle or MacBook glued to my body somewhere. Reading and writing are such a huge part of my life – they always have been. I was one of those weirdos at school who LOVED getting a massive essay to work on! Some fun facts you might like to know are I have borderline unhealthy addictions to tattoos, Pepsi Max and mashed-potato!
 I have two novels under my belt so far, Inevitable and Saving Amy. Both deal with quite dark and difficult subjects such as abuse and self-harm with the central focus being on the character’s struggles as they battle to overcome the demons that have controlled their entire lives.

 2. Where did the idea for Saving Amy come from?

 I have so many stories floating around in my head I couldn’t possibly pinpoint where each one started. I’m not so much one for cute and fluffy stories and I think my writing reflects what I like to read. For me it’s all about the angst, the pain and most importantly, the eventual salvation. ‘Broken’ characters are my favourite kind – there is so much depth and emotion to work with. Amy is most definitely broken and I was right there with her as she fought to survive – as she learned to trust, love and let herself be loved. As with any story I’m working on there are parts of me within the characters. My own feelings and experiences mixed with my vivid imagination all play a part in where I get my ideas from.

 3. How did you get into writing?

 I have always wanted to write a novel but I think being an author is one of those things you assume will never really be taken seriously. But then over the years, the more books I read the more ideas popped into my head until it was just about ready to burst! So one day I thought I might as well give it a whirl, although I never truly believed anyone would actually read it. Naturally I began by trying to follow the traditional method of obtaining an agent and trying to bag myself a publisher. Possibly na├»vely, I was of the opinion that self-publishing was a cop out. As far as I knew, it was only for people who weren’t good enough to score themselves a deal the old-fashioned way, and who were willing to pour a load of money into it only to end up with boxes full of dusty old books sitting untouched in their garage! When the rejections started coming in I have to be honest I was more than a little disheartened and unsure in my abilities to write a great story. But still I continued to write because I enjoyed it and couldn’t let go of the hope that one day someone out there would want to read it.

 The real magic happened when I got my first Kindle. Suddenly I could read anywhere and everywhere and I was reading up to five new books a week. It was only when I looked into some of the authors whose work I loved so much I realized a lot of them either began by or still are self-publishing. That persuaded me to look into it in great detail and the more I discovered, the more I believed that was the way forward. So here I am! The rest is history!

 4. When writing a story what inspires you?

 I am inspired by anything and everything. I see and hear different things every single day that spark up ideas for a new character or even a whole new story! It could be something as small as the way I catch people looking at each other in the street, something my husband says to me, something I’ve read or a movie I’ve seen, or even the body language between a couple arguing in the supermarket! I would say my greatest inspirations however are other writers. Seeing how others develop their plots and characters fuels my imagination big time!

 5. Is there any book out there that you thought would have been better if you had written it?

 Well, I think I could’ve given Shakespeare a run for his money haha! But joking aside, no. I couldn’t ever say my writing was better than anyone else’s. Everyone has different styles and tastes and so even if I’ve read something I didn’t particularly enjoy, I don’t think for a second that means it’s no good. Now either I’m truly modest, or a good liar… you decide!

 6. A coconut, a lantern and a pair of socks are all you have to make a story work. What's the synopsis?

 Oh wow! You’re really testing me aren’t you? It feels like an exam!! Right, well let’s have a shot…

The only survivor of a tragic plane crash, Jess has been living alone and stranded on a serene, undiscovered island for the last five years. With her favourite pair of neon-pink socks being the only personal item left in her possession, she has learned to hunt, forage and make her own clothes and furnishings from whatever pieces of nature she could scavenge. She has made peace with the silence, become content with her own company and learned to live in harmony with nature.

One way or another that is all about to be ripped away from her. While taking cover under her makeshift tent one dark, unsettled night she is alarmed by the unexpected faint glow of a lantern emerging from the dense, leafy trees. Not knowing if she was about to be rescued or captured, she takes cover behind the cluster of rocks she calls her dining table with the only weapon she can find – a fallen coconut. As the light grows brighter, closing in on her, is Jess about to meet her savior… or the person who will end her forever?
 How about that? You so want to read it don’t you!
{Actually, yeah I kinda do now. DAMN!}

  7. Who are some of your favorite authors?

 I have so many favourite authors it would take me a week and a day to list them here! For the sake of not keeping you here forever I’m going to pick the ones where I have read every one of their books! In no particular order I’m going to go for Colleen Hoover, Abbi Glines, Jamie McGuire, EL James and Sylvia Day. These authors have turned me into a complete book slut and I LOVE every single one of my book boyfriends! There are literally tens of other authors I could add here however, but to keep it short I’ll just list my most recent read – Take This Regret by A.L. Jackson. I swear that book had me crying for days!

 8. If you could switch bodies with any celebrity, who would you choose and what would you do?

 I’d go for anyone young, slim and beautiful! But ideally I would switch with Kristen Stewart so I could snog the face off the seriously gorgeous Robert Pattinson all day!

 9. Are you currently working on anything else?

 I am currently writing my third novel which I expect to release in October. I’m still playing around with titles but for now I can tell you it follows the story of London university student Emily, and a sexy young man called Dexter from Ohio! It goes without saying there will be some twists, turns and plenty of drama and I plan on this being my first series. Though don’t worry, I won’t be leaving you with a dramatic cliffhanger so please don’t mob me in the street haha!

 10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

In five years I hope to have binned off my husband and be living on a hot beach somewhere with either a hot, tattooed bad boy, a rock star or a billionaire, sexy as hell businessman! (Hubby if you’re reading this, I’m just kidding. I love you!) Failing that I hope to have released a few more books that hopefully people will enjoy reading! It would be my absolute dream to make it onto a bestseller’s list but to be honest I find myself smiling to the point of having face-ache every single day that even one person has enjoyed my book! I would like to thank every single one of my readers – I love and appreciate you all so much!

About The Author:
I live in Rochdale, England with my wonderful family. I have two novels under my belt (Inevitable and Saving Amy) and am currently working on a new book to be released in the next few months. When I'm not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found looking after my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or studying towards my English Literature degree. All in all I'm just an ordinary mum with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys and Pepsi Max!


1 comment:

  1. Oh wow, that excerpt was intense. I've been hearing good things about this. Thanks for sharing!


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