In the hands of the best writers, an unexpected knock on the door is far more sinister than a knife. And in this strange year, it’s been unnerving to find that the scariest part of real life is that there are no knocks at all.
My door has remained closed to protect my family from the worst of the world—an invisible virus, treacherous authorities, and a burning climate. As a result, fictional knocks in classic noir and contemporary horror provided me with a strange and unexpected relief.
Two weeks before my first novel was released, I had plans. Big ones. I was set to host four book launches and had pre-written dozens of enthusiastic posts on social media. Late at night, I furtively typed my own name into search engines hoping that early reviews had miraculously appeared. I was so eager to be an actual author that I changed the name of my wireless network to the title of my book. Fourteen months had passed since I had signed my deal. I was ready for it to be real.
Then, six days before the publication date, my brother died.
Like most people, we have been isolated at home for months. On the weekends, my husband is here but for the most part, it’s me, my four-year-old son, my seven-year-old daughter and a tiny lizard.
About five weeks after our physical distancing began, I noticed the scales on our leopard gecko were growing dusty. It worried me. We inherited the creature from my brother who died at the end of 2018 and I have been dreading the moment when the lizard too will die. I know it will be difficult. So I watch it carefully.
My relationship with TikTok started as research about how a 16-year-old character in my next novel would spread information. I downloaded the app two days before the world went into lockdown.
I liked TikTok right away because a lot of TikTok is lip-synching. I went to elementary school in a small town in the 1980s. Airbands were a school wide past-time. We had regular competitions. In fourth grade, my twin sister and I placed third for our take on “Manic Monday” by The Bangles. This was a big deal.