Beyond the Books First Page Feature & Interview
The First Page is one of Beyond the Book’s newest features. Here we get a glimpse into an author’s work and what better place to begin than the first page? Authors share their first pages and answer a few questions about why they started their books off the way they did. Today we welcome MC Domovitch, author of Scar Tissue.
When successful model Ciara Cain wakes up in hospital, remembering nothing of the weeks she has been missing, her only clues are the ugly words carved into her skin. According to the police she was a victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. For her protection the police and her doctors give a press conference, announcing that because her amnesia is organically caused, her memory loss is permanent. But, whether her memory returns or not is anybody’s guess.
Overnight, Ciara’s glamorous life is gone. Her scars have killed both her modelling career and her relationship with her rich boyfriend. With nothing to keep her in New York, she returns to her home town of Seattle, moves in with her sister and goes about building a new life. But when her sister lets it slip that Ciara’s memory is returning, the killer comes after her again. If Ciara is to stay alive, she must keep one step ahead of the Cutter.
For More Information
- Scar Tissue is available at Amazon.
- Pick up your copy at Barnes & Noble.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
The First Page:
I don’t want to die.
That single thought pounded through her mind as she hurtled through the woods. The blackness had dropped all at once, and now the trees were merely shadows against a dark night. The rain came down hard. Lightning cracked, sounding so much like a gunshot that she muffled a scream. But she had not been hit. She was still alive. She ran on.
Branches and bushes whipped at her, scratching her arms and legs. She tripped over an exposed root and crashed to the ground, but was back on her feet in an instant.
A brilliant flash of lightening was followed by thunder. Ka-boom. Everything that had been black a moment ago became white. Had she been spotted? No, surely not.
A crunching sound came from her right. She whipped her head toward it and picked up her pace. Her breathing was ragged, short puffs of steam in the frigid April air. It couldn’t have been more than fifty degrees. Sweat and rain mixed with the dirt and blood from her countless wounds and ran down her face and neck in rivulets. Thanks to the adrenaline pumping through her veins, she was numb to the cold and the pain, but she would feel it later—if she got out of here alive.
Please God, let me live.
But she’d had no real food for days, no water except the occasional sip. Her body couldn’t keep going much longer. She was close to collapsing.
Must. Keep. Going.
If she wanted to stay alive, she needed to put as much distance as possible between herself and her captor. She had no idea how long she’d been running or in which direction she was going. Had her kidnapper even noticed she’d escaped? Was that monster already on her trail, getting closer with every passing second? A horrendous thought came to her. She could be running in a circle, her every step bringing her closer to her jailer. A sob escaped her throat.
Dear God. Please. Please.
She squinted, trying to see through the inky night. There had to be a road, a house, something, and then she saw them. Some distance away there were lights, and her last vestiges of hope crashed.
Had a posse been formed? Were they closing in on her? In her panic, she tripped and came down hard, again. This time she thought she might have broken an arm. She was crying now. She’d come so close. But she would be caught. And she would die.
She looked up at the lights moving through the trees, and blinked. Could her imagination be playing tricks on her? She stared, and in moment of clarity she understood. Those weren’t flashlights. They were headlights. Headlights meant cars, and cars meant a road. Just ahead, maybe a few hundred yards farther, lay safety.
Welcome M.C. Can you tell us what your book is about?
Gladly. Scar Tissue, is the story of Ciara Kelly, the only surviving victim of the Cutter, a serial killer who has already murdered three women. As the title suggests, Ciara gets away, but not without wounds, both physical and psychological. But there is also a third wound, a tiny bit of scar tissue from a brain bleed she suffered during her escape, and which leaves her with an unusual ability. When the Cutter comes after her again, she must run for her life, and that strange ability comes in handy.
The first page is perhaps one of the most important pages in the whole book. It’s what draws the reader into the story. Why did you choose to begin your book this way?
Some writers might have started the story earlier, with the kidnapping. But since the story is one of survival, I started it with her escape. The harrowing part is that when Ciara wakes up in the hospital, she remembers nothing of her ordeal. She wouldn’t recognize the murderer if he stood in front of her.
In the course of writing your book, how many times would you say that first page changed and for what reasons?
In this case, the beginning remained the same from the first draft on. Oh, there was plenty of editing, but the scene itself was never changed. Not the case with the book I’m writing now. I’m only half way through and I must have changed it half a dozen times.
Was there ever a time after the book was published that you wished you had changed something on the first page?
Not really. The scene is so dramatic, so captivating. It grabs the reader right from the first page and that’s what I try to do with all my novels.
What advice can you give to aspiring authors to stress how important the first page is?
Start your book late in the story, and end it early. No long backstory. What you do is weave it throughout the book instead of plunking it down at the beginning. And make that first line a real grabber.
Thank you for having me on your blog. I enjoyed answering your questions.