This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Becky will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Hi there, thanks so much for having me on the blog and for supporting The Day Of The Wave! I had such an interesting experience writing this, so it's great to finally share it with the world!
So here we go, five things you'd never guess about me. Hmmmmm. OK, well, here goes:
1) I haven't had a stable home since I was about 21. I'm now 35, but I've been travelling, living and working all over the world pretty much since I graduated university in England. I guess itchy feet, a severe case of wanderlust and a passion for writing just kept me moving. I lived in New York for a bit, where I started working for magazines, then I moved to London, then Dubai, where I wrote my first travel memoir following a stint at a glossy magazine (and dating a man I shouldn't have dated!) Then I moved to Sydney for a bit to work at a radio station, then Bali... and now I'm in Vancouver! I think I might stay put for a while now. I'm kind of tired!
2) I once worked as a jello shot waitress. I was 21, living in New York and trying to make some cash on the side. I worked a couple of shifts and made a fortune in tips, but in the end, it was a lot of hassle trying to transport a hundred jello shots a night across Manhattan, and all the leery businessmen got too much. I quit after that, but it was an interesting experience!
3) I have a tattoo of tiny footprints. It's on my lower back and sometimes I forget it's there! I had it done in New York, around the same time I worked as a jello shot waitress! I tell people it's a symbol of my passion for travelling... leaving footprints all over this beautiful world, but really I think I was a bit drunk when I had it done (ssssssh).
4) I'm obsessed with ghosts and the paranormal. I don't really know how this started but sometimes it's out of control! I listen to all the podcasts of ghost stories I can find, and I probably spend a couple of hours a week reading the latest ghost stories from around the world! Recently I went on a ghost walk around a cemetery in Vancouver with some professional ghost hunters. They had all the equipment and we picked up an EVP - a little girl's voice saying "hi!" It was awesome and terrifying at the same time!
5) I once dove with sea lions and sharks in the Galapagos. I love scuba diving but this was probably the most incredible experience of my life. I was writing a book at the time, a travel memoir about a year travelling South America. I got to do a lot of cool stuff while I was writing it and was lucky enough to be flown to the Galapagos to dive. It was as amazing as everyone says it is - I've never seen water like that anywhere else, and the animals had absolutely no fear of humans. Amazing! I highly recommend you visit!
Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.
Enjoy an excerpt:
'Isabella,' I said to the girl in braids behind the computer. She was frantic, tapping away a million miles an hour. A line of people were behind me. All of them were bedraggled and beside themselves, like the cast of a war movie. 'Isabella from England. Izzy. I left her on the beach. Can you look again?'
'We don't have any Isabella's yet, I'm sorry,' she said. I asked a hundred times about Toby, too, and Charlie and Van and Tee, but I always got the same answer.
They'd brought in experts from everywhere - Austria, the Netherlands, Australia, Germany, and all of them I realized quickly were carrying out the gruesome tasks it took to identify the dead. Most of it wasn't even happening behind closed doors. There weren't enough doors.
After a while, no one was bringing the injured in anymore. It was just more bodies and still none of them were Toby. Still none of them were Charlie or Izzy... at least, I didn't think they were. There were panels of photos of the bodies as they were brought in, on the walls. But they were all so horribly deformed. You can't even imagine what water does. People go black, their eyes bulge out of their sockets. The only way to recognize somebody at first is by their jewelry.
They were fingerprinting the corpses, I discovered. They gave them full dental examinations and took X-rays, then they sent the DNA samples away for analysis. It was when I learned they were matching them to a missing-person's list in Phuket that I begged to be taken there, to the International Hospital. I knew more bodies were there. Maybe I'd find Toby there.
I found my mom instead. She'd just flown in and been allowed a transfer. 'My baby,' she cried when she found me, pulling me against her and sobbing. I was sixteen but her words hit hard. I felt like a baby; a useless, helpless, broken baby. Glenn stood solid like a tree behind her. He hugged me too. It was the first and last time he ever did.
We moved to a hotel, where we stayed for two weeks and I made it my job to look out for Sonthi. He was going through the same thing, only he was still searching for twenty people he loved. We played guitar at night. We knew the same Beatles song so we sang together outside, taught ourselves the harmonies to take our minds off all the tragedies. Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, Now it looks as though they're here to stay, Oh I believe in yesterday.
Even though Sonthi didn't know the meaning of the words, I think they helped us both somehow. The yesterdays we missed were haunting everyone but at least we escaped with our lives.
I went with mom to the councilor, too, but she cried all the way through, and she cried so much at the hotel that I didn't sleep for days. I was a shell. I had no tears left. 'They're gone, they're never coming back,' mom yowled.
'We don't know that!' I yelled at her, but she yowled even more into the walls and the floor and the pillow, while a thousand other people doing the same made even the hotel feel like a funeral parlor.
We got told that DNA breaks down once bodies decompose. The longer we had to wait, the less chance we had of identifying anyone. Eventually I had to say goodbye to Sonthi and everyone at the hospital I'd gotten to know. Our flight was booked; my brother and uncle and Izzy were officially missing, assumed dead. My mom was a pale-faced Martian I didn't know anymore and she hadn't really spoken to me in days. 'Toby, my baby, Toby!,' she wailed into Glenn's expensive shirt as he helped her outside and into the taxi.
I was just about to leave for the airport when the girl in braids came to grab me. 'Ben,' she said, leaning down, putting a hand to my shoulder. I could tell by her face she had bad news. 'We found Isabella, from the UK,' she said as the tears careened down her face. 'There's only one on the list. I'm so sorry.'
It was raining when I got outside. It was a real tropical downfall; the kind of rain that lashes and hurts. I turned my face up to it and let it hit me as the wind howled. I wanted to feel the physical crash of everything that had been breaking my heart. The only thing I felt was how it wasn't rain at all. It felt like my brother and Izzy and Charlie and two hundred thousand other souls were crying.
About the Author:
Becky blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter: @bex_wicks (especially if you have cat photos)
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