The idea for Saving Face came out of an interesting conversation about books and titles during my son’s Jukido class and there is a reference to this in the acknowledgement section of the book. We were playing around with titles for my existing manuscript – Mirror Lake because I didn’t think the title had enough impact, and it didn’t quite measure up to the next two books in the series – Vengeance and Hunting Season.
Once we arrived at some interesting titles for me to noodle on, we moved onto a discussion relating to suspense and action movies. Like all great conversations, this evolved to a discussion about strong opening scenes in both books and motion pictures.
This is where things got interesting. One of the fathers said a book about a killer that collected faces would be an interesting read and laid out a challenge to me. He bet I couldn’t write an opening scene based on this premise before the end of class.
We had a half hour left and anyone who knows me knows I couldn’t turn down a challenge like that, especially with it being a kill scene. The conversation had really sparked my imagination, so my fingers flew on the keyboard. I wrote the scene with time to spare and handed him my computer.
Needless to say, he was impressed. The opening scene hasn’t changed much from that day and that conversation sparked the title of my next Steve Williams Novel – Saving Face.
I let that story line percolate for a few years, coming up with a much more complex plot than just a serial killer that stole faces. I took my time, letting the story line flush out in my head long before I added anything else beyond that kill scene. Of course, Saving Face has multiple meanings and I explored quite a few of them in the book.
And now that I explained how the first chapter of the book came about – here is what came out of that challenge:
“The trees swayed in the breeze, dry leaves rustled, and the stars disappeared behind a bank of clouds, drawing out the already dark shadows. Shadows he hid within, watching, waiting, frozen in place by his obsession, his bloodlust.
Testing the air with a sniff, he tried detecting a trace of her perfume but came away with only the distinct scent of fall. Crisp. Clean. Carnal.
His edgy hands begged for action and he clenched them, dropping his arms to his sides. Tilting his head, he caught a rhythmic pulse, like that of his heart, but accented with crunching leaves. She was coming and his hand shot to the worn handle of his hunting knife.
His fingers stroked the soft wood like a lover and he stared at the jogger-beaten path. The bounce of her headlamp filtered through the thick brush and he blew a slow stream of air through his lips, calming his pounding heart.
Patience, he told himself again. He didn’t want to give her enough time to react, to bolt in the opposite direction. Instead, he counted her steps, watching as the light approached, bouncing with each of her long-legged strides.
It wasn’t her lithe frame he was after. It was her face, her scalp. She had passed by him at the store, catching his fancy and fueling his desire. A fine specimen. An excellent addition to his collection; with fragile features stretched into a scream—forever captured in his art.
He crept closer to the path, crouching and ready to pounce the moment she crossed. The light drew closer and now he could smell the mixture of Poison and sweat, a sweet concoction that aroused his hunger and almost uncoiled his predatory posture. He inhaled deeply, relishing the scent. Her footfalls brought her close enough to make out her dark form behind the bright light.
He waited, and when the twig he placed in the middle of the path snapped, he sprang. In one leap, he caught her, wrapping his arms around her as he tackled. The yelp of surprise brought a smile to his face and he unsheathed the knife, plunging it into her chest before she could regain enough oxygen to produce a blood curdling scream.
Her eyes widened, blinking at him in the light of her fallen headlamp.
The thrill of the hunt, of the capture, fueled his blood; pumping it frantically through his veins, throbbing in his temple, producing little spots of red in the edges of his eyesight. Ripping flesh accompanied each of his thrusts, along with muffled cries of pain that gave way to an airy wheeze.
He grabbed her hair, pulling her head forward and slicing the base of her hairline with surgical precision. Sliding his fingers under the gaping wound, he peeled the scalp from the back to the front, separating her skin from the bone.
She did scream then, a high gurgling wail that died moments later, when his knife separated the mass of skin and hair and lips that he peeled from her bones, severing her carotid artery in the process. With the prize pelt in his hands, he stood, sheathing the knife and taking off toward the river.”
Thank you for having me on Bitten By Books today!
Until next time.
“As far as a bio is concerned, I am a writer, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a contest judge, a mother, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a business analyst, not necessarily in that order.
I first sat down to seriously write in February of 2007 after my daughter asked if I could do anything what would it be. From that moment on, I haven’t looked back.
My first book, Dark Reckoning was originally released on July 5, 2010 through FIDO Publishing, which also happened to be my birthday! Personally, I can’t think of a better birthday gift, can you? In addition to Dark Reckoning, I had another July release – this one on the erotic thriller side of the fence – SURVIVAL GAMES which came out on July 19, 2010 through eXcessica. Both of these titles along with several others in both series are now under my own label as of July 2011.
For the most part, my genre of choice is a toss up between thrillers and horror. My stories run the gambit from erotic to supernatural to urban fantasy and most of them have romantic undertones intertwined with my unique paranormal/supernatural slant manifesting in dark themes and twisted villans doling out a fair amount of violence. They are not for the faint of heart.
My heroes and heroines are three dimensional, real and infallible, making both good and bad choices and sometimes those questionable decisions come with a high price. I don’t believe in happily ever after but I do believe in survival of the fittest, so if you’re looking for a nice fluff novel, this isn’t the place to find it, but if you’re looking for a book that gets your blood pumping, welcome, and remember where you keep your nightlights!
In addition to writing, I also am a Senior Editor with Allegory (www.allegoryezine) an online venue for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror. In this capacity I get the pleasure of reading submissions from some very talented folks.
Unfortunately with Allegory, only 8 stories out of all the submissions make it to the final publication, so sorting through the pile and helping the editor make the final choices can be a bit like herding cats. The decisions are not always easy but Ty Drago does a great job of balancing the issue with a little of everything. It truly is a labor of love on all of our parts¸ especially for the zero-dollar paycheck, but the payoff in telling someone they’ve made it to the next level or they made the final cut is so worth it.
So that’s a little glimpse into my crazy life.”
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Learn more about J.E. Taylor below:
To read reviews of this author’s work go here.
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