Brilliant scientific researcher Tilda Moss wakes up in the hospital unable to speak or move and with no recollection of what happened to her. Determined to find answers and prove she is not in a persistent vegetative state, she travels back through her fractured memories looking for clues. Could someone really have tried to kill her? An indulged younger brother, an obsessive flatmate, jealous colleagues and a missing lover. Everyone has a motive. On the edge of death, and questioning the value of her life, Tilda’s only hope is to unlock the key of all unknown.
My Q&A with K A Hitchins
What inspired you to write your novel?
I’ve often tried to imagine what it would be like if I were suddenly faced with a life-threatening condition. I’d seen my own father die from cancer a few years previously and wondered whether he’d been able to hear me and my mother and sister in those last days of unconsciousness. He believed he was going to a better place and had been brave to the last, but I wished I’d known what thoughts were going through his mind, if any, as he faced that greatest of unknowns. This was the initial inspiration for my second novel.
When I was about halfway through the first draft, I woke up one morning with a rash of non-blanching spots, some unexplained bruises and blood blisters in my mouth. My GP sent me immediately to the hospital. After tests, a registrar from Haematology told me I had developed Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia, a condition where my immune system destroys the blood platelets and prevents the blood from clotting.
I was given medication and taken to the Critical Dependency Unit to be observed overnight in case I was bleeding internally. I was told I probably wouldn’t sleep because of the drugs I’d been given. I lay in the dark listening to the sounds of the hospital, and the cries of the elderly lady opposite who kept asking where she was and if anyone was there.
By the next morning, the ulcers in my mouth had stopped bleeding. My blood pressure was stable and I was sent home with high dosage steroids to switch off my faulty immune system. During the days that followed, I spent most of my time in bed. However, the medication-induced insomnia was chronic and I was surviving on a couple of hours of sleep a night at most. I decided to continue writing, tapping away on my laptop during the night while the family was asleep. Having just experienced my own life-threatening moment and spell in hospital, ideas poured out of me. Within a week I’d completed 30,000 words and finished the first draft.
Thankfully I’m in remission now. There’s a one in three chance that the problem could return in future. Like all of us, I walk that narrow path between life and death, but now I have a better understanding of how I might react at the end.
What time of day do you like to write?
Any time will do. If I could, I’d write all the time. The difficulty is fitting it round a busy family life and other commitments. I think about what I’m going to write while walking the dog first thing in the morning. Once back home I’m constantly weighing up what’s more important – cleaning the bathroom or ironing for instance, or writing. I have no particular writing routine, which I know is bad. I’m often scribbling away while sitting in the car waiting to pick up the kids.
What is your favourite book and why?
I love the Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood. The novel embeds several stories within the story, going back through the past and peeling back layers of family history. It’s a bit like those Russian Dolls. Not until you get to the very end do you understand who the blind assassin is.
How did you pick the title of your book?
It’s the title of a very old hymn which I first heard at the funeral of a 98-year-old friend. I thought it would make a lovely title and it perfectly fitted with the theme of my book.
1. God holds the key of all unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if He trusted it to me,
I might be sad, I might be sad.
2. What if tomorrow’s cares were here
Without its rest!
I’d rather He unlocked the day;
And, as the hours swing open, say,
My will is best, My will is best.
3. The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure;
For, groping in my misty way,
I feel His hand; I hear Him say,
My help is sure, My help is sure.
4. I cannot read His future plans;
But this I know;
I have the smiling of His face,
And all the refuge of His grace,
While here below, while here below.
5. Enough! this covers all my wants,
And so I rest!
For what I cannot, He can see,
And in His care I saved shall be,
Forever blest, forever blest.
Source: The Cyber Hymnal #1947
You can hear the Hymn music here ~ Click
Are the characters in your book based on real people?
No, though I have drawn on some real life experiences as I mentioned previously.
Do you plan your story beforehand or go with the flow?
I plan my opening chapter and my closing chapter very carefully so I know where I’m headed. Often the twists and turns in the middle surprise me as I’m writing them.
Who is your favourite Author?
There are too many to mention. I read most genres, and enjoy both literary and commercial fiction. It depends on my mood at the time.
If you could give any literary villain a happy ending who would you chose?
Count Dracula. There have been lots of spin offs of the vampire genre in the past few years, but you can’t beat Vlad the Impaler for macho charisma and terror.
Are you working on a new project?
Yes. I’ve nearly finished my third novel but the storyline is under wraps at the moment.
Thank you so much to K A Hitchins for such an honest and beautiful Q&A, please come back soon with the next project. ~K~
Giveaway ~ Dedicated Signed Copy
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