Title: Deathcat Sally
Author: P.S. Brooks
Publisher: Vanguard Press
Release date: 21st January 2016
My name is Patrick S. Brooks and I am a children’s illustrator represented by www.advocate-art.com. I’d like to give some information about my upcoming YA novel ‘Deathcat Sally.'
I wrote the book due to a nerve injury in my neck which left me unable to illustrate for several years as it affected my right hand. The story was inspired by a lucid dream I had while I was volunteering at the local RSPCA looking after a large group of cats. During writing the novel, my father died from lung cancer, my grandmother died from septicaemia and my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Much of the book was cathartic and a reflection upon events at the time. For some further information about the story behind the book and why I wrote it, please visit my website www.psbrooks.com/novels.
After seventeen-year-old Sally Rancher knocks over a cat named Zachary, it's only the start of her nightmare. Trying to help, Sally is hit by a truck. Waking from a coma, she sees that half of Zachary's spirit is fused to her shoulder and he can talk. Able to communicate with animals, Sally finds when she falls asleep or becomes unconscious, both Zachary and her are pulled into No Man's Land – a dark, spine-chilling realm filled with vengeful animal spirits. As No Man's Land becomes ever more twisted and terrifying, Sally and Zachary become pivotal in solving a mystery that concerns not only them, but all life on the planet. If only Zachary could keep his mouth shut for more than five seconds, they might have some chance. Who… or what… is responsible?
Here is an excerpt of when Sally and Zachary meet The Neighbourhood Watch – a group of helpful animals who enter her house:
Sally thought she’d heard from the entire group, and it wasn’t until she moved her feet and brushed her toes against something furry that she looked down and remembered the Lion Head rabbit resting on the carpet.
‘Watch it!’ the young female creature called out. ‘I’m drowning in my angst here.’
‘Oh my gosh!’ Sally moved back. ‘I forgot you were there!’
‘Might as well be invisible,’ the rabbit moped. ‘I’m always the least important in these meetings.’
‘Now, Twinkle,’ Amber tactfully began, ‘you promised you were going to stop being moody if we brought you tonight.’
‘I’m not moody!’ Twinkle responded, agitated. ‘I’m misunderstood.’
The rabbit looked up to Sally. ‘They never listen to me – I’ve got issues and they never take me seriously.’
‘Is that so?’ Sally tried not to smile and spoke understandably, as though she was talking to a sulking child. ‘What kind of issues?’
‘Oh, lord,’ Sherlock begged, ‘don’t get her started. We’ll never hear the end of it.’
Twinkle licked Sally’s hand, glad that someone was taking notice of her for once.
Flossy, who’d been asleep for the last nine minutes, looked down at what was going on without her knowledge or consent and became furious.
‘She’s my owner, fuzz-neck!’
‘Isn’t it past your bedtime, brat?’ Twinkle cried out.
Lowering his head, Zachary put both paws over his ears as a high-pitched girlish argument broke out between the depressed rabbit and the hyperactive guinea pig.
‘My ears!’ he called in agony. ‘Now there’re two of ’em! Make it stop, for the love of all things holy!’
Sally picked up Twinkle in one hand and put her right next to Flossy. ‘Look, I can keep you both on my knee if you get along, okay?’
The two creatures eyed up one another in a moment of jealousy, then saw Sally’s serious expression and nodded.
‘Well,’ said Snowy, ‘think that’s everyone introduced then.’
The blackbird hopped onto the top of Sally’s head. She looked up as he spoke.
‘Me you already met. I knew you was in some kinda screwed up trouble, so I put in a good word to the fellas and broads in my considerable social network, to see what we could do for youse.’
Sally lay back as Crowther perched on the settee.
‘Look, everyone, honestly I’m really glad you went to all the trouble to get here and introduce yourselves, but I… I don’t know if this is something you can help us with.’
She didn’t even know where to begin, but started to talk regardless.
‘Every time I fall asleep – even when I’m not tired… we find ourselves in a deserted city called No Man’s Land, full of crazy animal ghosts who want to tear me to pieces.’
Sally traced back to the incomplete message in the building.
‘I think No Man’s Land could be a realm for lost spirits. There’s something else there too. It’s not an animal – but it’s not human either.’ She saw their worry. ‘Don’t think my body and mind can take much more.’
Snowy changed stance, looking like he was in deep thought, perhaps trying to solve a riddle.
‘We need to get to the source of all of this,’ he said. ‘What exactly led to Zachary appearing on your shoulder and how long ago was it?’