Author: F.J.R. Titchenell, Matt Carter
Publisher: Jolly Fish Press, 328 Pages (September 23rd, 2014)
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Synopsis: Under ordinary circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other; he's an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal, and she's a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small town of Prospero, California, has no ordinary circumstances to offer. In order to uncover a plot set by the seemingly innocent but definitely shapeshifting monsters-that-look-like-friends-family-and-neighbors, the two stark opposites must both find ways to put aside their differences and learn to trust each other.
The following interview transcript is a confidential record of the Prospero Police Department under juvenile privacy law.
Sheriff Carlo Diaz: How are you today, Wilhelmina?
Wilhelmina Todd: It's Mina. You know it's Mina. You've worked with my mom for twelve years. Even she doesn't call me Wilhelmina.
Diaz: Okay, Mina, can you tell me about what happened at school today?
Todd: As a witness?
Diaz: Anything you could tell us would be helpful.
Todd: I'm asking if I'm suspected of something. I don't mind if you want to make this conversation inadmissible against me by not waiting for my parents, but-
Diaz: Your mother said something about being tired of being pulled out of work in the middle of the day over things like this and insisted on signing a waiver.
Todd: There’s no such thing.
Diaz: She insisted anyway.
Todd: I see. In other words, she asked you personally to try to scare me as much as possible until she feels like picking me up.
Diaz: Call it what you like. We just need to find out what happened.
Todd: And they call me a criminal.
Diaz: Anything at all you could tell us.
Todd: Well, I arrived in English twenty-two seconds before the tardy bell. Another minute and a half were spent bringing the class to order, after which Mr. James reminded us that we'd left off with page-
Diaz: Are you aware that approximately ten minutes into the drama club meeting, a stage light in the auditorium fell and struck the teacher?
Todd: It's a small school. Everyone is aware of that.
Diaz: And you're aware that the fixture appears to have been sabotaged?
Todd: No, I assumed you were questioning people about a clearcut accident for fun.
Diaz: Was that comment supposed to be sarcastic?
Todd: Did I do it wrong?
Diaz: No, but for your own sake you might want to be clearer for the written record. Can you tell me where you were at 3:30pm?
Diaz: Where were you?
Todd: I was walking home.
Diaz: Can anyone verify that?
Diaz: No one saw you on the way?
Todd: No one who would remember. Is it illegal not to maintain a social life?
Diaz: I'd heard a rumor you were finally making some headway on one.
Todd: Well, I wasn't today.
Diaz: You wouldn't be trying to protect someone for helping you? Mina? Mina, you could at least pay attention.
Todd: I am.
(Clerk's note: Diaz draws Todd's attention to the meticulous way she has been arranging the change from her pockets on the table. Todd folds her hands and looks directly forward instead.)
Diaz: Are you nervous about something?
Todd: No more than I am every day.
Diaz: What are you nervous about, Mina? Are you afraid of getting in trouble? Or are you worried that you've done something wrong?
(Todd shakes her head)
Diaz: I need you to speak up for the record.
Todd: I'm afraid of... what you should be afraid of. We should... all be afraid...
(After a few moments of silence, Diaz reaches across the table and mixes up the coins)
Diaz: Go nuts.
(Todd becomes noticeably more alert and responsive while rearranging the coins)
Todd: Why do you think I'd attack Mr. Smith?
Diaz: We're all trying to figure that out, Mina. I know your parents are. What do you think? What do you think makes you act out? What makes you want to hurt people?
Todd: I don't hurt people. Mr. Smith wasn’t hurt, was he?
Diaz: How would you know that, if you were already on your way home when it happened?
Todd: How do you know that the light actually struck him if there wasn't a mark on him afterward?
Diaz: Answer the question. How do you know Mr. Smith wasn’t hurt?
Todd: Because I know what he is.
Diaz: And what's that?
Todd: The same thing you know he is, Sheriff. The same thing you know I'm trying to stop, which is the only reason you'd assume I'm behind anything that happens to him. The kind of thing that can have a fifteen pound light fixture fall on it from twenty-one feet above and walk away without a scratch, in front of a roomful of witnesses who'll swear it made contact, who would swear that it caved in his head if they weren't afraid of sounding crazy, of sounding like me.
Diaz: Is that a confession? You were there, and you dropped the light on Mr. Smith's head to prove your delusion that he isn't human?
Todd: I can't confess to crushing his skull when his skull isn't crushed, can I? What good would that do you in court?
Diaz: But you were there, and you did drop the light.
Todd: You don't have to take their deal, Sheriff.
Diaz: Were you in the auditorium when the light fell?
Todd: Do you believe in it?
Diaz: Believe what?
Todd: To protect and serve. Protect and serve people, humans. Do you believe in it? Because if you do, if you're not just in it for your Council seat and extra paycheck, you can still do that. We're doing it. We could use you. Please.
(Diaz stands and gathers the coins, most of which Todd has balanced on their edges, into the bag of personal effects already containing Todd's purse and two unfinished lanyards.)
Diaz: Empty your pockets.
Todd: Don't you need-
Diaz: We have your mother's permission.
Todd: I'd... like to see... evidence of that.
Diaz: She's also given us permission to restrain you if necessary.
(With hesitation, Todd stands up and empties onto the table half a dozen pens, two lighters, a pair of pliers, a bottle of nail polish remover, a tangle of hairpins, and a pocket collection of brain teasers.)
Todd: It's in the bag.
Diaz: The other one.
Todd: Sheriff, please don't do this again.
(Todd turns her back, removes a phone from under her shirt, and adds it to the pile. Diaz transfers the pile to the bag.)
Diaz: We have time to try this a few more times before your mother gets here. Think hard. See if you can remember anything.
Todd: Please don't leave me in here with nothing to do again.
(Todd takes a step toward Diaz but makes no threatening moves. She turns toward the wall instead and begins tracing the cracks in it with her fingers with evident agitation.)
Todd: I had to try with you. I had to try.
Todd has made no further comments regarding this incident.
About the Author:
F.J.R. Titchenell is an author of Young Adult, Sci-Fi, and Horror fiction. She is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in San Gabriel, California with her husband, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
Along with Goodreads, you can also find her at www.facebook.com/FjrTitchenell and twitter.com/FJR_Titchenell.
To arrange an appearance, interview, or book signing with F.J.R. Titchenell, contact D. Kirk Cunningham, Head Publicist for Jolly Fish Press, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find F.J.R. Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
About the Author:
Matt Carter is an author of Horror, Sci-Fi, and yes even a little bit of Young Adult fiction. Along with his wife and frequent co-author, F.J.R. Titchenell, he is represented by Jennifer Mishler of Literary Counsel and lives in the usually sunny town of San Gabriel, CA.
His first book, The Prospero Chronicles: Splinters (the first of a five book series), will be released on September 23, 2014, through Jolly Fish Press.
Find Matt Online:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads
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