The Other Side (Guest Post by Starr Gardinier)
The Other Side
by Starr Gardinier
September 30, 2015I wanted to write a book centered around one troubled protagonist, but not a normal layout, so to speak. The idea came to me that the protagonist should tell her story to the reader through a psychiatrist. Melinda James, the protagonist in “The Other Side: Melinda’s Story,” does just that, but the story doesn’t stop with her doctor. Peripheral and parallel events occur to and around Melinda. Her past harrowing experiences affect her current situation. The location’s setting was inspired by my numerous trips to the areas of Idyllwild, Beaumont and Banning, particularly Idyllwild. I would go there for extended periods of time by myself, rent a cabin and write. I wrote this book there and much of “The Other Side: Trent’s Story” (due out soon) as well. The area I stayed in created the eerie feelings I needed to create the paranormal in the novels.
I feel spending time at the location that is the the center of a novel is not only inspirational but a requirement for authors. It’s how I was able to create the realism of the area and what it offered. That realism makes the paranormal believable in the book. When an author can stand in a given location, completely ‘see’ his or her surroundings, he/she is more apt to accurately portray it in the works they are penning. It is something I not only enjoy but feel it as a necessary action as research.
A paralegal by day, she’s an author by night. Apart from being an award winning author for her short story “Cut,” Starr has appeared in a blaze and made her mark on the literary world with her Ivanovich series and now her Other Side series.
Having studied and obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Literature/Creative Writing, she has found her unique style and is known for her works’ distinctive voice, making every character stand out.
She’s the founder and owner of Editing by Starr. She’s also the former executive editor for Suspense Magazine. She has been interviewed in the newspaper and on the radio with relation to her fiction work. She has been a co-host on Suspense Radio.
Starr is a member of International Thriller Writers (ITW) and of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter and nationally. She has won three Best Speaker awards as well as Best Evaluator at the Voice Ambassadors chapter of Toastmasters. She has always been active in events. As co-chair and main coordinator for the West Coast Author Premiere, she arranged weekend-long events to help authors from all over network, learn and share their work with the public. Starr has also been instrumental in compiling authors and planning a local author event at Barnes & Noble in Ventura, California along with the store’s event manager.
Melinda’s family is dead, killed for information that is hidden deep within her mind. Her father tries to warn her from the ‘Other Side’ that she is in danger from the killers who want what only she can give them. Committed to Skyview Haven, she must determine if the ‘Other Side’ truly exists or if it is a trick of her heart and mind. With time running out Melinda must determine who she can trust. Is it the ghosts of her family, a boy who may not be who he appears to be, or the doctor who is determined to cure her? Can she figure out the truth before it is too late?
ExcerptYour mother said you were in shock. I can see you still are,” Dad said as he steered me to a chair.
I sat down, well I sort of fell into the chair. My legs were wobbly. Anxiety? I think it was shock like
“Beth’s accident was unexpected. Drowning in the Mosamic River…” Dad was saying.
He trailed off. I felt as though I’d awakened in someone else’s family. It was Dad that drowned in that river, not Beth. Maybe I was dreaming or having a horrible nightmare, deep in sleep where nothing made sense. I shook my head as though to get rid of the cobwebs. I tried to tell myself to wake up. I even screamed inside my head, “Wake up, Melinda!” Still I sat in the kitchen looking at my family. Or were these people really my family?
I looked at my father and asked, “What are you talking about? I spoke to Beth this morning.”
My mom sat down in the chair next to me and took my hand. “We’ll help you get through this, honey.”
I snatched my hand out of my mother’s and looked at her. She must be an alien or something. She wasn’t my mother. And Dad…well, I couldn’t deal with any of it anymore. I ran from the room, my head full of thoughts. I tried the nightmare route and that didn’t work, so something must be seriously wrong with me.
Do I have some weird medical problem that was making me see and hear things? Either that or I was living in someone else’s world.