Book: Deathcat Sally
Author: P.S. Brooks
Publisher: Pegasus Elliot Mackenzie
Page Count: 387 (Paperback)
Synopsis: 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?
GUEST AUTHOR POST
My name is Patrick S. Brooks and I am a children’s illustrator. I’d like to give some background information about my YA novel ‘Deathcat Sally’:
I’ve been drawing since I was a child and studied Art to degree level. In September 2010, I suffered from a nerve injury in my neck which affected my right shoulder, arm and hand. Unable to use my left hand effectively, I could not illustrate. I was prescribed different medications, saw physiotherapists and chiropractors, but remained in agony. I spent time volunteering at the local RSPCA looking after cats for some distraction. On 7th January 2011, I had a particularly lucid dream of a female teacher who knocked over a cat, suffered serious injuries in her upper body after a road accident, and then found that the cat’s talking spirit was fused to her shoulder.
Inspired by the vivid and unusual dream, I started writing and the characters of Sally and Zachary gradually took shape. The moment I began typing Zachary’s dialogue, it almost seemed to write itself. Scenes of their first speaking encounters played through my mind and I found myself enjoying the clash of personalities. I explored the reasons why they were bound together and why they kept being pulled into ‘No Man’s Land’ – a realm of lost animal spirits. The cast of characters grew and eventually (through numerous writers’ groups, proofreaders and editors) the 89,000 word manuscript was finalised in 2015.
The book deals with mental health issues and also insomnia. Some of the book is allegorical – when my nerve injury did not heal and I was left with the prospect of not being able to illustrate again, I had to re-evaluate everything: my beliefs, my life goals and how I was going to adjust. Family loss and the concept of an afterlife is also a theme. While writing this novel, my father died from lung cancer, my grandmother died from septicaemia, and my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Through the most difficult times, I focused on completing this book and much of it was cathartic. Other themes include animal welfare and conservation – both of which are very important to me.
I hope that a broad spectrum of readers will enjoy the book – from young adults upwards. I particularly liked horror films and novels as an older child, but parts of the story could be too dark/intense for readers under 12. As some of the themes are animal welfare and conservation, I would like to think it could raise awareness in young people of these issues. My intent was never to write a lecture or have a forceful agenda, but try to allow readers to see the world from the viewpoint of other creatures, and have them form their own conclusions. It could be a while before I make any kind of personal profit from book royalties, but if I do, I would like to donate to charities I feel strongly about. Initially I have become a sponsor for Cats Protection and would primarily like to continue to support them and raise awareness of their work to others.
It’s taken several years of physiotherapy, chiropractors, the correct combination of neuropathic medications and painkillers to allow me to be able to illustrate again. Despite everything that has happened and is still occurring, I am happy with how the book has turned out. I remain as creative and positive as I can, and most of my children’s illustrations focus on light and the wonder of life around us. Whatever opinion you form about my novel, I hope you will at least understand why I wrote it and what my intentions were. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I really hope you enjoy Deathcat Sally. It is a very personal story, which is in a way a warped snapshot of a tumultuous time in my life.
P.S. Brooks is an author and illustrator based in Yorkshire, England. Deathcat Sally is his debut novel - a young adult fantasy/horror. For more information about the themes and ideas of the book, please visit www.psbrooks.com.
Brooks enjoys writing both young adult and adult fantasy as well as science fiction, and is interested in exploring different genres. A graduate in Fine Art, he illustrates in a variety of styles and media, from children's to concept art. He has worked in video games and is inspired by film, spirituality, dreams and nature.