Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Word Count: 66,000
Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs
Recently released from a mental institution, Beth Gregory accepts a job as a live-in secretary/PA to the reclusive painter Josh Warrington. Beth's long red hair fascinates him from the first moment he sees her and Josh wants her to be his Rapunzel for a series of fairy tale paintings he's working on.
Beth has two major fears: that she will be sent back to the mental hospital and the visions which landed her there in the first place will return. They do; this time giving her glimpses of murders before they happen. Beth becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation and then she has the most disturbing vision of all: she will become the next victim...
He wished he'd thought of the water sooner. It was easier that way, not so much mess. It was peaceful too, watching her hair fan out behind her like a veil of gold. She didn't struggle after his hands were around her neck, and he was grateful. It showed him that she accepted her fate dutifully, like she should. She should never have made him wait so long.
Now he was waiting again, but he didn't mind. He was used to waiting now. Waiting could almost have been his middle name. Actually, it was Alphonse, but anyone who knew that was already dead, and so it didn't matter anymore.
It was a while since he had hunted like this, anticipated the inevitable. Usually he preferred the quick kill, where they didn't know he was coming until they started screaming. He liked to hear them scream. Made it all seem that bit much more worthwhile.
But there was something different about this one; something that made him want to wait, to delay the final moment, to make it last. He wanted to frighten her long before the end, when she would beg him to kill her. He couldn't quite tell what it was; there was just an air of something other about her. She wasn't like the other girls, and he grinned broadly. Of course she wasn't. She was special. But then, they were all special. They were his.
Maybe it was the hair which attracted him. It was long, tumbling in red-gold waves down her back, almost to her waist. It reminded him of golden syrup. He loved golden syrup, loved to eat it straight out of the tin with his fingers. No mother to nag him about that. Not anymore. Fingers were fine, but sometimes he preferred bread, white bread, none of that wholemeal nonsense. He could almost taste it on his tongue, could almost taste her and he had to stifle a gasp at the image. No point in attracting undue attention to himself.
He glanced at the folder on the passenger seat, her name stark black against the buff-coloured folder. It had almost been too easy to get hold of her file, but no one knew what he wanted it for and he wasn't about to tell them, either. He lifted it up and traced her name with a gloved finger, feeling almost as if he was caressing her already. This one would be so easy to break; she'd already been in a mental hospital once. He had to be careful; if she was sent back he couldn't get to her, not there with their high walls and staff on alert all the time. No, he just wanted to scare her for a while, but not inflict madness on her once more. He gasped as he saw her walking towards his parked car, her head down, her loose hair being buffeted by the spring wind.
Maybe it wasn't the hair; maybe it was the grey-green eyes which seemed to see right down to his soul. Would she recoil in terror at what she saw there, or would she welcome it like the others before her? They had all welcomed him in the end. Or maybe it was the way she dressed, so unlike her contemporaries in their short skirts and skimpy tops. Any time he'd seen her, she was always covered up in long dresses and baggy sweaters, as if she didn't want to show off any of her womanly curves. She had curves, the clothes could not disguise them, and he had long imagined his hands roving over her delicate skin.
He also knew that underneath all those layers, there was a wanton harlot waiting for him to let her out, just like all the others. How they loved to tease and torment him. This time he would be the tormentor.
But not yet. He would wait. He was getting good at waiting.
1) Where did you get the idea for the novel?
This novel was inspired first of all by a painting, La Belle Dame Sans Merci by Sir Frank Dicksee. We saw it in a gallery in London and bought a print of it in the gift shop. It hangs in our bedroom and I saw that picture every night and every morning and I was in awe. I can’t draw to save my life and I am in awe of those who can. So I started thinking about painting and how you would make a living with painting and artworks. So even though I couldn’t paint myself, I could write about someone who could and the character of Josh started forming in my head.
I still couldn’t see if he would be able to make a good living out of it, so he was independently wealthy. Now, I had the artist, I needed his Muse, and that was Beth, who had long red hair like the Queen of Faerie in the painting. Josh paints nothing but fairy tales, so he wanted Beth for his Rapunzel, even though she was only supposed to be his secretary or personal assistant.
I also love gothic romances, especially ones written by Victoria Holt. There is always a mansion or stately home of some sort, along with a mysterious or aloof owner and secrets to be discovered. So I tried to write something a bit gothic, but with a modern feel to it as well.
2) Your title. Who came up with it? Did you ever change your title?
There is a killer on the loose who was drowning long-haired women, so calling it Drowning Rapunzel was very apt. I never chanted the title. It was that title from the start.
3) Which came first, the title or the novel?
I had the title and the idea for the story around the same time.
4) Since becoming a writer, what’s the most exciting thing to ever happen to you?
Seeing that very first contract landing in my email inbox. I felt a bit light-headed and faint that someone wanted to publish my work. I still get that same fluttery feeling every time.
5) What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
I’m currently reading The Thousand by Kevin Guilfoyle.
6) What was your first book that you ever wrote (very first one you wrote, not published)?
I wrote it when I was fourteen and it’s never seen the light of day. It was a novel based on the Robin Hood legend, but from Maid Marion’s point of view. I think there have been a few written and published of that ilk by better Historical writers than me, LOL!
7) What is your writing process?
I usually have a vague outline in my head, but I tend to just sit down to write and see what happens. My characters surprise me all the time and I think that keeps your writing a bit fresh. I had a detailed outline for Drowning Rapunzel, even down to who the baddie was, but when it came to the showdown, it wasn’t him, it was someone else! It worked well that way so I left it in and didn’t stick to the plan.
8) Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Oh, I have quite a few. I love Lynn Flewelling and Carol Berg for fantasy, Sarah Rayne and S. J. Bolton for psychological thrillers and you can’t really beat Stephen King for horror. For romance and historical I love Elizabeth Chadwick and Philippa Gregory. And I adore the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling.
9) At a book signing, do you just sign your name or do you write a note? How do you come up with stuff to say?
I’ve never had a book signing. I’ve signed a few books for my immediate family, but that’s about it.
10) What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
That I met my husband through a lonely hearts ad, long before Internet Dating this was. We’ll be married twenty-two years this year and we still get asked when we’re on holiday if we’re on honeymoon, LOL!
11) How do you react to a bad review?
I usually feel a bit upset and might cry first of all, then I just forget about it and continue writing the sort of stories I want to write, no matter what other people might think of them. You’re never going to be able to please everybody anyway, so you may as well write what you like, not what the market dictates.
12) How did you celebrate the sale of your first book?
Like I do with them all, my husband and I go out to dinner to celebrate.
About the Author:
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time. When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport., even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games and watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It's diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.