About the author:
Vanessa lives out on Long Island with her evil cats; Lama and Sombrero, and her more evil partner, Erin. Vanessa is a former chef and lawyer who now writes science fiction and romance while teaching English Composition. She has published 2 collections of poetry with The March Street Press. Her work has recently been in Silver Blade, Veil, Aphelion, The New Renaissance, Contemporary American Voices, and A Generation Defining Itself anthology. Vanessa edits the Abramelin Poetry Journal. She has been nominated 3 times for the Pushcart Prize. Vanessa enjoys watching cheesy movies, cooking, gardening, and Star Trek!
What inspired you to write your book?
This one was inspired by a number of paranormal adventure stories like the davinci code and the indiana jones stories.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Alice peered over the huge stack of papers on her desk. It was fast becoming a mountain whose outermost edge was threatening to become an avalanche and slide off onto the floor. She was a paralegal at the center city firm of Knox and West. The job was decent enough, she supposed, but it was hardly any little girl’s dream to grow up and become a paralegal. She sighed as another one of the new associates slipped in and piled another set of papers onto her stack. A few more and it really might slip off.
Alice leaned back in her chair and looked at the clock on her computer. She watched as the numbers switched to 4:30. There were just thirty minutes to go! She opened up her email and two of them jumped out at her right away. One was from the senior partner, Mister Knox, and the other was from the dating service she had foolishly signed up for called Connections.com. She joined the site in a weak moment earlier in the month after overhearing one of the legal assistants raving about it in the lunch room.
She had been sending emails back and forth with one guy for the past two weeks. They seemed to have a great rapport, and she found that she was excited every morning to see a response from him in her inbox. This was a reply to the mail she had sent that morning. He called himself Elliot, which seemed an odd choice for a fake name, so she had to imagine that it was his actual name. She had called herself Emma. This made her more than a little nervous. If they actually met and he seemed nice she would tell him her real name the first chance she got. She opened up Elliot’s email first. It was short and right to the point. He wanted to meet her for dinner tonight! She was relieved to see that he had made everything very easy for her. He said that he would be at The Cafe Nola at seven and would be sitting at the far end of the bar. If she wanted to see him all she had to do was show up then and there. She even knew where this was, right on South Street. And if she didn’t want to go, well, she could just delete the mail and not show up. She liked the way he ended his mail, saying, “I look forward to sitting and talking with you for a while. You seem like a very kind person.” But she still hadn’t made up her mind.
When Alice opened the second email from Mr. Knox, she almost swore out loud to her empty little cubicle. He was asking, no demanding, that she finish up with the case research for the file he had given her just that morning before she left for the day. She checked the time on his message and saw that it was sent at 4:15. Now she did swear out loud, and in his general direction through the ceiling above her desk, though quietly enough that the words wouldn’t escape the confines of her cube. It was a task that would take anyone else in the department 5 or 6 hours. She looked at the clock again. She had only two hours and fifteen minutes before this Elliot guy would be sitting at the Cafe Nola bar. She dove through the stack of files in front of her, letting the top of the mountain slide right off of her desk, until she pulled the one from Knox off of the bottom of the pile. In another minute she was logged onto Westlaw with her fingers dancing like demons across the keyboard. She would be damned if old Knox was going to keep her here all night. She would make it to Cafe Nola by seven just to spite that dusty vulture.
By 6:00 Alice realized that there was no way that she would be able to go home and change, let alone take a shower and still make it by seven. The restaurant was only two subway stops south, but her own apartment was 4 stops the other way. No, she would have to go as is, and cringed at her gray office pants and blazer. Well, they would have to do since she was still slightly hopeful she could finish her work by seven. Her fingers were still flying as her eyes darted from document to document on her screen.
When she looked up again at 6:30 she was having serious doubts she would be finished in time. Her research was done but she had plenty of typing to do to complete the report. She paused to listen for a second. She could tell that all of the other cubicles were empty, though the lights were on in all of the offices she could see. The young lawyers would all be here until seven or eight. It was an endless contest to see who could stay later to impress the partners. Alice was surprised that none of them had come up with the idea of sleeping under their desks so they could be the last one here at night and the first to arrive in the morning. She pressed her nose to the screen once more and tuned everything else out.
At 6:45 she hit print, grabbed her bag, clicked her computer off, and speed walked to the printer. She snatched the papers from the tray and headed for the elevator. It was down in the lobby so she took the stairs at a run up to the next floor where the partners had their offices. Knox’s office was right there guarding the stairs. His secretary was gone for the day. His door was a big old wooden one so she couldn’t see if he was inside. She couldn’t risk knocking and having him question her about every detail, so she set the file in his in-box on the secretary’s desk and fled down the stairs all the way to the lobby.
It was already dark outside. She checked her watch and saw that it was 6:50. She continued her speed walking to the subway entrance at the end of the block. A group of kids came suddenly out of the apartment building in front of the subway. They were all dressed so strangely in costumes. She was sure that one of them was a pirate, and two others were ghosts… She almost broke out laughing right there on the street. They were dressed for trick or treating. It was Halloween tonight! She had forgotten about it entirely because their firm didn’t have any decorations or even any sort of party. They were that uptight. Thanks again, Mr. Knox, she said to herself as she headed down into the subway.
She lucked out and found the train waiting for her there and even got an empty seat. She quickly pulled out her mirror from her bag. She undid her long, wavy, brown hair and smoothed it out the best she could. There was no time to freshen up her makeup. The train was already whining and creaking its way down to the South Street station. It came to a stop at 6:56. She was the first out the door and practically flew up the steps into a very crowded and rowdy South Street Halloween. The sidewalk and the street itself were jam packed with people, many in costume, and many already drunk, carrying their giant glowing plastic cups of spirits. Usually these sorts of crowds would make her anxious, but tonight she actually enjoyed all of the lively people. It was a nice contrast to her past three hours alone in the cubicle.
Alice wove her way the best she could through the crowd until she saw the white Christmas lights of the classy little Cafe Nola restaurant and bar. She checked her watch as she reached for the door and saw that it was 6:59. She didn’t know and how many seconds, and she didn’t care. She very nearly raised her arms over her head in triumph as she went through the door.