Christina Boys on Editing KISS OF DEATH by Debbie Viguié
What I love about fiction is how an author can string together words on a page and make me feel something. Finding yourself crying or laughing out loud at work when you’re a fiction editor is a good sign (well, most of the time…). And just like any reader with a great book, I can get a bit too caught up in my work.
It was February, and I was reading the revised manuscript of Debbie Viguié’s KISS OF DEATH. You know how when you’re reading a really great book, sometimes you feel like you’re in the story? Well, that’s where I was—in St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague, not in my office. I was only vaguely aware of the world outside as the sun set and the last of my coworkers called goodnight as they left for the evening.
The crowds were departing, leaving Susan and her friends alone in the flickering shadows of the sanctuary.
I happily settled further into my chair as the office became silent, and the lights in the hall clicked off.
They were alone…for now.
I heard a distant door open and close. I paused, looked up, but the motion-sensitive lights in the hall didn’t come on so it must have been somewhere else on the floor.
They were setting a trap for an evil and monstrous foe.
I thought I heard a faint sound. I put the pages down, went to the doorway, looked around. No one there. Clearly I was getting too caught up in the story, but I love when that happens and got back to it.
As they expected, the vampire arrived.
That nagging feeling of not being alone kept trying to tug me out of the story. I went to the doorway of my office and listened. Nothing…wait…there it was again, a faint noise coming from the kitchen. Must be the cleaning person. Of course it was. I waved my arms around to trigger the motion-sensitive lights so the person would know someone was still here and closed the door to my office so I could focus. Then I locked the door, because, well, what if it wasn’t the cleaning person? I went back to reading.
He was more powerful than they’d realized—
I could hear a faint rustling sound beyond the door.
—and he was stalking toward them.
Another rustling, this time closer.
There was no escape—
—they were trapped.
It occurred to me that when the person got to my door and found it locked, he or she would abruptly try the handle. Not only would that freak me out, I’d have to stop reading, open the door, and awkwardly try to explain why I locked myself alone in my office. So I unlocked the door, then ventured bravely out into the hall. Still no sign of anyone, no sound. But this time I stayed in the middle of the hall…waiting. Sure enough the cleaning guy emerged from the office next to mine. He jerked in surprise and almost dropped the wastebasket in his hand when he found me standing there, watching him. Poor guy.
Kiss of Death by Debbie Viguié will publish tomorrow, October 9, 2012.