My name is Patrick S. Brooks and I am a children’s illustrator represented by www.advocate-art.com. I’d like to give some information about my upcoming YA novel DEATHCAT SALLY
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?
Sally and Zachary stirred in unison. The cold breeze blew against their faces and each opened their eyes. In horror, both realised they were back in the ruined city.
‘Oh crap,’ Zachary turned in fear, ‘when did we fall asleep?’
Sally frowned in dread. ‘We were just talking on the settee – I wasn’t even remotely tired – what in the world’s happening?’
Holding her head, Sally willed for the city to remain still and lifeless. With no warning, the same unearthly roar shook the sky like a war trumpet. It was even more threatening and primal than the last time and was followed again by other animal sounds in the distance.
‘Holy smokes – they sound ticked off,’ Zachary quaked. ‘Think we’d better run for it.’
Even though she wanted to so much, Sally couldn’t turn out of sheer panic.
‘Sally!’ Zachary yelled. ‘Move it!’
As the dark shapes thundering across the long road became clearer, Sally at last broke from her fright and faltered in the other direction.
‘Can’t you go any faster?’ Zachary shouted while the creatures rumbled ever closer.
‘I’m trying!’ Sally said breathlessly, stumbling on a cracked pavement.
Zachary became hysterical. ‘It’s like being on a freakin’ rickshaw pulled by a pensioner!’
‘I’m sorry!’ Sally cried, doing her best to pick up the pace; she seemed to be going slower than before.
Zachary shivered. ‘This is hopeless – we need to hide or somethin’!’
When she moved inside a derelict shopping centre, there came a ruffling sound closing in behind them. Turning, Sally saw a huge ostrich racing nearer through a smashed window on the far side of the room.
She pivoted as the nine-foot bird screeched and thrust its wings. It knocked Sally sideways and kicked her in the back, sending her reeling into a computer desk.
‘HUMAN!’ it called out furiously.
Zachary screamed in fright. ‘Get lost, ya big turkey!’
Ducking underneath the rows of tables, Sally bolted away and moved on her hands and knees while the bird called out. It was too large to fit underneath, so it hauled itself up onto the table tops and pecked through the gaps. Sally yelled when strands of her hair were pulled off by the bird, but managed to break free.
The ostrich lost balance and got one foot stuck between two desks. It screeched murderously; Sally used the time to gather all her remaining energy and make for the door. Reaching the end of the desks, she wavered upwards and threw herself towards the exit. Hoisting the handle, Sally opened the heavy door and closed it just as the ostrich picked itself up and came running straight for her.
Sally quickly pulled down the metal bar. The bird impacted the barrier loudly. Backing away in shock, it was several minutes before Sally accepted that the ostrich could not reach them.
‘This is unbelievable…’
Turning around, Sally felt a shiver down her back, seeing the vast ruins before her. Much of the ceiling had collapsed; the dual escalators had also broken off around half-way down, leading to a drop of about forty feet. There was a walkway around the perimeter of the hall, which had rusted silver railings, all bent out of shape. Several smashed shop entrances were on the upper tier, the signs above the doorways barely visible due to time and damage.
Something larger slammed into the door; Sally faced the smashed windows of a clothes shop and sought cover.
Just when Sally had found a concealed area, there came a shuffling noise a short distance away. She went rigid. Taking a few steps in indecision, she heard a very low, almost prehistoric growl in the next aisle.
Without hesitating, Sally moved as fast as she could towards the store entrance. Rapidly, something also sprang into action behind them. It hissed angrily when Sally reached the doorway and hurried across the upper tier of the shopping centre. Turning back, she saw what was now following them: a large brown alligator, its razor-sharp maw wide open.
I wrote the book due to a nerve injury in my neck which left me unable to illustrate for several years as it affected my right hand. The story was inspired by a lucid dream I had while I was volunteering at the local RSPCA looking after a large group of cats. During writing the novel, my father died from lung cancer, my grandmother died from septicaemia and my mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and underwent chemotherapy. Much of the book was cathartic and a reflection upon events at the time. For some further information about the story behind the book and why I wrote it, please visit my website www.psbrooks.com/novels.