Ciao, amici! Today, I’m delighted to welcome someone who needs no introduction, but I’m giving her one anyway, because she deserves it. She’s a friend, fellow author, frequent visitor, and Story Empire colleague coming to us all the way from across the pond so we can talk all about her latest release in a long line of multi-genre titles—The Vanished Boy.
I’m so excited to read this one. I’ve seen snippets as she’s been working on it, and it’s captivated me since the first word. Today, she’s going to give you a sneak peek. Now, without further ado, I give you Harmony Kent. Take it away, Harmz!
Hi everyone. Harmony here. Thanks so much, Staci, for letting me visit with you today. I’m so thrilled to share the launch of my latest book with you all.
The Vanished Boy is a mystery suspense novel based around a teenaged boy, who’s gone missing. The book follows the mother as she trawls through her missing son’s online life and realises, to her horror, how out of the loop she’s become.
The inspiration for this novel came from watching a number of movies based on how our lives both revolve around and are influenced by the Internet and mobile devices. Although these movies covered many genres such as murder/mystery, thriller, and the supernatural, they all centred around the same theme: Apps and living life online. This led me to ponder how many of us spend our lives in digital pursuits rather than physical—both the old and the young? For many people, their actual physical lives become but a shadow compared to their online existence.
Mostly, the shift to a digital world happens slowly. It’s incremental and, too often, insidious. All of which led me to ask how well do we actually know our children? Our loved ones? Those around us? What might be going on in the shadows?
From that inspiration and questioning, this story was born. Much of life and our actions originate from the same needs and wants: to be loved and accepted, the ability to differentiate between truth and lies, and the things we do to cover our mistakes and make ourselves look better than the reality instead of owning who we are. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Below is an excerpt from the book:
Carole answers, ‘Hey, Abs.’
‘Honey, I am sorry about earlier. I should have appreciated how overwrought you feel. Jay does love you, you know.’
Carole sighs. ‘Yeah. I know, hon. And it’s good he can talk with you. That’s better than him shutting himself off.’
After the briefest pause, Abby says in a soft voice, ‘You’re not a bad mother.’
Carole gasps and closes her eyes. Abby always did have a knack for hitting the mark. ‘I dunno. Maybe I need some of your dope so I can chill the hell out.’
Abby laughs—a slow, gentle, rolling sound, which warms Carole’s heart. ‘I never thought I’d hear my little sis approving of my bad habit.’
Carole manages a small titter of her own. ‘I wouldn’t go that far. But I won’t mention it to Detective Treen yet.’
‘What did you find out?’
Carole sighs and draws herself up and in. ‘On Twitter, some girl said about some party … a rave—can you believe it? An illegal rave in Launceston.’
‘Are you sure Jay went?’
Carole shrugs, though her sister can’t see her. ‘The tweets read like that, but I don’t know for sure. I’m waiting for the police to look into it and get back to me.’
Tentatively, Abby says, ‘The Detective, he reckons Jay ran off, right?’
In a strangled voice, Carole forces herself to ask, ‘Is that what you think?’
It takes Abby a long time to answer. If not for the steady breathing over the open line, Carole would think they’d lost the connection. At last, Abby murmurs, ‘No. He would’ve said something.’
This surprises Carole. ‘I know you said you two talk. But-but how often? How close were you?’
Again, Abby takes her time and chooses her words, ‘He’s my nephew, sis.’ She sighs softly. ‘I don’t know; maybe I helped fill the gap—’
‘Because I wasn’t there?’ Carole can’t keep the hurt and accusation out of her voice.
Abby laughs, and the short sound conveys an ocean’s worth of disbelief. ‘Seriously? No, you idiot. Because of …, he lost his dad. Are you so jealous?’
Carole squeezes the phone and clenches her eyes tight shut to fight back the tears that threaten. She takes a couple of deep breaths. ‘I feel like such a failure.’ This is the most she’s opened up to anyone since she lost her husband.
In a rare moment of insight, Abby says, ‘And I told you that you should be over your grief by now. I was trying to help, but I guess I condemned you instead.’
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her adorable husband, ever-present sense of humour, and quirky neighbours.
Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
It’s so remote out here. Anything could happen …
A missed phone call in the night is all it takes.
When Carole’s 18-year-old son goes missing, she breaks into Jayden’s laptop to try to understand his life.
All too soon, Carole discovers just how little she knew her boy.
And when one lead after another dead-ends, the distraught mother has to face the unthinkable.
Sucked into a sticky web of deceit and lies, nothing is as it seems.
When your life turns inside out and upside down, who would you trust?
I’m sure you can understand now why I can’t wait to read this one. I hope you’ll join me in wishing Harmony all the best. If you have any questions or comments for her, please leave them below. But first, we both hope (and will greatly appreciate it if) you will hit the like and sharing buttons. Grazie!