A brush with death brings Leah closer to the ghosts she longs to find and throws her into the arms of the troubled scuba instructor who saves her.
Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran, is haunted by his own restless spirits. He’s on a hunt for forgiveness, and the Caribbean Sea is his hunting ground.
The peace they search for lies in the bond they never suspected they shared.
1. Share with our readers a little about your book.
“Breathless” is a romantic ghost about a young woman, Leah, who is traveling alone in the British Virgin Islands. The action begins during a scuba dive at a sunken wreck, supposedly haunted, when Leah discovers her oxygen tank is empty. This story is inspired a little bit from my own experience. I actually ran out of air during a dive about two years ago. Obviously, I survived. But, I’ll tell you, it was pretty darned freaky. In Leah’s case, she turns to one of the dive instructors, Dale, an Operation Enduring Freedom veteran, to get her back to the surface safely. The shared exhilaration of their experience forges a connection between these two. I bet you can see where this is going …
As the tour group moves from the boat to the beach for an overnight campout, Dale and Leah are drawn to each other. They discover they’re each searching for ghosts, but for very different reasons. Throw in a moonlight hike, a salt pond, a bonfire …
I love a little supernatural with my romance, so I set out to give readers a contemporary, real-world story, with paranormal flair.
It’s up to you to decide if Leah’s and Dale’s ghosts are real.
2. Tell us about yourself and what brought you to writing?
I have a career that is very different from writing, but writing is something I’ve done since I was a kid, although not seriously until 2010. I tried to write my first book in high school, and even got a bunch of chapters done. I have it somewhere in my house. I should dig it out and see how awful it was. I started another one right around the time I began grad school, which took over my life, and I totally forgot about the book. Years later, I got the writing bug back. I found the book I started in grad school, threw out almost all of it, and then finished it a year later. I’ll confess: it was not good, but it was one of the best moments of my life. I wrote my second book the next year while rewriting the first—a task that took three years, and I’m sure an editor would still give me plenty to do on it. Now, I’ve written four novels and a whole slew of short stories, one of which is “Breathless.” In the last five years, I’ve grown so much as a writer, largely from meeting other writers and from practice. I must state: the network I’ve built—these people are incredible. I could never do this without them. We’re there for each other every single day.
3. Do you believe in Bigfoot?
Absolutely not. But we’re Bigfoot fans in our house. My husband, Eric, bought us our very own garden Yeti, complete with a sign, warning everyone to beware. Eric’s Bigfoot impersonation is superb, by the way.Despite my skepticism, one of my future projects will contain a Yeti. My second book is called “Therapist of the Damned,” and it’s about a psychologist who discovers her patients are vampires and all manner of supernatural creatures. I love this concept, although I’m well aware that vampires are a tough sell these days; if I’m never able to get it published, I’ll probably continue to develop the stories, because they’re pure fun. So, one night, over dinner, Eric and I were brainstorming characters for my book.He suggests I add a Yeti to my series, and I’m like, no way. Then, I realize the brilliance of his idea. A yeti in treatment for social phobia! Too perfect. My main character will definitely need a larger couch.
Short: I’m seventy feet below the Caribbean Sea, and I’m out of air.
He breathes with me, using his pace to slow mine. It feels like too much. The stillness. Our breath as one. His touch against my face and unyielding gaze locked onto mine. I want to escape up to safety, but he won’t let me.
All I can do is trust him.
They say write what you know, so Jessica Bayliss did. Her story, “Breathless,” was inspired by her own experience running out of air on a scuba dive—except without all the steamy romance and eerie paranormal happenings. Alas, real life. Obviously, she survived. Her genre-bending fiction holds a little something for everyone. A lover of ghost tales and horror since her days scanning VHS rental shelves–admittedly with eyes half-averted from the gory covers–a touch of the mysterious always finds a home in Jessica’s work. Romance with a dash of supernatural. Horror with a bit of humor. You get the gist. Jessica also writes across age groups and is a firm believer in the motto: there is a new reader born every day, whether young or not-so-young. Her work has been published by Leap Books in the recent young adult anthology, “Beware the Little White Rabbit,” and in Issue 31 of Sanitarium Magazine. She has more stories in her head than she knows what to do with and several pieces in the works at any given time, so be sure to keep an eye out for more from Jessica in the coming months.