On the run and without his memories, Michael escapes from a man called Carter onto the unfamiliar streets of London. There, he meets a gang of teenagers with the power to sense the thoughts and feelings of others. They live in fear of ‘the cure’, a mysterious process which takes away their power and, some believe, destroys their personality. Suspecting the cure caused his memory loss, Michael goes undercover to investigate the truth behind the doctors of the cure clinic. What he discovers leads him to a conspiracy that runs to the heart of government and reveals the shocking reality of his own past.
Mind Secrets is a compelling thriller set in a contemporary world and will appeal to anyone who's ever wondered what it's like to have mind powers.
Chris, how did the story ida for Mind Secrets come about?
Stories about teenagers with special powers have always captured my imagination. There was a television series when I was growing up called The Tomorrow People, which was about youngsters with telepathy who could move objects with their minds and teleport across vast distances. I loved it. And I searched out books on similar themes — I remember reading John Wydham’s The Chrysalids several times. Even as I got older, my interest didn’t wane. I knew, at some point in my writing career, I would have to sit down and write a teenagers with special powers story.
But I needed to update it. When I was at school, the thought of having telepathy was amazing — I could talk to my friends secretly in class without the teacher knowing. But in a modern world of texting and skype, it didn’t have the allure it once had. I also wanted to give the teenagers special powers which I felt could have evolved in the human population. It seemed to me that our thoughts and feelings are so loud in our heads, that it wasn’t outside the realms of possibility that other people could sense them. And that’s when I realised I had the key element that would give my characters their power. It was an eavesdropping power, a power that would scare people who didn’t have it — especially if those people were adults.
The other thing which was central to the idea of Mind Secrets was the desire to make it a Fugitive-type story. The Fugitive was a 1960s television series (adapted into an excellent movie in 1993 starring Harrison Ford) where the main character, Dr Kimble, is on the run for murder and has to avoid being captured if he is to track down the real killer. He is therefore both running towards something and running away from something and I loved the urgency that format gave a story. So, the main character in Mind Secrets — Michael — is running away from a man called Cater, while he endeavours to solve the mystery of his own past.
Michael’s memories have been wiped and he doesn’t know where he is from or why he is on the run. When he meets a group of teenagers with mind powers — called Perceivers — he believes what has happened to him has something to do with the adults’ attempt to ‘cure’ teenage perception. So he joins their fight against the cure and, in the process, uncovers the secret of his own past and why Carter wants, so badly, to capture him.
Her stare was intense. She looked into his eyes. Deep. Penetrating. Probing. Through the cornea, past the iris and beyond the pupil. Until she was inside his mind. He couldn’t feel her, but he knew she had to be in there. The subtlety in her stare showed she was thinking about everything she perceived. Like a tiny flashing light on a computer, each bite of information sent a flicker across her eyes. Her breath shallow in concentration. Body absorbed in stillness. Her singular perception, sharp and focussed, stretching out the seconds into minutes.
Until her eyes softened and she withdrew. Back through the pupil, the iris, the cornea. Her breathing deepened. She blinked her mascaraed eyelids and their connection was severed. She leant back against the door and her body relaxed.
A mixture of nerves and excitement trembled inside him. ‘Well?’ said Michael.
‘Strange,’ said Jennifer. She seemed distracted, not quite there. Like a person emerging from a dream. ‘There’s so little of you. Like ‘ceiving a baby.’
‘But did you see my memories? Do you know who I am? Where I live?’
Michael deflated. His legs hardly had the strength to keep him upright any more. He staggered backwards and felt his bum hit the rim of a sink. He perched on it. ‘God!’ he cursed. He turned and kicked at the wall. Plaster came away from the brickwork and scattered to the floor in pieces. He kicked them to the other side of the room. ‘God! God! God!’
His face was hot with frustration. He turned on the cold tap with such force that it sent water spraying onto his trousers. He cupped his hands and splashed it onto his face until his skin, his hair, sleeves and jumper were dripping wet.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Jennifer. ‘There’s a nothingness inside of you. Like someone sucked out your memories.’
Chris will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to one randomly drawn commenter. Just leave you name and email addres in a comment.
For more chances to win follow her tour!