Running From Dust
by Jess Whitby
Genre: Psychological Paranormal Thriller
"I could not put this book down." 5 Stars - Goodreads Reviewer
"An attention grabbing psychological thriller." 5 Stars - Goodreads Reviewer
Jude Craig is a level-headed teacher in a Yorkshire secondary school. Within a matter of days her professional and personal life is shattered by a series of strange events in her house. What starts with the sound of papers fluttering to the floor quickly escalates to her discovering that someone has been in the house whilst she is sleeping.
When Jude is driven out of her job and home she is forced to discover whether she is being haunted, stalked by a pupil, or the terrifying possibility that she is losing her mind.
Her heart had raced – like it did now. There had been a noise. A noise from outside the bedroom. She’d lain there, frozen in bed. Not daring to move, her eyes fixed on the doorway. After a few seconds, she’d glanced away from the door and to Oscar. He was fast asleep. He hadn’t heard it. Strange as normally, he barked at the slightest thing. Then it happened again. The noise. What was the sound? Then, it was there—paper! It was the sound of a sheet of paper falling to the floor. In a flash, Jude connected the dots. The study was at the back of the house and overlooked the back garden. The desk sat below the window. Was someone breaking in and had knocked some papers on the desk to the floor? Did she check the back window tonight? Instinctively, she’d reached out for Oscar. He’d responded by snuggling up to her further. Still fast asleep. Why didn’t he wake up? She lay paralysed. The blood pounding through her head. Silence. She held her breath and glanced at the clock. 3.26 am. The phone—where had she put it? Again, she chanced a glance away from her doorway to the top of the drawers where the phone sat on charge. Out of arm’s reach. Damn! She gently prodded Oscar, who at last lifted his head up. Instead of leaping off the bed, she sensed him looking at her. He wasn’t on good guard dog form tonight. Why did she stop bringing a knife up to bed with her? The one time she needed it, she didn’t have it. How did she get to be so stupid? She listened again. Nothing. She glanced at the clock, 3.29am. How long would it take for an intruder to get in? Surely less than a minute. Surely he or she had to make another noise? She shuffled up in the bed. Eyes fixed on the door. Oscar put his head back on the bed and closed his eyes. No sound. No movement. She tried to calm her breathing, unaware that her whole body had tensed right up, her fists clenched on top of the duvet. By 3.40am, she thought perhaps she had imagined it. Uxton wasn’t exactly crime central, and this estate had always seemed so quiet. The papers on her desk were piled up so high, they could have fallen. That desk contained all the paperwork that Jude tried her hardest to avoid. Not one school holiday passed where her “To Do” list didn’t include ‘clear the desk’. But something more exciting always got in the way. At 3.45am, she was confident enough to put the bedside light on. Oscar didn’t stir. She slid a bit further down in the bed. Even the hardiest of criminals wouldn’t have stood still this long. As the minutes passed, her heart rate slowed. The normal silence of the night returned. At about 3.55am, she fell into a restless sleep, reminding herself to check the office in the morning and see what had fallen off the desk. Now she thought about it, she had woken up several times after that. Each time, her heart had been racing. Each time, she’d struggled to relax and get back to sleep again. At least I know why I’m so tired, she thought to herself as she opened her bag and rescued two paracetamol from the detritus gathered inside. She hoisted herself up from the chair and made her way to the staff room. Note to self—check study when I get home. Second note to self—take knife up to bed. Third note to self—drink more wine.”
Jess Whitby lives in Yorkshire, England. She studied Communication Studies at University and then went on to train and work as a Youth Worker. She now works as a Therapist in Yorkshire. When she isn't working she is busy either writing her next novel or eating her favourite food : chips and gravy!
What are some quirky facts about yourself?
If I am brainstorming for something or trying to come up with creative ideas, I have to use a felt tip pen to write with. If I have to use a normal pen or pencil, I can’t think as freely! Weird I know.
Tell Us Something Unusual That Happened To You
Years ago I worked in a Call Centre. One day the whole Call Centre was brought to a standstill as the winner for the most Nationwide Sales was announced. The prize was a trip on the Orient Express. I was astonished when I was announced as the winner. The reason I was so surprised was because I very rarely sold any products to anyone. All my remarks about “Are you sure?” and “Is there a mistake?” were laughed off as me being modest about my selling abilities. So, I enjoyed a very nice all expenses paid trip on the Orient Express. To this day I am sure they called out the wrong name.
Do You Have A Favourite Movie?
I love watching films so that’s hard to choose! There are two films that I could watch again and again (and do). One is Apollo 13 and the other is The Shawshank Redemption. Both are incredible stories (the first time I saw Apollo 13 I didn’t realise it was based on real events) and show how people can battle through against all the odds. That’s a theme that shows up in the book quite strongly.
What is a typical day in your life as an Author?
I’m not a full time Author so my daily routine will be quite different to most full time Authors. On an average day, I spend most of my time working as a Therapist in various locations. Driving to work and back my mind is often buzzing with what I’ll be writing later that day, but I have to do my best to switch that part of me off whilst I work with clients. When I get home I need to eat and my dog needs walking. So, it’s usually mid-evening before I get to write anything.
I try to write every day and aim to write at least a thousand words. I also try to read every day as the two things often go hand in hand. Since publishing Running From Dust, some of my writing time has been swallowed up with trying to promote the book. I’m trying to claw that time back now and am getting back into my daily writing habit. If I’m on a First Draft, I purposely don’t read back what I’ve written. My first stage of writing is purely about getting the words on the page. I can see if they make any sense later on.
What is your writing Kryptonite?
Self-doubt. That paralyses me. The negative voices in my own head that tell me that I can’t write. I spent too many years listening to those voices. I try to put them on mute as much as I can now or just ignore them and write anyway.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m am nearing the end of the First Draft of my second novel. It’s very different from Running From Dust. RFD has quite a small setting, whereas the setting for the next novel is humungous in comparison! I’m also working on a set of short stories which I will probably release before the next novel is ready.
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