Dee Rollings was born and raised in the big city, but her heart lives in the forest. She does her best writing on the porch of her tiny house in the woods when she’s not wrangling her kid and her dogs or having one-way conversations with chipmunks. She has a gorgeous husband who resembles Paul Bunyan and builds the best campfires, which makes all her dreams come true.
Catrina Banks wakes up with bruises on her body and no memories from the last six months. An illustrious painter, she feels as though someone has stolen the colors from her canvas.
Under the teeming hospital lights and white coats crowding around her, Catrina faces questions she has no answers to. How did she end up in a city far from home? What was she doing there? Where is her phone, her ID, and most of all: Who assaulted her?
Struggling with intermittent flashbacks, Catrina tries to piece her life together. Cradling a gray hoodie and wedding bands she has no memory of, Cat returns home with her boyfriend Danny.
Even after she’s safe at home, she can’t shake the weird feeling that something is off, nor can she ignore the haunting glimpses she gets of a different life with another man.
“Discordant Memories” is a gripping romantic thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat, desperate to flip the pages to find out what happens next.
I opened my eyes slowly, but as I reached up to scratch an itch on my forehead, pain shot through my side before my hand connected with whatever was stuck to my forehead. A bandage? I tried to sit up to shake off the weird dream I was having, but every muscle in my body protested. Pain shot through my ribs.
Something was wrong. I blinked the sleep out of my eyes and realized I was not at home. I was in a hospital bed.
“Help!” I shouted.
Was I still dreaming? I called out weakly a couple more times before a nurse rushed in.
“You’re awake!” she said, helping me sit up. “Can you tell me your name?”
“What’s going on? What happened?”
“You were in a car accident. You are at Nashville General Hospital. Please tell me your name.”
An accident? The scene that played out so many times in my dreams began to have clarity. The sounds and the glass. It must have been a roll-over.
“Nashville? When did I come to Nashville? Oh God, my Chevelle!”
The only possession I actually cared about was the car my dad had given me before he passed away. I didn’t know what I would do if it was totaled. I put my head in my hands to clear my thoughts and try to focus.
The nurse rolled the computer cart up to my bed and started typing. She wasn’t exactly cold, but she didn’t offer much sympathy either. She let out an exasperated sigh. “Can you please verify your name so we can see how you’re doing?”
How was she so calm when I was falling apart?
“Catrina Banks. Please, tell me what happened.”
“I’ve sent for the doctor; he can tell you more when he arrives.”
“Is there anything you can tell me? How long have I been here?” I tried to keep my voice calm, but it was difficult.
She ignored my question and checked my vitals, then asked me to tell her where I was on the silly little pain-scale poster that hung on the wall. I told her it was a mix between the regular sad face and the crying face. She gave me no additional information. When the doctor finally came in, she gave me a pitiful look and rolled her computer cart off to the corner of the room.
“Ms. Banks, it’s nice to see you again. I’m Dr. Parker.” He offered me a sweet smile and a handshake. He was tall and had thick silver hair. He wore a white coat over a green collared shirt and plaid slacks, which looked more appropriate for the golf course than a hospital.
“Catrina, your accident happened a day and a half ago. You suffered a brain contusion and have been in and out of consciousness since then. The ribs on the right side of your body are bruised and you have some additional bruising in places we rarely see in these types of accidents. Do you remember anything before or after the accident?”
I shook my head as I rubbed my hand against my ribs. Now I knew why breathing was so uncomfortable. “I don’t remember even leaving my house. Maybe something inside the car hit me?”
He wrote something down on my chart and clicked his pen a few times, clearly thinking about something he didn’t want to tell me yet. “You’ve been getting a lot of rest, which is good, but you have been regressing every time you fall asleep. We aren’t sure how long it will continue, or if you’ll even remember this conversation later.” The way he spoke led me to believe it wasn’t the first time he had told me this. He paused, giving me a chance to interject, but I had nothing to say. “Do you know what today’s date is?”
“April 10th,” I blurted without even thinking.
Another one of those pitiful looks came my way, but this time it was from Dr. Parker. The room was silent for a few moments except for the sound of the nurse typing away on her computer.
The doctor clicked his pen three more times before replying, “Actually, it’s October 15th. I’m afraid you have some time missing.”
How the hell was I missing six months of my life?
Q&A with Dee Rollings
Q: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and how became an author?
A: I am an adrenaline junkie and like trying new things. While working on a post-graduate program, I was looking for a way to burn through some creative energy after writing research papers for hours on end. I had a dream one night that was basically the outline of Discordant Memories, so I decided to try to turn it into a novel. Three years and a lot of writing development later, I became a published author.
Q: What is your writing process like?
A: I like to start with a foggy idea and just throw words at the screen, and I tend to over-write. For example, I have about 90 pages that were cut out of Discordant Memories because they didn’t carry the story to its natural ending. I would rather have more to work with than less, so I write random scenes when they come to me and then figure out how to fit them together when I have a day or two to sit down without any adult responsibilities distracting me. I usually don’t know how a story ends until everything else is tied up in a neat bow, which makes it just as exciting to write as it is to read.
Q: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
A: I try to stay pretty busy, so when I’m not writing (or working my day job), I like to drive race cars, work on the tiny house I’m building in the woods, scream at my sewing machine, and read books.
Q: How do you celebrate when you are finished writing a book?
A: I’ve only finished one so far, so I don’t have any traditions. I just remember crying a lot and texting my friends that it was done. I probably just went to bed early, haha!
Q: How do you celebrate when your books are released?
A: When Discordant Memories was about to be released, our family took a trip to the beach to celebrate. It was a nice way to relax before the insanity of release day.
Q: Can you tell me how the book/series came about?
A: I had a dream one night that went through the beginning and the end of the story. When I got to work the next morning, I told a group of friends about it and they convinced me to write it down… so I did! They were my first alpha readers and stuck with me throughout the entire writing process, which was really cool.
Q: Are any of your characters similar to real-life friends or family?
A: My mother-in-law read my first draft and thought it was funny that the two main characters are just my husband and me, personality-wise. It wasn’t until she said it that I realized they have all of our same favorites–music, foods, and even overused phrases.
Q: What was the most challenging part of writing this book?
A: Figuring out the “what’s next”. I would write a scene I felt really great about and have no idea what the characters should do next. Luckily, I have a tight-knit group of friends that didn’t mind brainstorming ideas over lunch. It really helped to have honest people telling me if an idea was good or needed to be cut.
Q: What part of writing this book was the most fun for you?
A: Hearing feedback from people after pouring my soul into a scene, even if the feedback was terrible. I loved seeing the looks on people’s faces as they told me their opinions, knowing that the thing we were talking about didn’t exist until I put it on paper.
Q: What Authors or other Books have inspired you to write this book?
A: I cannot recommend Stephen King’s On Writing enough. It really changed the way I do everything. I also really loved Save The Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody. I spent about a year just writing blindly before friends in my NaNoWriMo cabin recommended reading them, since I had admitted that I was lost. Those two books really helped me develop the story and my own voice.
Q: What is your favorite passage from this book?
A: I can’t tell you without giving away the ending! But it makes me cry every time I read it, even though I’ve read it a hundred times. I’m sure people who have read the book could easily guess what it is.
Q: If you could meet any of your characters, who would it be and what would you say to them?
A: I would tell Trina to trust her gut, hopefully over giant hot chocolates and French toast from our favorite diner.