Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mean, a psychological thriller novelette by Renata F. Barcelos : Interview, Excerpt, Review


Tell us about your first book.

I always wanted to write about therapy sessions having the reader somehow as the therapist. The idea of a dialogue that was actually a monologue was at the back of my mind for a long time. I had started it some times, but never found it good enough.

Then, one day I was going to work and as I was entering the train, the opening sentence of ‘Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette’ just popped in my mind: “I don’t mean to be mean, you know.” I started writing on my cell phone, and within two days, I had the basic plot done.

It may sound a little weird, but it’s usually like this with me; the story just comes and tells itself in my mind!


Tell us about your current release.

‘My Sore Hush-a-Bye’. It’s a coming-of-age mystery about Camille, a sixteen-year-old who learned to love and accept her sheltered life with Uncle Bob, after her mother left without explanationjust a note telling her to be good to him. For eight years she lived in a throwback world having Uncle Bob as her sole companion, old TV shows and old music as her comfort. But she's growing up now and everything is changing.

She goes to public school, where no one talks to her, except Ashley. Now that Ashley's missing, Camille starts thinking about her mother and rethinking her life with Uncle Bob and everything she chose to believe.


Tell us about your next release.

I’m now working on a novel called ‘Myself in Blue’. This book will tell the story of Sunday Morning and her mother, a famous singer called Iris Morning. The story starts with twenty-year-old Sunday coming back home in 1989, after 5 years of absence, to make amends with her past before her time comes, since she has terminal cancer. The book will focus on Sunday, but also on Iris, ever since she was a teenager in the fifties, trying to become a professional singer against her dominant stepfather’s wishes.


Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

I do, they are essential, and I love working with them. The first one is my daughter, poor thing, who has to listen to every single version of what I’m working on at the moment! :) She’s only 13, but gives great advice!

In my first two books I had the excellent help of Martha Bryce. She is absolutely amazing. For Myself in Blue, I will also have Chasity Brewer ( as my beta reader, and I couldn’t be happier about it!


Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Oh, I simply love music. I wanted so badly to be a singer, but my voice Anyway, I adore listening to music while writing. I like old songs, from the forties, fifties, sixties, seventies. Especially now because of my next book, I’m immersing myself in the fifties; loving it! Mama Cass, Elvis Presley, Beatles, Johnny Cash, Petula Clark Also Brazilian music from that period too.

What are your favorite TV shows?

First of all, I love Lucy. My daughter and I really do; we watch it almost every day. I also can’t live without Friends!

For the current ones, I’m in love with Once Upon a Time. It makes me a child, believing in magic like never before! Pawn Stars, 2 Broke girls, Grey’s Anatomy (not so much this season, but I’ll watch it until the end), Simpsons, The Middle and my favorite of allThe Soup! Yeah, I know, I may watch too much TV

What is it that you like to do when you’re not reading/writing?

Like I said before, TV is a passion of mine! My daughter, old movies and TV shows are all I need to relax and have a wonderful time. :)

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

I want to make people think about the horrendous reality of child abuse, so I write about dark and twisted themes, in the hope that one day they will only exist in fiction. Everybody should learn about child abuse, so everyone would be able to identify the signs and maybe help children in need.
Cassandra Connelly looks like a normal twenty-four-year-old girl. She seems sweet and shy. She works hard in two jobs and still finds time to do volunteer work. Nonetheless, there's something wrong within her. She has a lot of anger boiling inside, and a very problematic past, making her a dark, twisted woman.

She hides her true self from the world, but there's someone Cassandra hates so much, she has been thinking of doing something unspeakable: killing this person.

To her, killing this person is absolutely necessary, for he or she should not be alive. However, since she is still not sure about doing it or not, she seeks help. She goes to a psychiatrist in order to make a decision: should she continue hiding her meanness and being a normal girl, or should she let the meanness win and kill this person she believes deserves to die?

In this contemporary piece of fiction, we'll find out how badly child abuse and a dysfunctional family can transform a life for worse, much worse.

Mean is a novelette (longer than a short-story but shorter than a novella).



I don't mean to be mean, you know?
It's just within me. Like a tiny voice inside my core, inspiring me sometimes to do stupid, unthinkably mean things, or to have horrible, mean thoughts.
Don't get me wrong—I’m not trying to excuse or justify myself and my actions with some schizophrenic bullshit. Nothing like that. I'm pretty sure there's nothing really wrong with me, with my brain at least…and I don’t believe in any paranormal crap like ancient demons possessing me.
No, it is just a part of me. You know, like some people can’t help but talking incessantly, even though they know they’re annoying the crowd? Or like a person who wishes to be elegant and graceful, but can’t stop dropping everything and stumbling on their own feet?
It’s kind of like that. Except in my case it’s anger; it's an evil feeling that boils inside of me.
But who of us is “normal”? I mean, everybody has something not quite regular, right? I've never met anyone as standardized as one might be, according to science, religion, whatever... Every single person I've met during my years is screwed-up in some way, even if their flaws are well-hidden.
I used to think I was pretty good at reading people. At finding what was wrong with them, you know? I'm not so sure anymore... Maybe all I was trying to do was reassure myself that I'm normal, that the feelings consuming my soul were absolutely common, because any other being was the same—all of us struggling with the parts of ourselves no one else can see.
Whatever the case, I have meanness inside of me, deep in my heart, in my soul.
I know, I know, it sounds lame, clichéd. But it's just the way it is. And since I'm paying you as a desperate last resource, you'll just have to cope with me here, okay?
Because, I gotta tell you, doc, it's damn hard.
What? No, I don't mean living with this feeling. That’s almost unbearable, but I’m used to it. This has been eating me alive from the inside out my entire life, ever since I can remember. I’m what I am, isn’t that the saying?
So no, doctor, my meanness is not what is damn hard—if only it were that simple... What is damn hard is to be here. Talking to a stranger I'm paying to listen to my weeping. Not only because it sounds a little pathetic, but also because I'm not rich, you know that? I live more in a hand-to-mouth situation, so it’s a bit of a sacrifice paying for your services. A worthwhile one, I hope, but still...not easy.
Why am I here then? Gee...right to the point, huh? Okay, if you must know—and yes, you must—I decided to come because I've got to make a very important decision; a life-changing one, doc.
Should I continue trying so hard to be good or should I let the meanness win?
I want to know if I could handle the consequences if I just surrender to evil. If I just let myself act as the cruel, angry, mean woman I know I am on the inside. And you should know this isn’t some rhetorical, philosophical exercise either, doc. I really need to make a choice.
Because, doctor, I truly wish to fucking kill someone. Yeah, that's right, you heard me. I'm no ordinary patient, doc. I want to kill a person, a very specific motherfucker, who really deserves to die, and I know I can do it.
I'm just not sure if I should.
So...can you help me, doctor?

5 Stars 
WOW!  What an unusual story this is!  I must say I have never read anything even remotely like it.  Each chapter is a therapy session, and during these sessions Cassandra reveals why she is filled with such a deep, festering rage.  I read this quickly mainly because I was curious if she would be helped in the end.
This is a dark story and, frankly, I had a difficult time relating to Cassandra’s woes – though I accept she does have valid reasons for her skewed mentality. I have thought about this story; mulling over the whole tangled web of deceit and deception on more than one occasion. I am not at all disappointed in the tale though it honestly is a disturbing narrative about a seriously unbalanced person who is able to function socially by adeptly hiding her psychotic anger.
This book was given to me by the author in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Laurie-J
Renata F. Barcelos lives in Brazil with her beautiful and creative daughter and teaches English and Spanish as Second Languages. She loves dark, twisted and flawed characters and stories.

She watches way too much TV and reads perhaps too many (almost exclusively) mystery novels, convincing herself it’s all work—research for her own stories. She writes for as long as she can remember, and her other stories are waiting impatiently to be published. Soon to be released, her next book is a coming-of-age mystery novel called “My Sore Hush-a-bye”.

She’s now working on a new novel called “Myself in Blue”.
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