The dreams: For years, Claire Baxter has been haunted by ceaseless dreams of an FBI Agent.
The dilemma: She has no idea who he is or if he even exists.
The death: Right before she’s set to graduate from college, a dream reveals him dying in a brutal explosion.
One touch and not-so-normal Portland girl, Claire Baxter, can get a glimpse of your nearby future. She considers nothing about her clairvoyance a gift, it’s a curse, to say the least. Her parents raised her with the rule that she is to keep the secret at all cost, leaving little room for relationships of any kind. As if the burden isn’t enough, FBI agent Byron Black becomes the phantom of a series of sinister dreams.
The night before her final college exam, she has another dream, except in this one, he dies in a nuclear explosion. Does he exist? Will she find him? If so, can she save the countless lives affected by a blast that can crush steel like it’s a piece of paper, or… is this something her lost, psychic mind conjured up?
The moment Claire’s break started, she slipped into the booth beside Leanne. Her roommate now knew about her superpower, too. One night during sophomore year, after one too many glasses of sweet wine, she had dragged the secret out of Claire. Being a great friend, Leanne had appointed herself a fierce protector of the clandestine information. Claire had never told Ted, though, but she couldn’t wait any longer. “I dreamt of him again last night.”
“What’s new?” Brent chuckled.
“No, this time was different.” Claire’s chin dropped to her chest. “I saw him dying.”
Brent and Leanne’s eyes widened. Ted frowned.
“I’m going to find him. I always knew there was a reason that I kept seeing him, and I think this is it. I have to warn him.” She kept her voice low to prevent the other customers from overhearing. Question marks appeared in their eyes. Yes, it was a potent bomb to drop out of the blue.
“How did he die?” Leanne asked.
“Wait,” Ted interrupted. “Can someone please explain to me what’s going on here?”
“Clairy,” Brent ignored his boyfriend, “you don’t even know if he’s real.”
“He is real,” Claire argued.
“Honey,” Leanne pulled her into a side hug, “it might seem real to you, but that’s only because he’s been such a big part of your life for so long. Maybe you want it to be real.”
“Have you ever found him on Facebook or Instagram?” Brent asked.
“Can someone please explain to me what the hell is going on here?” Ted threw his arms in the air.
“Sshhh… Keep your voice down.” Leanne glared at him.
“Claire can predict the future,” Brent whispered. “When she touches you, that is. Not more than a day or two. Since she was 14, she has been dreaming about Byron Black. Her theory is that they are all visions of his future, but she has no idea who he is, or if he’s real.”
“What?” Ted exclaimed, followed by a loud yelp. “What was that for?” He glowered at Leanne who gestured with her hand to lower his volume. Leaning closer, he continued, “Sorry. So, you wanna tell me if you’ve seen into my future?”
“Well, not really, I have a few times. I saw you and Brent kissing before it happened.” Claire winked. “Have you never noticed how I avoid touching people?”
Ted nodded. “Yeah, I always thought you were a germophobe. Now it all makes sense… Why you’re not good with people ‒ I mean, other than us… Why you shy away from big crowds and parties…. Hell, I would do that, too, if I saw the future every time I touched someone.”
“It doesn’t happen every time,” she clarified. “I don’t befriend people because I don’t want anyone to know about my gift.” She turned to face Brent. “Anyway, to answer your earlier question: No, I’ve never found him on social media. He’s an FBI agent. I doubt he wants to be visible anywhere, but…” She pursed her lips. “I think I’ve found his sister.”
“Claire,” the manager called, gesticulating to his watch. “Break’s over.”
“Okay, I have to go, but I’ll see you guys tonight. I’ll come to your place.” She excused herself and returned to the counter.
Time dragged by at the speed of a tortoise with a limp as Claire worked her shift. On any other day, she enjoyed her job since she loved cooking and experimenting. Technically, she wasn’t a cook, only a barista, but she knew exactly which drink complimented which pastry, and she often assisted in the kitchen.
Every five minutes she checked the minute arm on the wall clock behind her, which didn’t seem to move at all. And it didn’t quite help that the place was a ghost town, given most students had already gone home for the summer. At a nearby table, a professor was reading a newspaper, sipping his coffee. While she restacked the cups, her eyes scanned the cover:
President Cahill’s Opinion on Ballistic Missiles
The headline spurred an urge to grab it from his hands. It was too related to her dream to ignore. She neatened her apron, slowly squashed the impulse and decided to search for it online after her shift.
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A Shattering Glimpse
by Nicole Putter
Publication date: December 10th 2020
Genres: Adult, Romance, Thriller
Nicole Putter is the author of the Shattering Series and several short stories. She completed four creative writing and journalism courses with honours between a successful career in finance. When she’s not writing fiction, she blogs about her passion for books and writing. She’s also happily married, and a proud mom of one son and a Jack Russel Terrier named Striker.
You can connect with Nicole on:
Thank you Putter for allowing us to interview you and for having such appealing answers!
- Does writing energize or exhaust you?
- Both. It depends on which part of the story I’m writing. Scenes with technicalities that aren’t familiar to me can be exhausting to get just right. Also, linking certain parts of the story to keep the reader guessing can be quite a challenge. Otherwise I absolutely love writing.
- Have you ever gotten reader’s block?
- Yes, many times. I’m very fussy when it comes to books and television and there are sometimes months that go by where I don’t read any fiction. Then I’ll read non-fiction for research or to improve writing and marketing skills. Until I pass a second-hand bookstore where something odd catches my eye and I get right back to it.
- Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
- This is a very difficult question to answer. I don’t really know what readers want and not all readers want the same thing. So, not really. Obviously, I take advice from beta-readers and adjust the story if I agree but I don’t necessarily write to market.
- If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
- Write a book you can distribute for free and start building a mailing list. I wish I had done this much sooner.
- How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
- I try to write much faster. Emphasis on try, research and time heckles me. Readers are like vultures; they need the next book right now. I’m also like that, so I try to get the next in the series out as soon as possible.
- What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
- The sci-fi elements in my books requires quite a bit of research. I’m a planner and I plan my series in advance, so I research as I go along. The novel I’m currently writing required a lot of medical, scientific and nanotechnology research. I interviewed some professionals and patients, read books and research papers and watched webinars on the subject until I had a firm grasp on it.
- What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
- Actually, I didn’t realize the main character in my book was a lot like my husband until I started evaluating him. In some senses, men are easier to write because they are emotionally less complicated, but I find it hard to pen down their thoughts and articulate their observations and inspirations. How do men really see women? That is a question I would like an answer to.
- How many hours a day do you write?
- As many as possible but at least two. Between 5 and 6am in the morning and 9 and 10pm at night. Early mornings and late nights while everyone are sleeping is my best time to write.
- What did you edit out of this book?
- Oh, I killed a lot of darlings in this book. I deleted a big part right before the end when I realized it won’t work with the second novel.
- How do you select the names of your characters?
- I derived the name Claire from clairvoyant since she can glimpse the future. I put some effort into naming main characters. Byron was named after one of my favourite television characters and the poet Lord Byron. As the poem Don Juan goes:
- I want a hero: an uncommon want,
- When every year and month sends forth a new one,
- Till, after cloying the gazettes with cant,
- The age discovers he is not the true one;
- One of my writer friends taught me a great tactic for naming minor characters. I google popular baby names around the time of the character’s birth and scroll through the list until I find one that suits the character I have in mind.
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