Promo + Author Interview + Excerpt: The Narcissist A Dark Journey by Jon D. Zimmer

Blurb

"The Narcissist-A Dark Journey" is a psychological trip through the psyche of one Charlotte Prentice.
She literally has everything, beauty, intellect, wealth, and an unquenchable need for the adoration her success brings her. She has unwittingly become a very dangerous person.
Her life is filled with tragedies that she cleverly planned and successfully distanced herself from. All of which have fulfilled her well crafted persona of a loving caring person, and made her a very wealthy business woman, a well known philanthropist and a celebrity.
Her life is filled with romances, again that she has cleverly planned to nurture her successes, even though her personality disorder has generated a sexual dilemma that she must keep secret, or in her psyche, lose everything.
 She is someone we all know, or know of, and sometimes we see it within ourselves. She and her ilk are dispassionately driven to success, at the expense of others.
 Was she a victim, or guilty of some horrific acts, including murder. The decision is there, but requires the reader to uncover the truth.

Interview With the Author

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
A. I have no specific age, or date when I thought about being a writer. I know that all through my        school years my favorite subjects were English and Science. When I started college I had written several short stories. I considered being a writer at that time, however marriage and economics made my decision to postpone writing for a while.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
A. There are several factors that determine the amount of time it takes me write a book. First is the amount of research that is required for the novel. After that there is the passion I have for the project, availability of my time, and does my plot encounter many changes. It could take five months, up to ten months.
3. What is your work schedule when you're writing?
A. Again an answer that involves several factors. My passion for the work is foremost. In this case I will begin writing after going out for breakfast, and reading the daily newspaper. Return home about ten o'clock in the morning, and write until five o'clock in the evening. I don't write at night, it keeps me from sleeping.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A. I think one is in my last answer, I need to go out to eat breakfast, and catch up on the news before starting to write. As to writing itself I try to avoid foul language.
5. How do books get published?
A. It has to be an excellent book, however that is far from being the sole criteria, as many good manuscripts are rejected by publishers. Research the publishers, so you send it to the correct one for your genre. You need an excellent query letter to grab a publisher. Perseverance, keep sending it out, and if everything fails, you might consider self publishing. A major choice that more than likely will cost you a lot of money, and is rarely successful.
6. Where do you get your ideas, or information for your books?
A. Ideas for books pop into my head all the time. I will never write all of the books that I would like. Social issues and the emotion surrounding them are a main source of my ideas.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
A. I wrote some short stories when I was eighteen. A book when I was in my thirties, which I never did anything with. My first novel that I submitted, and was published was in my fifties. I truly wish I had pursued my dream to write as a youth.
8. What does your family think of your writing?
A. They love it, and are very supportive.
9. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
A. I have a passion for horse racing and politics. My father owned race horses when I was growing up, and I also developed an ardor for them. I go sometimes on weekends to the local tracks. Politics fascinates me. There is so much misery in our society, and I see an ignorant electorate perpetuating their condition by voting against their best interest, over and over. I write some political essays that are posted on LinkedIn, and my social media.
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A.  Getting into people's heads. Expressing emotions that the reader can feel and relate to is what writing is about.
11. How many books have you written and which is your favorite?
A.  I have written six novels, and the one I just finished, "The Narcissist-A Dark Journey" is my favorite to date. However, the novel, Tranquility-Book Two of the God Chronicles" that I am currently writing  is going to be my favorite. It is a fantasy about an afterlife, if there is one, that is believable.
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer, if so what are they?
A.  That’s a very hard question. I could give one of the standard answers and say, just believe in yourself, and that is true, but far from a success story. You need to be able to tell a tale that will satisfy your reader, both emotionally and time well spent.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What do they say?
A.  You mostly hear from friends and relatives about your books, and they are usually favorable, as expected. However, reviewers are a little more honest. Sometimes they grasp your theme, and other times they don't. It's up to you to determine true criticism. 
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
A.  I do like to create books for adults. I have never written a children's book, but have used children and their emotions in my books.
15. What do you think makes a good story?
A.  There are so many things that make a good story, regardless of genre. But the basic thing is that the reader becomes involved, even if he/she doesn't share the emotions, or theme, they come away with an understanding of them, and when they're finished, they feel good about the experience.
16. As a child what did you want to do when you grew up?
A.  I was athletic as a child, and I wanted to be a football player, then I changed to wanting to be a scientist, but never a writer, not until I was eighteen. 

Chapter One

Charlotte's conscious life began when she was four years old. Though there were glimpses of memories before that, this was the first time she'd experienced real tragedy in her short life. This wasn't one of those childhood traumas where things just didn't turn out the way she'd wanted. No, this was a tragedy of grandiose proportions for a four old, a tragedy that she incredibly was able to plan and execute.
It was a portend of things to come for Charlotte Prentice.
  It all started when she began kindergarten. Her mother, Rachel, had  walked with her the two blocks to  school. After a week of walking together, Rachel asked Charlotte if she would like to walk to school by herself. Charlotte was beside herself, she loved the idea.
Charlotte didn't notice the dog until after her mother left her completely by herself.  One day, seemingly out of nowhere, it appeared. It was a large mongrel dog with a big head, and short brown hair just standing there in the driveway. For some unknown reason Charlotte stopped and stared at it.
At first it causally looked back at her and then its ears perked up, it barked a little, and began to move in her direction, slowly at first, but with a quickening pace, until it seemed to Charlotte that it was charging her.
Charlotte was so filled with fear she couldn't move. Her mind raged as the dog grew ever closer. She stood there, her mind full of images of being savagely mauled, of actually being eaten by this dog.
She ran the few remaining yards to school faster that she had ever ran before. Once inside the gate she stopped and quickly turned to see if the dog was still chasing her. It wasn't. It was  gone, nowhere in sight. She felt safe, and her panic and fear were gone, at least for a while.
All day in class she thought about the dog, fixating on the dreaded walk home. Charlotte didn't tell anyone about what happened not wanting her class mates to know that she was afraid of a dog. She had seen others being teased, and tormented about similar things, and she didn't want to be the object of  that type of bullying, which was just as fearful to her as the dog.
 After school she stayed behind the gate, looking for him. Though he was nowhere to be seen, the thought of having to leave the safety of the school yard was just too frightening. She waited as long as she could, until she was one of the last students left, finally from somewhere the courage came to set out on her short walk home.
Charlotte got about ten or fifteen yards panic before set in. She imagined that dog jumping out of every driveway she was about to pass, and she ran as if chased  by demons. When she finally arrived home, she felt the need to be safe for the second time that day, but then her thoughts turned to tomorrow, and even in the sanctuary of her own home, the fear returned.
She didn't go directly to the kitchen when she got home like she usually did. Instead she went to her bedroom, and laid down on the bed. It felt good to be in her room. At the moment it  was the one place where she felt secure.
 Her mom came into the bedroom and asked, "Are you alright?"
She didn't speak for a second, feeling ashamed about being afraid of a dog, "I'm fine, she finally told her. "Just resting."
Her dad came home in a couple of hours, and the rest of the evening was normal. Her mother read a story, then they all watched television, and she went to bed. Charlotte slept well, and by morning she had completely forgotten about the beast, as she now thought of it.
She had breakfast, and left for school. The dog entered her thoughts the moment she stepped onto the sidewalk. She walked toward school, cautious to look all around her as she went. Even though there was no dog in sight, she picked up the pace a little. That was when she noticed it. There in the driveway, glaring at her as she walked by.
It moved move toward her, slowly at first, then a little quicker. Her mind screamed in fear, and she broke into a run, not daring to look back until once more she'd reached the safety of the school yard. It was then when Charlotte turned around to look for him as she had the day before, but saw nothing. It had gone, just like the last time. It was almost if she had been selected as the object of an apparition's haunting.
The same scenario played out on the way home as it had the day before.  Upon arriving home she went again directly to her bedroom. She laid down on her bed, and knew she had to do something. She couldn't just go through this every day of her life, her frightened and over-stimulated mind imagining she would be eaten by the beast. Nor did she want to put fear on display for everyone to see, so they'd  think of her as a coward, or even worse, not normal, and then suffer the horrors of being the brunt of ridicule by her peers.
Charlotte resolved that this was her problem, and it had to be solved by her. It was Friday, and she had the weekend to develop a plan that would hopefully end her nightmare.
She anguished over various ways she could get rid of the dog. Maybe she could scare it by throwing rocks at it. Maybe she could find a large stick to hit it with when it came close. She discarded them out of the fear that none of them would work, and she was sure to be eaten.
It never entered her mind to go to her mother for help, tell her a large dog was chasing after her on the walk to school each morning, and that she was concerned that the dog might bite her, or worse. If she had asked for help that might have been the end of it. She never would have been exposed as a coward, or branded abnormal as she feared, her  mother would have contacted the owner, and the dog would have been locked in its' back yard.
That this never entered her mind was because as far as Charlotte was concerned there was only one way to solve her problem, and that was Charlotte's way. Even at this very early age she resolved to solve this problem, regardless if it ended tragically. As long as it ended with with no consequences for her, the fallout wasn't her concern.
The only solution she could imagine at this point was to kill the dog. But how might she go about that? She had no knowledge about death, or how to kill anything, other than maybe a bug. Her mind was at a standstill, and she resigned herself to perpetual torment by the beast.
That Saturday morning a helplessness overwhelmed her because of the inadequacies she felt to rid herself of the problem. She was trying to forget everything associated with the beast, after breakfast she asked her mother to turn on the television so she could see her cartoons.
After a few minutes watching the cartoons, the solution to her problem was right there in front of her. Everybody and everything was injuring, or killing each other.
She watched intently, totally engrossed in looking for something that she would be capable of doing to kill that dog. Everything was slapping, hitting, chasing, cars slamming into things. There was nothing she felt capable of doing, but she continued watching hoping to find something to use.
Finally there it was, a car chase where the climax was the car hitting a group of people that went flying like they were bowling ball pins that had just been hit by the ball. Getting hit by a car was the answer. It solved two problems for her. She would not be directly involved, and the dog would be gone.
But how could she get a car to hit him. And in her conniving mind it came to her. She had to do one thing that her mother told her never, under any circumstances to do, cross the street, but it was worth the risk if it got rid of the beast.
Her plan was simple. On the way to school in the morning she would cross the street a couple of homes before the drive way where the dog lived. There were always parked cars on the other side of the street that she could hide behind. Then when cars were approaching, she would reveal herself between two parked cars, and taunt the dog, hoping that he would charge after her as he had every day, and then one of the cars would hit him.
 She left for school on Monday morning with a purpose. Charlotte didn't consider what she was about to do was wrong, reasoning that it was either her, or the beast. Everything went according to her plan. She crossed the street, and  positioned herself behind a car with visibility of the street in both directions. There he was…the beast, laying in the drive way directly across the street from where she was hiding.
She calmly waited, then saw two cars coming towards her, one on each side of the street approaching in opposite directions. This was it, she was sure one of them would hit the beast. She moved between two cars, and was now visible to the dog. His ears perked up, he rose and started walking towards her. When he got to the street he stopped.
The cars were getting closer, she had to do something to lure him into the street. She started gyrating and making subdued noises, as she didn't want to be heard, or seen.
It worked, the dog darted into the street just as both cars got in front of her. Her vision was blocked, but she heard a thud, and a loud yelp. The beast was struck by one of the cars. The driver stopped immediately, about twenty feet in front of Charlotte. The dog had been thrown about five feet in front of the stopped car, and was whimpering as he lay on his side in the street, then he fell silent.
The owner of the dog, a young woman, came running out of her house, and went directly to the now motionless figure in the street.
She laid down next to her dog and wept. The driver quickly picked the dog up, and put him in his car. The lady got in the car with him, and they sped away.
Charlotte couldn't hear what they were saying, or had any idea where they were going. She left immediately so as not to be detected at the scene, or on the other side of the street.
It took her no more than three, or four minutes to get to school from where the accident happened. No one was aware of what occurred, except of course her, and she liked that. The rest of her day in school was one of her most pleasant. She no longer spent the day dreading about the walk home. The beast was gone, and so was her fear.
She got home that afternoon filled with the sensation of happiness from accomplishment. Her plan had worked perfectly. She was enjoying her new felt sense of security and pride when she overheard her parents talking that evening about Mrs. William's dog being hit by a car.
Her mother said, "Poor Mrs. Williams, she loved that dog. It was her husbands, and after he died in Korea the dog helped to fill part of the void in her life. It was like he left a part of himself behind. I don't know what she will do now?"
Jeffery listened to his wife, he was silent for a minute, his eyes watered slightly, the war had not hardened him, it did just the reverse, it made him a more sensitive person. He softly spoke, "Can you think of anything we can do to help her?"
"No, just pray that the dog survives. I heard from Joan, her next door neighbor, that he is in critical condition at the veterinarians."
Charlotte couldn't believe her ears… the beast still lives. Another revelation was that her parents knew the owner of the dog. And after hearing Mrs. Williams tragic story she began to feel sorry for the woman, a woman that she had just caused so much suffering to.
Charlotte began to feel conflicted, she wanted the dog dead, but she didn't want Mrs. Williams to suffer. There was nothing she could do, but if worse came to worse her fear overrode Mrs. Williams grief, and she preferred the death of the dog.
Two nights later she again overheard her parents talking about Mrs. Williams and her dog. Rachel was telling Jeffery what she heard from Joan, "I talked to Joan today, and she told me the dog was going to live, but that he would be somewhat crippled. He would be able to walk, but not run."
"That’s great. The important thing is that Mrs. Williams will get her dog back."
Charlotte was thinking about what she had just heard. At first the fear started to return, then she thought this was the best of both worlds, Mrs. Williams gets her dog back, and he can't chase me ever again. She was now more pleased with her plan, and the outcome than before.
The next morning Charlotte walked to school somewhat confident that the beast no longer posed a threat to her, but as was her nature she had to see for herself. After all she had only heard about the dog being crippled from her parents conversation…and that wasn't enough for her.
Charlotte was going to test the ability of the beast, she was going to tempt it to chase her. As she approached the once dreaded driveway there was still a little fear, but not enough to stop her from hoping to see the living damaged thing.
 There it was, laying on its side next to the rear door of the house. Mrs. Williams was sitting with him softly stroking his fur while intermittently talking, "How does my precious feel today? You'll be much better soon. I'll be here…" Her voice tailed off when she saw Charlotte standing in the front of the drive way watching at her. She smiled, and asked how she was.
Charlotte, still a little concerned about the beasts physical status replied, "I'm fine. I heard about your dog being hit by a car, is he okay?"
Mrs. Williams replied, "Roger is doing fine. He just won't be able to do the things he used to, but he can walk well enough to get around, and the main thing is he has no more pain."
"I'm so glad he's alright. I have to get to school now, but I really am happy he can get around a little bit." A very joyous Charlotte said goodbye, turned away and left for school.
Her world was hers again, unencumbered with anything that might give her some displeasure. She had solved the problem herself. She didn't need anyone's help, and the best of both worlds happened… the beast could no longer catch, and eat her, and Mrs. Williams still had Roger.
She thought about her initial solution; telling her mother that she was afraid this dog might bite her. Her mother would then talk to Mrs. Williams, and the dog would have been tied up, or kept in a closed area, and that would have been the end of her problem with no one being injured. However, She solved the problem herself, and with a much more permanent solution…the dog could never harm her again. Mrs. Williams was sad, but she still had Roger. Also what she did gave her both a feeling of joy, and a sense of pride as she did everything herself with no help from anyone.
Charlotte, at this point in her young life, felt no remorse for taking whatever action necessary that led to her pleasure, or resolved a problem that was annoying her. And most importantly, her peer image remained pristine.