Hello All! My name is J.C. Kavanagh and I'm an author with the internationally renowned publishing company, BWL Publishing Inc. If you’re a fan of action/adventure/suspense/drama combined with a dash of paranormal, you’ve probably heard of my award-winning Twisted Climb series. It’s easy to view and purchase these books by visiting https://bookswelove.net/kavanagh-j-c/ . Check it out!
Though my books are written for the Young Adult genre, they’re also enjoyed by young-at-heart adults who can relate to the confused mindset that teens often experience. Add a twisted dream world to the plot and you’ve got yourself a book you won’t be able to put down.
The first book in the series, The Twisted Climb, came about in a peculiar way. You see, I have a condition known as 'Restless Leg' syndrome. This means that closing my eyes and attempting to sleep brings on a whole lot of leg kicking and twitching. Falling to sleep feels like I'm slowly climbing a mountain, one tired step at a time. So one night back in 2015, while involuntarily twitching and picturing the ‘mountain’ in the playground of my mind, I decided to invent a few characters to accompany me. Thus, sleep climbers Jayden, Connor and Max were 'born.' I kept myself invisible to these characters and concocted a story-line that, yes, I admit, kept me awake many a night but in the most enjoyable way. So my three characters meet in the strange, moonlit dream world that I've concocted and in this dream world, the only way to 'fall' asleep is to climb. But the climbing is not so simple. The mountain is full of night-time animals and things that could exist only in a dream world. Jayden is a sassy, overly confident girl with bullying tendencies while Connor is a calm, intuitive young man. Max is a young teenager trying to be a man in a boy's body. But as my dream evolved, I realized something was missing. Someone was missing. My story needed an antagonist – and so Richard Hatemore was 'born.' Richard is an evil, sickly-looking boy who seems to run the dream world and whose goal is to prevent the teens from climbing to the mountain top and 'falling' to sleep. Concocting their adventures and developing their personalities became my mission each morning. Nine months later, the manuscript for The Twisted Climb was complete and published. Alleluia! And more excitement, The Twisted Climb was voted Best Young Adult book 2016 in a readers’ poll.
I began writing the sequel, The Twisted Climb - Darkness Descends, the following year. Darkness Descends continues the harrowing dream world journeys of Jayden, Connor, Max and Richard and delves more deeply into their 'real world' lives. Darkness Descends followed in the footsteps of The Twisted Climb and was voted Best Young Adult book 2018 and short-listed for Best Young Adult book by Canada's The Word Guild.
Thanks for reading about how The Twisted Climb series came to be. I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I did writing them! Below are two excerpts... welcome to the playground in my mind...
The Twisted Climb
Chapter 1, Green Eyes
Jayden Nanjee looked up. The full moon shone like a ghostly yellow torch against the midnight black of the night sky. The pale, low-lying clouds seemed to hug the earth as the moon peeked in and out of their embrace. They reminded Jayden of the lumpy potatoes her mother served when she felt like making dinner. She raised one hand and stared at the light brown skin that contrasted so starkly against the vivid pink of her pyjamas.
“I think I’m dreaming,” she said out loud.
Suddenly, a wolf howled. Then another. There was a forlorn quality to their cries, triggering goosebumps on Jayden’s arms and the hairs prickled along the back of her neck.
“I have to climb, but climb where?”
A multitude of carefully pruned apple trees surrounded her. The bony limbs cast mysterious shadows in the moonlight and their heavily laden branches seemed to moan under the weight of its fruit. Above the trees, a mountainside loomed, covered in shadows. The gloom was broken only by the dim glow of street lights rimming a long, twisting road.
Her bare feet made no sound on the lush grass as she broke into a run and within minutes, a cornfield came into view, jutting past the edge of the orchard. She reduced her pace and turned around. Something behind her was advancing stealthily. Jayden’s eyes watered with the strain of searching the orchard, where the trees wavered and danced in the moon shadows.
She stiffened and then stifled a scream. Racing toward her, with ears laid back and fangs bared, was an angry pack of wolves. Mind racing, she reviewed her options. Should I run out of the orchard, past the cornfield and toward the street lights on the mountainside? There might be help in one of the homes along the way. Jayden glanced upward. Or should I climb one of the trees and mount some kind of defense?
“I’ll never make it to those street lights,” she muttered. The wolves were advancing way too fast. “And I can’t hide in these bright pink pj’s.”
Jumping and grabbing the lowest branch, Jayden pulled herself upward, swinging one leg around it. Then, arms and legs hugging the limb and her butt hanging down, Jayden looked back. The wolves were so close, the glare of the moon reflected in their eyes and gobs of frothy drool dripped from their jaws. Panic spread its tantalizing fingers around her body as the lead wolf raced ahead of the pack, snarling and snapping its sharp, yellow fangs. Before terror fully consumed her, Jayden pulled her butt up and twisted her body to the top of the branch, just as the wolf attacked.
* * *
Chapter 8, The Nightmare Within the Nightmare
The shout came from the forest and suddenly they could see a girl running toward them, a dark-haired girl wearing neon orange pyjamas.
“I don’t believe this.” It was Connor’s turn to look incredulous. “Is that who I think it is?”
Max scampered upright. “I think it’s Jayden.” He watched as she sprinted closer. “Yup, it’s her!”
Max held up his hands in a stop motion. “Stop!” he shouted. “Don’t come any closer!”
Jayden slowed and approached them cautiously. “Well, isn’t this a small dream world?” she drawled, crossing one arm over the other. “I guess you guys got the ‘cross over’ invitation, too?”
“Don’t come any closer!” Max repeated. “The shield has been activated.”
“The shield?” queried Jayden. “Like the one outside the Valley of Tired?”
Connor nodded. “Yeah, but Max didn’t turn this one on.” He replicated her stance, folding his arms across his chest. “Why are you on the wrong side of the shield? Didn’t you jump into the light?”
Jayden shook her head. “I, uh, wasn’t sure about that guy in the light so I jumped left, toward the banging sound.”
“You mean the thuds and the chants?” asked Max. He rolled his eyes. “Well, that was dumb.”
“Oh really, oh-wise-one,” countered Jayden with a sneer. “And why is that?”
“Because the thuds and the chants are probably coming from Dick – Richard Hatemore. Remember him?”
Jayden dropped to her knees. “That’s why it was familiar… oh no!” she cried out, realizing what she had done. “This is Dick’s side. The wrong side.”
Connor moved closer to the shield. It shimmered with energy, softening the contours of Jayden’s striking features. Her black hair shone in the moonlight and her green eyes displayed a level of fear Connor had not seen before.
“We’ll find the source of the shield and turn it off,” he said softly. “It can’t be too far.” His concerned smile provoked an unusual response from Jayden: she smiled back.
Max cleared his throat. “No time for kisses, folks,” he admonished. “Let’s decide which way to travel – east or west?”
Before anyone could respond, a wolf howled. Any hair that hadn’t prickled from the activated shield was now at full attention. Jayden looked over her shoulder and yelped with fright. Loping out of the woods some 500 metres behind her, was a pack of wolves. Their bodies moved as one, heading directly toward Jayden.
“Aaagh!” screamed Jayden. “What can I do?”
Connor looked at the stone in his hand. It was useless against the force of the shield.
“I know!” Max shouted. “Dig!”