Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Attacked in my Bedroom Over Thirty Years Ago


Giveaway Alert!

Why do some authors gravitate towards writing one genre from another? When looking for your next book to read do you reach for the Historicals, or are you more interested in Non-Fiction or Suspense? What is your favorite type of book? If you’re reading this blog, I’m going to assume you have an interest in Romantic Suspense.

I write Suspense (always with Romantic Elements.) As much as I want to, I can’t rattle off a marketable Contemporary Romance with no element of Suspense. Just as I’m typing away on my lovely romantic story, a stalker from the protagonist’s past, or a disgruntled ex-husband, or a psycho roommate slip onto the page and take over. 

Writing a mystery takes a huge dose of thinking time for me. I spend many weeks plotting, measuring, reading, and working the mystery in an unraveling fashion so just the right amount of clues are given and the reader won’t easily guess the ending. Suspense writing adds layers to a story. It’s exhausting sometimes and this is why Suspense authors have those white boards, charts, plotting spread sheets. and recipe cards all over the floor-- to insure a great plot.

Although I read a wide variety of genres, most of my favorite books have Suspense, Mystery or Thriller aspects. Therefore, when I write a novel, I include suspense and romance. Strangely, most of my books and stories include a ghost, another suspenseful aspect because of the unpredictability factor of the Supernatural.

Lately, I’ve been wondering why I’m drawn to stories of women coming out the other end of surviving something horrific and living to tell the story. I watch Dateline and 48 Hours and sit glued to these crime shows until their conclusions. Unlike them, I focus on the happy endings for my protagonists, whether they are an innocent or a police inspector. All my heroes have happy endings.

Recently, I realized that I have my own terrifying story of suspense that might have precipitated my fascination with crime against women.

When I was twenty-two, I was attacked by a man in my bedroom. I lived in a ground floor apartment in Vancouver Canada and he came in through the bedroom window with a garden hose, drenching my bedroom with water. He’d simply stepped from the ground, through my window where he’d removed the screen behind my closed drapes. I didn’t hear him coming. Or the hose. This was because I had music playing while I lay in bed reading what I’d just written. The window was situated behind my bed. 

First I saw a hose over my left shoulder shooting water into my room and my initial thought was that I’d burst a pipe, then I saw a hand on the hose and realized someone was on the other end. Someone bad. When the curtains parted, a grown man came at me. The man’s face was covered partly by a handkerchief like he was some sort of bandit. He wore jeans, had blonde, shoulder-length hair and was slight enough that I was able to fight him. I screamed. My neighbors told me later that they heard screaming but didn’t leave their apartments. The man upstairs said he didn’t think it was real, or anything other than a Friday night, festive squeal, although I can’t imagine sounding like I was having fun. As I fought my attacker and pushed him away from me, my fear was so great that when I tried to ask him “What are you doing?” my words came out slurred like I was hearing-impaired and trying to speak. At that moment, he was pushing me down to my back. But, hearing my words made him stop momentarily. What went through his mind when he heard my impaired speech? In that brief pause, I was able to shove him off me. He landed against the low window frame, directly behind the bed. I lunged at him to shove him out the window. He fell backwards, the hose still in his hand and landed on the ground outside. 

Slamming the window shut, I locked it with shaking hands and ran out of the bedroom to the living room where I had a phone attached to the wall. There were no cell phones or battery phones 37 years ago. I dialed 911 and as I rattled off my address to the police dispatcher, the light in my bedroom went out. Now I was in total darkness. I stopped speaking. Nothing. He must be listening too. The door he’d come through from the bedroom was closer to the front door than I was so running for the door was out of the question.

“He’s in the bedroom,” I whispered to the dispatcher. “The light just went out.” I don’t remember breathing. I do remember being frozen with fear.

The dispatcher told me to grab the closest thing to throw at him. “Get ready,” she said. 
I picked up a pottery tea pot, something that remains in my grateful care and will never get rid of until I die, and waited. Nothing. Sirens wailed in the distance. I held the teapot behind my shoulder, at the ready but knew I’d always been a poor shot. Nothing.

Soon, there was a knock on my front door. “Police!” they called. With the tea pot I went to the door and verified it was the police. I was safe. For now.

Upon entering my apartment, the three cops investigated the place, including the bedroom, and suggested that the water had shorted my bedroom lamp. The window was still locked. He hadn’t come back in after I heaved him through the window. The police had brought a K-9 officer, a German shepherd, and one of the cops took him around to the back of the house to my bedroom window. The dog caught the scent and tracked the perp several blocks to a busy road where my attacker crossed and the trail was lost. 

An hour later, the police had taken my statement and labeled the attack mischief seeing my attacker did little but drench my bedroom and terrify me. At the time, I was young enough and naΓ―ve enough to believe them and think I’d taken up enough of their time. When they left my apartment and suggested I keep my windows closed and locked (it was mid-July) I said I would. I remember waving them off, but as they drove out of sight, my terror returned. My attacker was still out there. He might be back.

I grabbed a trench coat, threw it on over my nightgown, locked my door, and started running down the street at 1 a.m., barefoot. Getting as far away as possible seemed like the best idea. He knew where I was, what I looked like, and might still see me as viable prey.
I ran twenty blocks to a friend’s house who was on vacation. She had a key hidden at the back door and I let myself in. For the next few hours I sat with my back against the wall. I turned on the TV and watched the test pattern. In those days programming ended after the late show. No 24-hour TV.

At day break, I returned to my apartment to survey the water damage. My grandmother’s lamp was broken, ruined, the finish on my childhood bedroom suite, damaged too. A vanity mirror had gone down in the struggle and shards littered the bedroom floor. 

I cleaned everything up, changed my clothes and wondered how I’d live in my apartment for the next few months, knowing he was still out there. As well as putting a note on my bedroom window to say I had a weapon and was prepared to use it, I locked all windows and put sticks in the sliding part as a precaution. I spent that hot summer in terror, slept with a hammer in my bed, never told my parents who lived on the other side of Canada, and eventually got through it. But when I was out in public I stared down any young man with blonde hair who had that body type as if to say “Was it you because I am not a victim!”
 For years, everywhere I went, I could only sit with my back to the wall and wouldn’t tell anyone about not being able to speak properly when I most needed to. That was one of the most mysterious and disappointing parts of the attack. I felt like I’d let myself down with my own terror. When I think of it now, that moment might have saved me.

Luckily I didn’t lose the ability to fight back.

I know this is why I have large dogs who bark at the front door. They’ve made me feel safe inside my own house for over thirty years. Maybe this is why I write suspense and why my heroes are women who kick ass, take names, and emerge from incidents like this--stronger and more capable. My heroines don’t wait for the police. They take it upon themselves to make sure they are safe--women who rise up to show what they’re made of. I hope in some small way to inspire women to fight back if ever they need to. 

Writing this blog has been cathartic to me. I’ve never put this life event on paper. Doing so encouraged me to tell my husband the whole story after twenty-five years of marriage. When I finished writing this blog I had crushing pain in my chest on the right side, but it went away after a half hour. I know it was the bottled-up memory leaving my body.

Thank you for being a part of this.

Giveaway:
Everyone who comments and leaves an email address that I can reach you, or emails JRS directly gets a copy of Necessary Detour, an Amazon Bestseller, published with Amazon Encore!

NECESSARY DETOUR

After a stalker's attack, rock star Goldy Crossland flees L.A. for her secluded lake house in Northern Washington. Retired from the music business, she hopes to avoid both the press and her psychotic fan. But obscurity leaves her restless, and when a mysterious--and disturbingly handsome--new neighbor moves in, she can't resist spying. Pete Bayer is undeniably attractive, but Goldy quickly realizes there's something strange going on in the log house across the bay. Is he a member of the paparazzi? Or a much more sinister threat? Despite her suspicions, Goldy can't deny her fascination with him. When the press discovers her hideout, it's Pete who offers an escape route, but it comes with a price. Unwillingly drawn into his dangerous world, Goldy soon learns the reason behind Pete's secrecy--and her crush on her charming neighbor takes a deadly turn.


Kim Hornsby Kim Hornsby is an Amazon Bestselling Author of Suspense who lives in the Seattle area overlooking a pristine tree-lined lake. Motherhood and family-life are at the heart of who she is but Kim has lived enough adventures in her years to transfer her experiences to page for readers to enjoy. She loves it when readers write reviews for her books and is happy to give away her books to those people.

33 comments:

  1. Wow, what a story! Thank you so much for sharing! Your story is a good example of why I would never consider a ground floor apartment. As for the slurred words, I noticed I had this problem in stressful situations, so I'm afraid what would happen if something bad occured. Still, suspense is one of my favourite genres and look firward to reading your book. Thanks!

    natalijaDOTshkomareATgmailDOTcom

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    1. Thanks Natalija. I wouldn't sleep ground floor without a big dog or my big husband!

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  2. Wow! What a scary event!! I'm sorry the police couldn't do more...those types of "mischief" often escalate. And spraying your room with a garden hose is just weird. I'm glad that you were okay!

    Goldgirl149 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Now that I look back I wonder why the police didn't do more. The garden hose was strange. He was intent on hosing me down once he got in. Weird.

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  3. WOW! thank you for sharing such a personal story! Glad that writing this down helped you too! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. You are welcome. It started out as something else and ended up with me telling this story for the first time.

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  4. What a truly frightening experience! I am so glad you were able to fight him off... thanks for sharing your post with us!

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    1. Yes, Colleen, I often wonder what might have happened. And what his goal was.
      Thanks for reading.

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  5. Thank you for sharing! I don't think I would have handled the situation nearly as well as you did.

    mlawson17@hotmail.com

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    1. The thing is, you never know what you'll do. Hopefully none of you ever get the opportunity to find out.

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  6. sounds scary

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  7. What a terrifying ordeal. I held my breath just reading this. "Mischief"??? - I can't even.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  8. Kim, I really appreciate your telling us about that attack in your life and I applaud your writing in the genre that reflects your interest in strong heroines overcoming fear and adversity. My interest in romantic suspense is for a different reason: I like solving puzzles and mysteries and I like romances so the combination of both gives me "more bang for my buck."πŸ˜‰ Reading something interesting gives me relaxation and solace and entertainment all rolled into one great hobby. I'm glad I "met" you on this blog post. jdh2690@gmail.com

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  9. Kim, I really appreciate your telling us about that attack in your life and I applaud your writing in the genre that reflects your interest in strong heroines overcoming fear and adversity. My interest in romantic suspense is for a different reason: I like solving puzzles and mysteries and I like romances so the combination of both gives me "more bang for my buck."πŸ˜‰ Reading something interesting gives me relaxation and solace and entertainment all rolled into one great hobby. I'm glad I "met" you on this blog post. jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Thank you, Janice. I think most women who read mysteries would agree with you. Puzzles are fun to try to solve. And love makes the world go round so Romantic Suspense is a perfect read!
      Kim

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  10. Wow, that is every woman's fear and you lived it! Thank you for sharing it with us.. jwreinhold53@gmail.com

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  11. Hi Kim. Thanks so much for sharing. I was attacked and raped at about the same age as you were and I still sleep with a light on after all these years. My 2 year old son was beside me as it was all happening and I had to stop fighting as he tried to smother me knowing that if he killed me he would kill my son as well. We survived. I had knives around my apt. for a long time and slept with one under my pillow. My heart goes out to you. Oddly enough this was the basis of my writing my current series. Thanks so much for sharing.

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    1. Isabella: So sorry that someone felt he had the right to do this to you. I believe in Karma and am sure my attacker got his punishment in some form. Good on you for keeping a clear enough head to keep your son safe.
      Kim

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    2. thanks. I have forgiven him as I found that the forgiveness freed me. I'm sure his life has not been a good one... take care.

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  12. If any of you did not receive the book, Necessary Detour, and want to read it, please email me at kimhornsby at yahoo dot com
    Happy Reading!

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  13. Hi Kim,
    What amazing strength you must have had to get through something so horrifying. Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with your response to Isabella above. Both of your attackers will pay dearly for their acts of violence. In the meantime, God Bless both of you!

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  14. Thank you! We've all been through terrible stuff but the tricky part is how you rise above it.

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  15. Holy cow, Kim, how terrifying. I'd say that very well could be why you write suspense. I read one time that we like reading and watching scary stories because it gives the subconscious mind the freedom to experience fright in a "safe" environment... or something like that. Maybe your mind likes replaying those scenarios to affirm your ability to defend yourself. Good for you for fighting the guy and for confronting that memory here.

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    1. that makes sense Leah! The safe environment. Love that theory.
      Thanks for stopping by, friend.

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  16. People are responding to me on email about this. I'm so sorry that any of you have a story like this but it helps to talk about it, I agree. Thank you all for reaching out.

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  17. Kim, I have thought the same thing about living on the ground floor of an apartment, but a single story house has been my other alternative for years. My heart aches for you to have gone through this, thank goodness you survived. I would have died in fear, I have nightmares watching anything frighting on TV or the movies. I wish mean people were caught every time. If I heard anything out of the norm I would call the police, I would rather be cautious than sorry for someone else's who may be in trouble.

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    1. Agree. You think you would have died in fear but would you?

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  18. Kim, wow- what a terrifying, but inspiring story. Thank you for sharing it.

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  19. I am deeply touched by your story. You are so brave!
    Jan

    janet_kerr at msn dot com

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  20. Thanks Janet. Fighting back is an instinct we all have, right? Thanks for reading.

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  21. Wow, what a frightening experience that was. Thank God you were able to fight back and came out okay. The trauma though, I can't imagine. I guess that makes you more ...in tune in how you describe you character's stories.
    puspitorinid AT yahoo DOT com

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