Introducing Not My Daughter, the incredible new psychological thriller from Suzy K Quinn!
To celebrate the publication of this brilliant book, Suzy has very kindly answered some questions about not My Daughter from her readers – you can check out her answers in the video below.
Intrigued? You can now read a sneak peek of Not My Daughter right now! Take a look at this gripping extract:
Once upon a time…
The prince approached her, took her by the hand, and danced with her. Furthermore, he would dance with no one else. He never let go of her hand and said that she, above all others, was his dance partner.
The year was 1996. The band were Crimson. The lead singer was Michael Reyji Ray.
I’d never known a high like it. The heat, the noise, the rush.
A multicoloured sea of arms waved in the air, Celtic armband tattoos and wrists jangling with thin Indian bangles and knotted cotton friendship bracelets.
Michael, Michael, Michael…
The girls wore light summer dresses with spaghetti straps and DM boots. The boys wore Michael Reyji Ray ‘Psycho-Delia’ T-shirts, ripped jeans and Vans trainers.
The stadium smelt of beer, incense and CK One perfume.
‘There are no strangers here,’ Michael boomed into a golden microphone. ‘Only friends you haven’t met.’
For 13,000 teenagers, Michael Reyji Ray was God that night. We worshipped him.
The world had never felt so real. So awake. I heard the roar of the crowd, felt tribal drum music under my feet, saw colours everywhere. Rainbow flags fluttering on parachute silk.
Michael had short, bleached white hair and wore a black T-shirt, jeans and Ray-Ban sunglasses. His feet were bare, despite the cold night, because, he told us, he wanted to feel the beating heart of the earth.
To me, this statement was beautiful and artistic.
‘He thinks he’s Jesus,’ Dee croaked as Michael spread his arms on stage. She had a cold that night and was a begrudging chaperone.
‘Music has power,’ Michael boomed. ‘And tonight, we’re going to change the world.’
‘Oh, wow.’ I grabbed Dee’s arm, blinking back tears as we jostled against the cattle bars. ‘He is incredible. And he’s looking right at me, Dee – do you see it? Tonight is destiny. Michael Reyji Ray saved my life, Dee, I swear to God. It was his music that got me through cancer.’
My sister was less than impressed. ‘He doesn’t even write his own music – the rest of the band are the talent.’
‘He writes all the lyrics and they’re the amazing part,’ I gushed. ‘It was destiny I found that first Crimson album, Dee. I swear to you. And now I’m so close to him.’
On stage, Michael downed a beer. I took a large gulp from my own bottle.
‘Lorna, go easy on that stuff,’ said Dee, taking a bite from
her hot dog and adding a chewed, ‘You’re not out of the woods yet.’
‘I am,’ I insisted. ‘It’s six months today since they gave me the teen-cancer-girl all-clear. Exactly today. Profound, right? On the very day I see Michael sing live for the first time.’
As the night went on, I danced and screamed like a lunatic, downing beer, singing, holding up a light to the slow songs and putting my arms around complete strangers while my big sister looked on pityingly.
Dee didn’t get it. She wasn’t a Ray-ite. She didn’t get the depth and meaning and poetry of Michael’s lyrics. Those of us who did swayed and cheered and sang together.
It was beautiful. I felt like Michael was looking right at me, singing the words to me.
Live your life, little one. You’re a survivor…
When the concert finished and the crowds emptied, I needed to stay and get near the stage. It felt special – the spot where Michael had stood. I climbed right over the cattle bars at the front, watching the empty stage with big moony eyes.
Eventually a female security guard approached.
‘Girls,’ said the security guard. ‘Time to leave.’
‘We should go home,’ said Dee from the other side of the cattle bars. ‘Lorna, it’s cold. I have an excess fifty pounds to keep me warm. You’re skinny as a twig right now and still in recovery.’
‘You go home. Go. I’ll catch a cab later. I’m gonna hang out and wait for Michael and the band to leave.’
‘I can’t let you—’
‘Dee, he’s in this venue somewhere. I might meet him. Michael Reyji Ray.’
‘Never meet your idols, Lorna,’ said Dee. ‘I bet he’s even shorter than he looks on stage.’
‘I have to try.’
Dee shakes her head. ‘Come on, Lorna. I can’t stay out late. I’m teaching kids tomorrow.’
‘As if I’d leave my little sister. Come on. We need to get back.’
I pulled my trump card then. ‘Dee, meeting Michael Reyji Ray was on my list. The one I wrote in the hospital. Things to do before I die …’
Dee’s face faltered. ‘I’m responsible for a whole class of middle graders. I need to sleep—’
‘I’m telling you to go. I’ll be fine. There are no strangers here, right? Only friends I haven’t met. Come on, Dee, I’m sixteen. You moved out of home at sixteen.’
Dee sighed. ‘Okay, fine. Fine. But if you’re not back by 1 a.m. I’m calling the police.’
‘You’re the best big sister in the world. Always have been.’
‘Okay, okay. Stay out of trouble, little sis, and look after yourself. Take care of your body. Remember how lucky you are to be alive. You’re still crazy thin.’ She managed a tired smile. ‘Even so, you look a darn sight better than I did at your age.’
‘Don’t be ridiculous. You’re the most beautiful person I ever met.’ And I meant it. My big sister always looked like an angel to me with her cuddly, curvy body and warm, smiling eyes.
Dee laughed. ‘And you’re my best little cheerleader. Enjoy yourself. Okay? You deserve a good time after everything you’ve been through.’
I know Dee still feels guilty about that night. If she’d have stayed with me, Michael might never have happened.
But it’s not her fault.
Men like Michael are predators. They’re experts at luring you in.