Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Tomica Scavina to the blog. She is the author of Kaleidoscope World and is here to share some information about her book. If this sound like a book that you would be interested in reading, please pick up a copy using the buy links at the bottom of the post.
• • •
A collector of kaleidoscopes and lousy relationships, Dahlia Kasper leaves her possessive alcoholic mother and moves from New York to Barcelona. In search of lost bits of her childhood, she starts living in an apartment where her father was murdered when she was four. As soon as she enters the apartment, strange things begin to happen.
Her favorite kaleidoscope becomes a gateway to another dimension where she encounters a ghost of a famous physicist from the 19th century who tries to persuade her that reality is like a moth-eaten sweater – full of holes. He needs her to help him plug up these holes and save the world from vanishing, while the only thing Dahlia really wants to save is her sanity.
This is just a part of Dahlia’s problems. An elderly cello-playing neighbor turns her emotional world upside down and her longing for lost home takes her further than she ever imagined she could go. To collect all the scattered kaleidoscope-bits of her life together, Dahlia needs to go through an intense inner transformation that takes courage and a sharp sense of humor.
Copernicus figured out five hundred years ago that we are in orbit around the sun, but Dahlia Kasper’s world was still a flat plate on a tortoise’s back. In her Dahlia-centric solar system, the sun had stopped mattering years ago. When? She couldn’t remember… She’d been told it was when she was four. Early trauma. Screwed from the get-go. Her father was shot under unexplained circumstances. A single bullet. To the heart.
While she dragged her suitcases along Carrer d’en Roca, sweat trickled down her forehead, temples, and back. She stared up at the four-story buildings with their stone façades and little balconies with sinuous, iron railings. Getting ready for this had taken years. Although it took her less than three hours to pack, her psychological preparation had been going on for far longer. A week before, she had announced to her mother that she was leaving for Barcelona and would be staying there for at least three months. Her mother was so shocked that she downed almost an entire bottle of Jack Daniels and sent her six text messages in a row: Luv u kid luv u lots. Plz dontgo 2 Bcrelona, the apt cursd, mattr soaks up negtive enrgy. U + me we gotta b tothegr 2 b safe. Yr dads in heavn, alwys with u, enrgy nver dies, u will pray + feel him near. This is hrad 4 me, crying, u r all I gt, see, stay hr, luv ties us, dont knw how Ill mnage if sthng hppens 2 u. Dontgo if u luv me.
Dahlia’s answer was more concise:
Sober up, Mom. Your baby girl is 28. I’m going. Period.
And off she went.
While disoriented tourists clutching ice cream cones were staring up at where old women were nestled among the hyacinths and freshly washed laundry, Dahlia came to a stop at the front door of the building where she had spent the first years of her life. There was an old-fashioned barbershop on the ground floor, where a swarthy, portly barber with a Dali-esque moustache was shaving a gray-haired gentleman.
“En que et puc ajudar, maca?” the barber asked, catching sight of her in the mirror.
Dahlia spoke a little Catalonian. Maca she understood. In Catalonian for Beginners, she had read that it meant beautiful. Her reflection in the mirror had her thinking that the barber had an odd sense of beauty. Pale and slender, with large dark-blue eyes, she saw herself as a blonde, longhaired grasshopper, the result of some bizarre genetic mutation. She was as beautiful as David Bowie in the movie The Man Who Fell to Earth. Though only after he’d shed his artificial skin, contact lenses, and wig and shown himself as he truly was – an alien from the planet Anthea. There were, of course, some guys who liked her looks, who had nicknamed her Pixie. Others found her strange, which led to her other nickname – Eel.
“Estàs perduda?” asked the barber, shaving a gray-haired gentleman whose eyes were shut and mouth slightly ajar, like a whale feeding on plankton.
“Perduda?… No,” she shook her head, forcing a smile, “I’m not lost,” she added quietly and pulled her suitcases toward the doorway. “I was born here.”
The door in front of her, painted a dark red, was peeling in places. Its handle, in the shape of a curving grape leaf, was smooth, polished by the sweat of countless hands that had been touching it for years, decades, even centuries. Picturing herself standing before that door, she had imagined that her memories would come flooding back and that she’d bask in the cozy, cottony warmth of her early childhood. But none of that happened. Her childhood was still a black hole. An abyss, in fact. A blank, staring nothing.
Dahlia turned the door handle and found it was locked. She reached into her purse and drew out a key on a Tinkerbell keychain. One key… Could it possibly open both the street door and the door to the apartment?
“Shit,” she mumbled, trying to turn the key in the lock to no avail. She took a deep breath, tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, and smoothed the wrinkles on her shirt and denim skirt. She would have to buzz one of the neighbors. But who? Vilar? Guariola? Maura? Ferran? Balda? Horvat? Between the brass plates bearing the names Balda and Maura was an empty place. On that spot twenty-five years before, between two round Catalonian family names, there had been a harsh, German surname: Kasper.
Dahlia shivered. Whenever she thought of her German blood, she’d go all cold inside. Her father German, her mother British. Enough to freeze your soul. Her therapist, Rosalyn, insisted that the chill she carried in her chest had nothing to do with her background, but instead with the early loss of her father and the unhealthy relationship she had with her mother. Dahlia, however, never stopped believing it had to be blood-related. Sometimes before she fell asleep she’d imagine a shimmering frost coursing through her veins. That would put her into a trance-like state, where the coldness turned to light.
“Balda,” she voiced softly and pressed the round brass buzzer.
That name had the warmest feel to it.
Ten seconds later she heard a blast of static, then a man’s voice.
“Well, uh… a neighbor. Do you speak English?”
“Yes,” answered the voice. “Which neighbor?”
“Kasper. We moved away years ago, more than twenty.”
“Kasper?…” asked the puzzled stranger at the other end. “Kasper who?”
“My name is Dahlia. Dahlia Kasper. I have a key to the apartment but not to the street door. Would you buzz me in, please?”
“Just a moment,” said the voice and then static again. While she waited at the door, she could hear sounds of a street organ from Las Ramblas. It was five o’clock in the afternoon, and Barcelona was moving slowly into its vibrant nightlife. Tourists were cruising along the narrow Carrer d’en Roca like sea horses borne by drowsy currents, while the pressure rose in Dahlia’s head and her ears rang as if she were at the dentist’s. After a minute of waiting, she started chewing her lower lip. Would Mr. Balda, whoever he was, open the door? Or was he old and senile and inclined to forget? No, his voice had sounded youthful. Maybe he was choosing to ignore her. Should she try the Horvat buzzer?
The lock clicked and the massive front door creaked open.
Translated from the Croatian by Ellen Elias-Bursac.
Kaleidoscope World can be purchased on Amazon.
Tomica Scavina (1975) is a psychologist, who, at some point in her life, felt that her professional life was squelching her creativity. She diagnosed herself as “overly normal” and returned to her forgotten love of writing fiction to unleash her creative streak. This resulted in three novels. Tomica lives in Croatia and for now the only one in English is Kaleidoscope World. It is a psychological thriller with elements of mystery. If you find anything “normal” on its pages, let her know – she’ll find a way to cure it. Find out more about Tomica on her website: www.tomicascavina.com
Tomica can be found