Trading Lives

Imagine signing a foreign name. Imagine severing contact with your loved ones. Imagine lying to every person you meet for the rest of your life.

Welcome to the witness protection program.

After much debate, I decided to coin my upcoming novel, Everything’s Not Bigger, a feel-good thriller. Catchy, right?

It was the only way to encompass a lost woman rediscovering herself after escaping a dark past, while relaying undertones of humor, romance, and inspiration.

Jaye Davis appears as a typical young adult, trapped in a materialistic world, working a job she despises, and hiding her insecurities. But there is more than meets the eye.

Her real name is Sigourney—Sig for short—a player in the witness protection program after a risky set-up gone wrong.

An excerpt from Everything’s Not Bigger…

Something was off. Birds chirped and the freeway hummed steadily; otherwise, it was too quiet at dusk, almost vacant.

Pick-ups were transacted in the garage, often through a cat door on the side of the building. Each customer had an assigned knock, orchestrated in a specific pattern for identification. If the rhythm was botched in any way, the sale was cancelled.

Sig worried muscle memory would break down in her moment of need, and she would be met with silence outside the garage.

She was unclear whether a failed mission meant she was free to go or not. She only wanted to do this once. Another attempt would surely cause her heart to rip through her chest.

“We’re right here with you, Sig,” Detective Garcia’s voice came through the earpiece.

She had almost forgotten they were there, and relished in a bit of comfort knowing the area was surrounded by Garcia’s team, ready for action. Although they were hidden with care, their presence explained the offbeat buzz. Call it instinct, but she could feel them everywhere, binoculars pointed and guns blazing.

She performed her assigned knock only to be met by a hushed audience. A fierce sweat dripped down her forehead and back. She could not repeat the knock. Once it was done, it was done. Sig was certain she had it right.

Noah wasn’t a big fish, because he was stupid. He was clever, evading police sharks at every turn, taking his school along with him.

In case she was being watched, she avoided conversation. She turned casually and headed back down the row of garages. She heard Garcia’s frustrated sigh on the other end of the earpiece as she strolled.

A gun shot reverberated through the garage corridor, bouncing off the doors like a pinball machine. She froze.

“Find some cover, Sig!”

She looked around desperately. There was no cover.

I wanted to reveal the permanent repercussions of a person who was forced to choose between prison and freedom at a price. She is flawed and torn, but a person with depth and purpose. She craves stability and assurance after having everything she knew—that which was comforting and familiar—taken away.

I was intrigued by the idea of someone destroying their own world by making a catastrophic, self-induced mistake, and dealing forever with those consequences.

A new identity would give birth to an impostor—no childhood, no connections, no memories. Relationships would be tainted by a fabricated truth, instilling a suffocating emptiness with no expiration.

Perhaps she would purposely get lost, pretending to lead an imaginary life in order to forget the pain. Because giving in would be easier than putting up a fight.

But, what if that someone decided to return to themselves instead of succumbing to a hopeless fate? What if she had the courage to forgive herself, to find herself, to surrender to the life that she deserves?

That to me is a brave soul, a hero of sorts, one with the potential for absolute integrity.

The one week countdown has begun! Everything’s Not Bigger releases November 10 to e-readers everywhere.

A big thank you to all of my wonderful friends in the blogging community who continually offer their beautiful support and encouragement.

As always, your comments and feedback are very much appreciated.

13 thoughts on “Trading Lives

  1. letizia says:

    What a great idea- you’re so good at building suspense in your writing. And I think the idea of living under the guise of a new identity is so fascinating. I was talking about it with my students a few weeks ago (they are in their late teens so ‘seeking out’ their identities) and we were talking about whether identities are something fixed or something fluid. Bravo on such a cool topic!

    • Britt Skrabanek says:

      Letizia, you just made my day. Especially with the release right around the corner…I needed to hear that. I’m so happy that my idea translated. Yay!

      I am very much into identity, and what it means to different people in various situations.

      In the end, I think our identities are both fluid and fixed. How’s that for diplomacy, right? But, I think our internal sense of self is constantly being challenged by external factors. Those times when we hang onto who we are or find ourselves for the first time are beyond magnificent. The trick is to maintain the “me” in the chaos.

      • letizia says:

        I agree, I think our identities are both fluid and fixed too – that there is a core identity in there somewhere but that our experiences mold who we are as well.

        I remember reading somewhere that our “true” selves (whatever that really means) are who we are when we are 9 years old. I’m not sure if I agree with that, but I’ve always observed 9 yr olds more carefully ever since!

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