Today I'm proud to introduce you to Suzanne van Rooyen, and her new novel, The Other Me. Suzanne is a lovely writer-friend who's lived all over the world, from South Africa to Finland. (How cool is that?)
The Other Me
by Suzanne van Rooyen
Title: The Other Me
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Publisher: Harmony Ink Press
Release Date: 19 Dec, 2013
Length: 216 pages
Genre: YA, LGBT, contemporary
As Treasa spends time with Gabriel, she realizes she might not love him as much as she wants to be him, and that the reason she feels uncomfortable in her skin might have less to do with extra-terrestrial origins and more to do with being born in the wrong body.
But Gabriel is not the perfect boy Treasa imagines. He harbors dark secrets and self-destructive tendencies. Still, Treasa might be able to accept Gabriel’s baggage if he can accept who she longs to be.
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We sit at a table in the back. I head for the corner seat and so does
Gabriel. Propriety wins, and he pulls the chair out for me. He orders a latte
and asks me if I want to share a muffin. I’d share anything with him right
“So, tell me something.” He gouges his fork through the colossal
“Like what?” I take a sip of cappuccino.
“Something about you. I know you sing in the choir and that you like
aliens.” He smiles, revealing a sliver of inner lip stained blueberry purple.
“You read about composers, and I guess you’re Catholic, being at St.
“Um....” I take a moment to collect my thoughts, to quash the
impulse to tell him I think I’m an alien, to resist the urge to ask him if mybeing a Catholic schoolgirl is the only reason I’m here. Although the idea
of fulfilling some sordid fantasy of his doesn’t sound too bad. Bobby
socks and pigtails? For Gabriel, I’d do that.
“I used to play piano,” I say.
“How far did you get?”
He laughs, and the tension keeping his shoulders bunched seems to
drain, letting him slide lower in his chair.
“You going to study music next year?” I stab a blueberry with my
fork, hoping they won’t become permanent fixtures in the wires on my
teeth. Gabriel doesn’t say anything, his expression clouded by ineffable
emotion. “Sorry, did I say the wrong thing?”
“No, it’s just....” He slurps up latte and licks froth from his upper lip
dusted with the shadow of stubble. Damn, he’s gorgeous. “I’d love to
study music, but....”
“My father doesn’t approve.”
“But you’re like the next Ashkenazy!”
“I’d rather be the next Horowitz.” He fiddles with his serviette,
shredding the logo printed on the corner.
“So, what are you going to do, then?”
“Engineering, probably.” He doesn’t look happy about it, and I don’t
know him well enough to press the issue.
“I’m thinking of doing a BA.”
“Bugger all?” He grins.
I snort my coffee and cough up a blueberry. So sexy. Don’t think
I’ve ever laughed this much with anyone, let alone a guy.
“Is that what they call it?”
“So I hear.” He takes another bite of muffin before pushing the plate
and last few pieces across the table to me.
“I’d love to do astronomy, it’s fascinating, but I suck at actual
science. I’m good at history and languages, though.” Don’t want to sound
like a complete idiot in front of Mr. Academic Colors here.
“So BA history, then?”
“You want to study people?” He seems surprised.
“It might help me understand why we’re all so messed up.”
Five years ago
today, my mom died, and it seems I’m the only one in the family who
remembers. Even after all this time, I feel her absence, the ache physical,
kind of how I imagine an amputee must feel after losing a leg. You think
the missing bit is still a part of you, and it comes as a shock every time
you realize it’s gone. Only I lost an internal part of me no one can see is
even missing. Only I feel the loss, feel that huge gaping wound that might
suck me right down into the abyss, if I let it. Mom probably wouldn’t want
me chucking myself out of the car or getting stoned with Dirk or shagging
a girl like Karla. She’d like a girl like Treasa, though. Mom was a singer
“You know, she’s been dead for years, and I still half expect her to
waltz into my bedroom in the mornings with a cup of condensed milk
coffee.” I watch the family with the dog and the Frisbee, watch the mother
pick the little kid up when he bails into the grass.
“Man, that was the best coffee ever,” Dirk says.
Last time I had condensed milk coffee was the morning before Mom
died. If only I’d known it was the last cup she’d ever make me, I would’ve
savored it and not left half behind, too busy playing piano to pay proper
Damn Klippies, now I’m getting all dronkverdriet. I backhand
unwanted moisture from my eyes, and the snatch of a melody spins loose
from my imagination. It’s simple yet beautiful, music in a minor. If only I
had my notebook with me. I’ll probably forget the tune by the time I get
home, even though I try to catch it, humming the notes under my breath in
the hopes of remembering. This’ll be the first theme of my sonata. Finally,
I have something to work with. Maybe this is how all those great
composers did it; maybe I should do this more often: get wasted, get
morbid, rip the scabs off old wounds, and let myself bleed all over the
“You haven't been on a first date yet, and you’re worried about
kissing him?” Jordan sits on my bed, watching me fight with my hair.
“How do you know if you’re a good kisser?”
“People tell you.”
“I’ve only ever kissed one guy.” I twist and pin a strand into place.
“Really?” She looks at me in mirror. “Trent in grade eight?”
“Tell me about it.” I examine my makeup. It’s not much, but at least
the foundation quiets the riot of freckles across my face, and the mascara
accentuates my otherwise pale eyes.
“You need to practice.” Jordan swings her legs over the edge of the
“Me, of course.”
“You want me to kiss you?” I do a final twist at the back and jam in
half a dozen pins.
“Not particularly, but I’m willing to do this for the good cause of
improving your kissing skills.”
“Are you serious?”
She rolls her eyes and spins me around on the wheelie chair. “Stand
up.” Jordan places a hand on my waist and another on my neck. “Lean in
slowly and just let your lips touch.” She does, and her lips are sticky with
gloss. “Then you pull back a little and gaze into each other’s eyes.” We
do, and a startling warmth spreads up from my belly as she places my
hands on her waist. “Then you go in for the real deal.”
She kisses me, her lips slightly parted, and then her tongue slips
between my teeth and she tastes of toothpaste and strawberry lip gloss. I
pull her closer and kiss her back. Her fingers tighten on my neck, and
we’re getting really into it. Too into it. I’m not sure who freaks out first.
We both pull away and don’t say anything for a few awkward moments.
“You’ll be fine,” Jordan says as she twirls a strand of dark hair
around her finger. “You’re not a bad kisser. Definitely room for
improvement, but certainly not bad.” Her face is uncharacteristically
flushed, and her hands are shaking as she reapplies lip gloss.
About the Author:Suzanne is an author and peanut-butter addict from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance and music to middle-schoolers or playing in the snow with her shiba inu. She is rep'd by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Website – http://suzannevanrooyen.com
Twitter - https://twitter.com/Suzanne_Writer
Pinterest - http://pinterest.com/SuzanneAuthor/A