Today I’m excited to introduce you to Joshua Winning’s new novel, Vicious Rumer – read on to find out more and see a special post by Joshua about the real-life inspiration behind the book!
Rumer Cross is cursed. Scraping by working for a dingy London detective agency, she lives in the shadow of her mother, a violent criminal dubbed the ‘Witch Assassin’ whose bloodthirsty rampage terrorised London for over a decade.
Raised by foster families who never understood her and terrified she could one day turn into her mother, Rumer has become detached and self-reliant. But when she’s targeted by a vicious mobster who believes she’s hiding an occult relic, she’s drawn into the very world she’s been fighting to avoid.
Hunted by assassins and haunted by her mother’s dark legacy, Rumer must also confront a terrible truth: that she’s cursed, because no matter what she does, everybody she’s ever grown close to has died screaming.
[Real Life Inspiration for Vicious Rumer]
Vicious Rumer deals with obsession. As somebody who suffers from anxiety and depression, I often find myself obsessing over, shall we say, the less ‘fluffy bunny’ side of life. And that’s exactly what Rumer Cross does in this story.
Don’t get me wrong, Vicious Rumer is also a noir-ish, comic-book-esque, candy-pop thriller that moves along at a breakneck speed and is shot through with glimmers of dark humour. It’s inspired by things like The Craft and Jessica Jones and The Maltese Falcon, which hopefully gives it a unique texture. But at the book’s heart, there are serious questions about the (sometimes terrible and untrue) things we believe about ourselves, and whether or not we can ever change.
Rumer genuinely believes every bad thing she’s ever heard about herself. That she’s cursed. A waste of space. Invisible. Some of those things she’s managed to work to her advantage, which is something I admire. The fact that Rumer is able to blend into the background makes her a great shadow for a detective agency, and I love that she figured that out for herself.
On the flipside, though, Rumer really does believe she’s cursed. Her mother was a mob assassin and occultist who died shortly after Rumer was born. Even though her mother’s been dead for almost 20 years, Rumer lives with the guilt and shame of what her mother did, and thinks that her own sorry life is sort of a karmic punishment.
Perhaps because I identify with her so much, Rumer feels like a real person to me. She does some pretty shocking things that I don’t condone, but she’s also sarcastic, fragile, determined and unshakable. I absolutely loved writing her, and I’m only slightly afraid of her. Writing her story was a sort of exorcism – I was able to confront the dark things I sometimes obsess over, and funnel them into something I’m genuinely proud of. I couldn’t have done it without Rumer.
– Joshua Winning
Joshua Winning is an author and film journalist who writes for Total Film, SFX and Radio Times. He has been on set with Kermit the Frog, devoured breakfast with zombies on The Walking Dead, and sat on the Iron Throne while visiting the Game Of Thrones set in Dublin. Jeff Goldblum once told him he looks a bit like Paul Bettany.
A geek at heart, Joshua grew up watching Labyrinth and The Neverending Story on repeat, and was raised on a steady diet of Whedon, Cameron and Lucas. His literary heroes include Robin Jarvis, Stephen King and Daphne du Maurier. As a journalist, he has interviewed some of the most exciting names in the film industry, including Jodie Foster, Ryan Reynolds, Charlize Theron and Christopher Lee. He dreams of getting Sigourney Weaver to yell “Goddammit!” at him one day. Joshua’s dark fantasy series The Sentinel Trilogy is published by Peridot Press.
Find out more about Vicious Rumer and pre-order it on the Unbound website!
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