Emma Carlyle is my next guest in my Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog series. She’s here to discuss her romantic suspense novel, Lost in Manhattan. As with all of my Spring Into Summer Romance guest blog posts, I’ll be picking one winner (US only) to send a book to from my personal shelves. Leave a comment below to enter to win. Welcome, Emma!

Lost in Manhattan

I couldn’t remember any of the day leading up to that moment—

waking up that morning, getting dressed, eating breakfast…

Several years ago when my agent was in the process of submitting Lost in Manhattan, a romantic suspense, we received a rejection letter that stated the editor was rejecting the novel because the heroine suffered from amnesia. The editor insisted amnesia didn’t exist, that it was a condition made up by authors as a plot device.

This had to be the weirdest rejection letter I had ever received, especially since I’m a victim of amnesia.

One day in fifth grade I found myself sitting at my desk, an open book in front of me. At the front of the classroom Mrs. Sterbach, my teacher, stood talking about some battle from the Civil War. I stared down at the book, realized it was my social studies book, and I had no idea what was going on. I hadn’t read the assignment.

I was an A+ student, the class Goody-Two-Shoes, the kid always called upon to supply the answer to any question when the rest of the class couldn’t. It made no sense that I was totally clueless.

But I was.

I couldn’t remember any of the day leading up to that moment—waking up that morning, getting dressed, eating breakfast, walking to school. I experienced what I’d later come to understand was a panic attack. I sat behind my desk, trying to make myself as small as possible and avoid eye contact with my teacher. Over and over in my head I kept praying, “Please don’t call on me, please don’t call on me, please don’t call on me…”

Thankfully, she didn’t.

At some point during the remainder of the day I realized that it was Monday and the first day back after Easter break, but I had no recollection of the preceding week. Absolutely none.

Decades later, I still don’t know what happened to cause me to blot out all memory of that week. I don’t remember trying to figure it out at the time. I was only ten years old, and maybe I was too scared to say anything to anyone.

That missing week has always haunted me, though, and as an adult, I did try to discover what happened. When I spoke to my mother about it, she became very nervous and lied to me. She mentioned something about my baby brother, but that brother wasn’t born until the end of August. The timeframe didn’t fit. I knew then that she knew what had happened, but she refused to say anything further and took the knowledge of that missing week with her to her grave. No one else I ever questioned knew anything. Or they were much better liars than my mother.

I’ve come to accept that I will never learn what happened to me all those years ago. My only option would be a psychiatric therapy that has been known to plant suggestions more often than retrieve actual memories.

But don’t ever tell me there’s no such thing as amnesia.

Authors often incorporate some of their own experiences into their books. For me, writing about a character who doesn’t know who she is was a cathartic experience that has helped me move on and not dwell on my own missing memories.

More about Lost in Manhattan

In Lost in Manhattan, one by one members of the Montgomery family have died in tragic accidents. Sarah Montgomery, the last surviving member of the aeronautics dynasty, suffers amnesia and extensive injuries that leave her unrecognizable after she’s hit by a cab. Industrialist Trent Caldwell, a passenger in the cab, already harbors guilt over the death of his wife and now feels responsible for Sarah’s injuries. After her surgery, he brings her to his home to recuperate. Mrs. Kearn, his housekeeper and surrogate mother, sees in Sarah someone capable of bringing Trent back to life. She begins playing matchmaker.

But the Montgomery family deaths weren’t accidents. Someone harbors a deadly secret and using skills perfected as a youthful IRA operative, has systematically eliminated the family out of a need for revenge. Realizing Sarah’s true identity, the assassin now has one more kill to make in order to fulfill a promise made long ago.

Lost in Manhattan is an ebook available from the following vendors:

More about Emma

Emma Carlyle is the pen name of award-winning author Lois Winston. As Lois, she currently writes the critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series which has received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Booklist. She is also published in women’s fiction, romance, romantic suspense, and non-fiction. As Emma she writes romance, romantic suspense, and chick lit. Visit Lois at http://www.loiswinston.com, visit Emma at http://www.emmacarlyle.com, and visit Anastasia at the Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers character blog, www.anastasiapollack.blogspot.com.

Were you an A+ student in school or were you a rebel? Have you ever suffered from amnesia? If you’re a writer, have you incorporated your own personal experiences into your books? What’s the oddest rejection letter you ever received? Hope everyone is doing well! (I have been VERY QUIET online because I’m under SEVERE DEADLINE PRESSURE. 😦 But I’ve been thinking of everyone and dreaming about a time when I can once again leisurely browse blog posts & comment, tweet links to interesting articles, and share pics on Facebook! :-))

Thank you, Emma/Lois, for guest blogging today! The giveaway for this post ends at midnight EDT on April 27, 2013.