Named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2012 Recently optioned for a feature film
"With prose this poetic, it's easy to forget that this is a horror story...more than a battle of good and evil, Ferencik's story is rich with layers, well developed characters, and moments of gruesomeness and tenderness. A petrifying tale of a chain of reincarnations." - Starred Kirkus Review
"Mary Shelley gave us Frankenstein and Erica Ferencik gives us Dr. Astra Nathanson in Repeaters
...This is one scary story that readers who like their thrills bloody will love." - Alan Caruba, Bookviews
is the story of black and murderous love, a cautionary tale that, in the hands of the gifted Erica Ferencik is often terrifying and truly unforgettable. You'll be riveted by this bold and brilliant novel." - Mary E. Mitchell, Love in Complete Sentences
is an original and much recommended novel, not to be missed." - James Cox, Midwest Book Review
"Astra is one of the most monstrous villains ever written." - Margot Huysen, Blogcritics
is terrifying new novel that takes you to the darkest netherworlds of the human heart. Not a book to begin at night if you need to sleep before dawn." - Robert Tremblay, Gatehouse Media
"A chilling, suspenseful, erotic read." - Chris Mooney, author of Remembering Sarah
"A wild read - sexy, scary and smart...a one-of-a-kind take on reincarnation." - William Walsh, Questionstruck
"An exciting new voice in horror." - Betsy Fitzgerald, October Run
"A riveting supernatural thriller filled with reincarnation, romance, and the vilest villainess this reader has ever encountered. Truly, a chilling page-turner!" - Jeffrey Thomas, Deadstock
From the Author
Q: What is Repeaters about?
Repeaters is the story of a young girl who comes back to avenge her own murder by her mother's hand. In my own life, my mother was at one point successful - metaphorically - in killing me. She erased my self confidence, my sense of self, of my own worth. She was that kind of mother.Decades of therapy later, I came back, in a sense. I learned that the best cure would be to not only become myself, but to not become what had created me. But I never completely stopped being haunted by the possibility of somehow becoming her. After all, she looked like me; we shared similarities: humor, intelligence. She was also not like me: she was manipulative, cruel, and lacked a conscience.Q: What are your thoughts on the mother/daughter bond, in particular?I think many of us are lucky to have one "good" parent, and I think you are truly blessed to have two normal, kind and loving ones. I also think that there is something especially life-shaping about the mother-daughter bond. If things are positive, you can grow a certain way: usually up and out, you reach for the sun. If things are bad, you're like a tree growing forever sideways, damaged by years of heavy snowstorms. And yet, as in many abusive relationships, we stay in it, hoping it will get better. I found that no matter how awful my mother was to me I had this yearning for connection, for some kind of recognition of my own good as a daughter and as a person. There is also the constant refrain: she's my mother, how can I stop trying? I think so many of us are in these terrible cycles with our parents, because they are our parents, regardless of who they are as people. Even with all evidence saying: this will never work, part of us never stops trying to create some sort of bond, even after death.Astra, who is the evil Repeater in the book, keeps referring to this bond. She keeps saying to Lucy, her murdered, reincarnated daughter: you can't stay away, can you? Q: Do you have any personal experiences with reincarnation?When my brother died at age 27, it seemed I would run into him about once a week for a year. After that the sightings seemed to peter out, but in the beginning I saw him all the time.My brother was very tall and thin, with blond hair with lots of cowlicks. He took his life in September of 1987. On a rainy night in October of that year, I was walking through Harvard Square, and saw a man in a long coat. He had exactly my brother's build, precisely his loping gait, his wet blond hair plastered to his head. I ran to catch up with him. He turned the corner onto Church Street, but when I got there, he was no where in sight.Days before Christmas that year I was having dinner with friends at Redbones in
Cambridge. Through all the smoke and crowds, I caught sight of a man with my brother's profile. He even had the same distracted air; the same way of talking with his long, thin fingers.The following spring, at a crowded party, I heard my brother's laugh in another room. I muscled my way in there and found a short, fat man laughing my brother's laugh. I knew it was wish fulfillment. That we seek as well as manifest what we desire, wherever we look, whether conscious of that seeking or not. Q: Is your mother still alive? My mother died in 2005. She had such an intense personality, a presence, life force, that no matter how sick she got, I couldn't imagine her dead. When my mother was alive, she used to call me every day, which was one reason I hated the phone. This was before caller ID, so I would just helplessly pick it up when it rang, my heart in my throat. At least she never copped on to the internet.Anyway, my mother died on a Saturday. On Sunday morning while I was in the shower, the phone rang. As usual, my heart sped up, my breathing grew rapid and shallow, fight or flight response ensued. I stood there, shampoo in my hair, frozen, just listening to the phone bleating from the other room. I had to calm myself, tell myself: she's dead, of course it's not her. But still, I stepped out of the shower, grabbed a towel, and went to the phone. I stood there dripping, listening to the answering machine pick up, my outgoing message playing, and finally, to the caller. Whoever it was, hesitated. The person's breathing was labored, just like my mother's was in her last days. After a good thirty seconds, they hung up.My hand was shaking so hard I could barely get the phone back in its cradle. I closed my eyes and forced myself to remember signing her death certificate the day before. But I couldn't help myself. The power of her will was so strong. She was dead, so what? She could still pick up the phone...Q: So that was the inspiration for the story?Exactly. If my mother could return from the dead, why not others? Why not a race of Repeaters? And why would they come back? Two reasons made sense to me: you return if your life is taken from you with violence, or if you haven't yet accomplished the most pressing of unfinished business: loving at least one human being on this earth.But being a fiction writer, I wanted to take it further. I thought, what more evil character could there be than one without empathy?Q: The book is very visual, almost feels like a film. What movies influenced you in the creation of this story?I wanted to create the quintessential evil female character. I think she is underserved. We have so many evil male characters, Hannibal Lector in The Silence of the Lambs, Freddy in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, Jason in Friday the 13th movies, your serial killer of the week - usually male. I've always been fascinated with intelligent horror movies, because that is what I grew up with: intelligent horror. Especially David Cronenburg, who is one of the originators of "body horror," or the physical manifestation of the psychological. Stigmata, I guess. Cronenburg did The Brood, The Fly, Dead Ringers, among others. The scene in The Exorcist where the daughter, Regan writes HELP from the inside of her own stomach, as the monster outside rages on, or when she's contorted like a crab and walking backwards up the stairs, are good examples of body horror: or the graphic destruction or degeneration of the body. Q: Can you share a bit about what sort of research you did for the book, if any, and a little more about past and present day beliefs in reincarnation?According to recent polls, 24% of Americans and 38% of the population of the world believe in reincarnation. In Repeaters, I mixed the Hindu and Western concepts of reincarnation. Hindus believe that there is no transfer of personality, only a transference of pure energy. Western thought dictates that the actual person reincarnates, including personality traits and memories. As sources I read books by Ian Stevenson and Jim Tucker, both university researchers. It took Ian Stevenson forty years to research over 2,500 cases. In his book, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, Stevenson documented each child's statement, identified the deceased person the child referenced, and was able to verify the facts of the deceased person's life with the child's memory.He also matched birthmarks and birth defects to wounds and scars on the deceased, verified by medical records such as autopsy photographs. The vast majority of the deceased had met some sort of violent or untimely death.The Sanskrit word "samsara," translated loosely as "continuous flow or passing through states," refers to the cycle of birth, life, death, and rebirth. Freedom from samsara, or of the cycle of reincarnation, is known as moksha or nirvana, which is freedom from existence in the physical plane. You will not be born again.This the state that Astra, after repeating over a hundred times, was trying to achieve through what she perceived as loving another human being. Trouble is, she got it wrong.