Torn apart by the tragedy. Thrown back together ten years later by destiny… Isla and Ben were just sixteen when the Boxing Day tsunami ripped through their beach resort in Thailand. Just days after forming a life-changing bond, both were missing and presumed dead.
Based on real life events, The Day of the Wave is a story of healing, learning to let go, and figuring out when to hold on with everything you have left.
The karaoke guy catches me on the way to the bar, and again on my way back with the fresh bucket. ‘I’ve seen you two trying to keep it on the down-low,’ he says, beaming. He’s huge, hot and sweaty and sounds like he’s from Essex. His beer belly is bloating out under the ubiquitous Chang T-shirt. He’s boozed up outside and in. ‘I’m putting you down for Endless Love – the Mariah Carey version, yeah?’
‘Um, no,’ I say. ‘Don’t do that, buddy.’
‘Ah, come on, we need a duet!’
I tell him no again, go put the bucket back down on the table. Izzy’s smiling lopsidedly. ‘Is he going to make us sing?’
‘I hope not!’
She’s buzzed already, I can see it in her eyes. She’s luminous in pinks and greens and sparkles from the lights and the glitter ball. Three girls are dancing, holding a bucket each, wearing nothing but bikinis and sarongs. I’m guessing they’ve been in here since the rain started, straight off the beach.
‘You know,’ Izzy says, contemplatively, watching them twirling each other round in an epileptic’s nightmare, ‘if you’re in London while I’m there I’m going to take you to this deli near my office. They have the best hot cross buns, you need to try them.’
‘Hot cross buns?’ I say, drawn to her mouth again.
‘Usually they’re an Easter thing in Britain,’ she says, ‘but this place has them all the time, we go there most days. It’s near Covent Garden. You’d love it. You’d love London. I can’t believe you haven’t been.’
She talks and I lose myself in her voice, the way I did when I first met her. I don’t know what the hell hot cross buns are, but she makes them sound like something I could feast on and live inside and be happy with for the rest of my life. I can see her coming back more every day; the confident her, the vibrant her, the adventurous her. I imagine walking round London with her, holding her hand, riding one of those big red buses and taking photos of Big Ben. I’d be little Ben next to Big Ben; that’s what she’d say. I smile. I’ve zoned out. Damn, this rum is strong.
We’re halfway through the second bucket when our names are called – or rather, ‘Girl in green dress, guy in green shirt! Get up here!’ We look at each other, only just realizing our colors match.
‘I can’t sing,’ Izzy says now. Her tongue is pink from the juice.
‘Can’t because you’re full of rum?’ I laugh.
‘Can’t because I really can’t!’
She tries to cover her face and bury her head in her arms but everyone’s cheering for us now, stomping on the floor, clapping their hands. The three girls are wolf-whistling and one of them has taken off her sarong so she’s literally standing on the dance floor in her bikini, doing some kind of weird hippy welcome dance as she beckons us forwards with her hands.
‘OK, OK, come on,’ I say, holding my hand out to Izzy. She groans dramatically as she lets me pull her up but we’re both grinning like drunken idiots three seconds later when we get to the mics. The music’s already started. It’s a slow one but it doesn’t stop the buzz in the room.
My love, there’s only you in my life. The only thing that’s right.
My first love, you’re every breath that I take, you’re every step I make.
The rum’s rolling round in my brain but I can see it’s getting to Izzy, more than me. She can protest all she wants but she’s animated now, like she hasn’t had this much fun in forever. Maybe she hasn’t. She reaches for my hand. I twirl her around obligingly, like we’re doing a slow dance. She gets caught for a second in the mic wire and I help her untangle herself as she cracks up, still singing, while the room whistles and whoops and dances.
‘Another drink?’ a guy from the bar asks us. Obviously he thinks we’re too sober.
I pause. ‘I don’t think so…’
‘Yes please, we’ll have one more,’ Izzy cuts in. ‘And maybe one more after that.’
‘Are you trying to get me drunk now?’ I say.
‘It was your idea!’ She sticks out her pink tongue, spins again next to me in a kaleidoscope of color and in my mind I’m pulling her in and kissing her sugary lips. In my mind I’m carrying her right out of this bar and right back to that bed.
Two hearts. Two hearts that beat as one. Our lives have just begun…
My love, my love, my love, my endless love.
No. What good would ever come from me starting something? Nothing good at all. But Izzy is another tsunami. She’s sweeping me up, faster and faster now and I’m not entirely sure how long I can fight.
Question For the Author
Discuss the best advice you were ever given as a writer. How has this advice reflected in your writing?
Hi! Thanks so much for having me on the blog and for supporting The Day Of The Wave!
Great question, and there’s most definitely one piece of advice that stands out here! I was lucky enough to be signed by the agent who represented the late Bryce Courtenay. He’s one of Australia’s best-selling authors, most well known for his book The Power of One, which was turned into a movie.
I went to an event at his beautiful home in Sydney shortly after my first book, a travel memoir called Burqalicious – The Dubai Diaries was published by HarperCollins. He was such an inspiration and made an effort to go around the room and talk to everyone. He knew about my book, and he came right up to me, all smiles and told me, “remember Becky, if you want to sell books, you have to be commercial.”
It sounds a bit bizarre now, because at the time I only really cared about being signed by a mainstream publisher. Nothing else had crossed my mind – I was a bit naive and new to it all. But it turned out to be great advice in a constantly changing market.
It’s not ideal, no. We want to hear that we should write whatever we damn well want to write, but if you’re in it to make a living from your art, you won’t make any money from your books if you’re not writing the stuff people want to read, and learning how to market it properly. That goes for whether you’re traditionally published, or self-published as I am now.
I had to spend a lot of time learning how to crack the e-book market with Amazon. I researched what people were reading and figured out what I could write, and enjoy writing, that might fit into the market.
I invest more time in marketing than I do writing some months but I’m new to the game and still figuring things out. Whenever I write now, and whenever I get a nice book review or email on a book I’ve written that someone has enjoyed, I always remember the amazing Bryce Courtenay – he was truly an incredible writer and a wonderful, inspiring man.
About The Author
Becky Wicks is mostly powered by coffee. She had three travel memoirs published by HarperCollins before going the indie route. Her first book in the Starstruck Series, ‘Before He Was Famous’ recently reached #1 in Amazon’s Coming of Age and New Adult & College categories. The second in the series, ‘Before He Was Gone’, and the third, ‘Before He Was A Secret’ are both out now along with ‘The Day Of The Wave’ – a romance based around the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
Becky blogs most days at beckywicks.com and always welcomes distractions on Twitter: @bex_wicks (especially if you have cat photos)
Buy link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00WT6SBZY
Becky will be awarding a $50 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.