When reality utterly fails you, there is always the comfort of the land of dreams. Chloe Valcourt, a tormented nineteen-year-old young woman, has for twelve years hovered between a daily life dominated by an abusive mother and an imagined alternate world that exists only in her mind’s eye. Can she keep track of which is real—and whether or not she is real, too? Schasm is the mind-bending young adult romance by Shari J. Ryan that mines the heart of darkness, where one young woman seeks light in her own shimmering daydreams.
A psychological condition has captured the body, mind, and soul of Chloe, and thrust her into the hands of probing doctors at the continued mercy of her tyrannical mother. As she struggles to break free of the grim life into which she was born, she continues to suffer the daily assaults from her mother and the dispiriting weakness of her dejected father. When Chloe unexpectedly finds herself drawn into a new, warm life abundant in love and romance with a kindhearted man named Alex, the escape at last gives her a happiness that she's never been allowed to feel. However, when hidden truths reveal a life that she cannot remember, Chloe finds herself lost between what is real and what isn't.
Blending extreme daydreaming, alternating realities, and multiple personalities, Schasm is a gripping tale that treads the thin line between a harrowing reality and the captivating terrain of an imagined world. As Chloe plays too close to the edge of insanity, her multiple realities clash, leaving her to question everything, including her own existence. Anyone who relishes a flight of fancy with richly drawn characters and surprising twists of plot will be immersed in the strange new world of Schasm, where nothing is at it seems.
Character Interview with Chloe
Q. Could you please tell us your name, and nickname if you have one?
A. My name is Chloe Valcourt, and sometimes I’m called Chlo, but only by one special person.
Q. Do you have any scars? If so, how did you get them?
A. I earned myself a few scars this year. After a nasty fall, I was unfortunately left with with some mental and physical scars.
Q. Who are the people you are closest to? Who are your friends? Does you have a love interest?
A. I don’t really have any close friends, sadly. Due to my upbringing and being hidden from society, I’m usually only the presence of my mother, father, and doctors. However, recently, with my frustration of being locked up as a caged animal, I seemed to have discovered a hidden talent— a form of escape, and through this escape I have come across a couple of long lost friends—one of whom became a friend I cannot live without.
Q. Chloe, where were you born? Where have you lived since then? Where do you call home today?
A. I was born in Southborough, Massachusetts, and I have lived there my entire life. Although, I don’t really like to call Southborough my home, especially since my heart belongs on the west coast, and that is where I intend to be.
Q. Where do you tend to go when you are angry?
A. Into a dark place—a place most people wouldn’t find themselves after a bout of anger. It’s cold, dark, and smells like dead rotting animals. I do what I can to prevent myself from ending up there.
Q. What is your biggest fear? Who have you told this to?
A. My biggest fear is to be alone—not allowed to live a normal life, and to be left as a ward of the state when my awful mother choose to abort me from this lifestyle that I already cannot stand. I have only shared my thoughts with Alex, since he is the only person in this world whom I can trust.
Q. Chloe, you look like you have a deep dark secret, would you like to share?
A. As a matter of fact, I do have a pretty big secret. It’s a secret that most people would not believe and few could understand. So, I think it’s best to keep it to myself.
Q. When have you been in love? Have you suffered a broken heart?
A. Well, I can tell you this: I never knew what love felt like and had never been in love before I met Alex. And I’ve learned that with every relationship, comes ups and downs. But in my case, I can never quite tell if emotional pain is real or just caused from the tribulations of my own mind. But the love, that I can tell you is nothing...but real.
Shari J. Ryan has always dreamt of becoming an author and finally decided it was time to pursue her lifelong aspiration by writing her debut young adult novel, Schasm. She has long nurtured a passion for art, reading, and writing, and those hobbies have become a mental escape from her busy life. In the past year, she has put her heart and soul into the creation of her novel, which has taught her that it is never too late and nothing is too hard. The author graduated with a bachelors of science degree from Johnson & Wales University and has written hundreds of articles for various online publications. She is married with two sons.