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Authors: Shana Mahaffey

Sounds Like Crazy

BOOK: Sounds Like Crazy
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Table of Contents
Praise for
Sounds Like Crazy
“Author Shana Mahaffey emerges as a talent with a voice all her own in her remarkable debut novel,
Sounds Like Crazy
. Holly is an Emmy-winning voice-over actress who walks around with voices in her head ... and they’re not following the script! It’s an inventive, eccentric, and ultimately healing tale of what happens when we keep secrets too close.”
—Kemble Scott, author of
“Superbly crafted,
Sounds Like Crazy
is an achingly beautiful study in grief and the harrowing process of finding one’s true voice in the midst of overwhelming loss. Mahaffey mesmerizes with her ability to bring depth to each voice while skillfully revealing the sources of Holly’s anguish. Surprising, compassionate, and heartbreaking,
Sounds Like Crazy
is, at its core, a story of triumph. Extraordinary.”
—Joe Quirk, author of
The Ultimate Rush
“We’ve all got that little voice in the back of our heads telling us what to do—and what not to do. Imagine how crazy-making it would be to have more than one! In
Sounds Like Crazy
, author Shana Mahaffey’s debut novel, heroine Holly has not one . . . not two . . . but five quirky personalities inside her head driving her to distraction. Holly’s desperate struggle with her voices and her out-of-control life make for a highly original and engrossing story.”
—Melodie Bowsher, author of
My Lost and Found Life
Written by today’s freshest new talents and selected by New American Library, NAL Accent novels touch on subjects close to a woman’s heart, from friendship to family to finding our place in the world. The Conversation Guides included in each book are intended to enrich the individual reading experience, as well as encourage us to explore these topics together—because books, and life, are meant for sharing.
Visit us online at
NAL Accent
Published by New American Library, a division of
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
New York, New York 10014, USA
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
First published by NAL Accent, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
First Printing, October 2009
Copyright © Shana Mahaffey, 2009
Conversation Guide copyright © Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2009
All rights reserved
The author gratefully acknowledges permission to reprint lyrics from “Badlands” by Bruce Springsteen. Copyright © 1978 Bruce Springsteen (ASCAP). International copyright secured. All rights reserved.
Mahaffey, Shana.
Sounds like crazy/Shana Mahaffey.
p. cm.
eISBN : 978-1-101-14539-5
1. Multiple personality—Fiction. 2. Dissociative disorders—Fiction. 3. Psychological fiction. I.Title.
PS3613.A34924S68 2009
813’.6—dc22 2009018140
Set in Bembo
Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials.Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

For Joe McGrath, Poppa, Uncle Joe, Joey, Coach,
Old Nut, K.O.D. (Kindly Old Director)
I was taught as a child to measure your wealth by the love and support of the people around you. As such, it goes without saying that I am one of the richest people on the planet. And words can never express how grateful I am for all the wonderful folks in my life who helped me go from thinking about becoming an author to actually becoming one, but I will give it a go.
Thank you, Scott James, for your unwavering friendship and support and for the San Francisco Writer’s Bloc. Also, thank you, WB members—Arlene Heitner, David Gleeson, Ken Grosserode, James Warner, Melodie Bowsher, and Sean Beaudoin—for your support, feedback, and insight all along the way.
Thank you, Doug Wilkins, for providing an excellent writing retreat in the Sanchez Annex Grotto, and for your friendship, encouragement and support.
Thank you, David Henry Sterry, Mark Evenier, and David Gleeson, for giving me the inside scoop on working as a voice-over artist.
A special thanks to my early readers—everyone at the Sandra
Dijkstra Literary Agency, Anne Friedman, Annabelle Fritz, Anne Rogers, Andrea Meyer, Alice Rennhoff, Barbara Trimborn, Billy Bosworth, Christian Schmidt, Colleen Mahaffey, Dan McGrath, Dave Viney, David Gleason, Donna Kopfer, Doug Wilkins, Erin O’Connor, Fabio Zurcher, Ingo Haussermann, James Warner, Jan Vaeth, Jana Brauer, Jeff Banks, Jerry FM Walter, Joan McGrath, Kathleen Edmunds, Kathleen McGrath, Kirsten Koch, Kris Tenhunfeld, Kristen Kopfer, Lorraine Gnecco, Lynn Sutliff, Martha Alderson, Maryanne Bushnell, Meredith McAdam, Rachael McGrath, Ralf Schundelmeier, Ralph Manfredi, Richard Gentenaar, Rudd Canaday, and Scott James—for your time, commitment, feedback, insight, kindness, and unwavering support all along the way; and, especially for helping make
Sounds Like Crazy
a better book.
Another special thanks and recognition go to Martha Alderson for whispering the plot of
Sounds Like Crazy
right out of me, and to Paul McCarthy for your early editing insights!
And finally, my heartfelt thanks and deepest gratitude to Kevan Lyon for your unwavering belief in me and my book, and for being the best agent in the world! And to Ellen Edwards for your kindness, support, insight, guidance and help in bringing
Sounds Like Crazy
across the finish line.
To my families (immediate, extended, and urban) and dear friends, more heartfelt gratitude, appreciation, and thanks.
Everyone I didn’t name—a simple thank-you that hopefully speaks volumes.
Ingo, for pushing me to pursue my dreams all those years ago, and so much more.
Martin McGrath, for providing the zany Pierce Street Compound; I couldn’t ask for a better place to live.
My Pierce Street Compound community, especially Annabelle, Katie, Lucky, Duke, Del, Howard, and Raphael.
My fellow Spartans for helping me grow up and never leaving my side. Pass the biscuits!
My brother, Brendan; my parents, Mike and Kathleen; my aunts and uncles, Mickey, Maryanne, Marty, Joan, Dan; and especially my sister, Colleen, for your love, encouragement, and support.
The Kopfers (Goo, Donnie, Dansie, Princess, Ne, Q, Johnny, and Ricky) for making me a part of your family and always cheering me on.
My urban family, Al ex, Alice, Alfredo, Andrea, Barbara, Chris, Dirky, Erik, Fabio, Georg, Jeanette, Jenny, Katrin, Kirsten, Kris, Lynn, Philippe, Ralfie, Sabine, Stefan, Svenja,Thorsten,Tom, and Turhan, for being the family I choose and always believing in me.
And once more to Kirsten Koch and Thorsten Raab, my two dearest and closest friends, for teaching me the true value of friendship.
Last but not least to Poppa, who taught me what is most important in life and who never gave up on me. Thank you for sticking around until I knew I could do this on my own.
I am truly blessed.
“For the ones who had a notion, a notion deep inside,
That it ain’t no sin to be glad you’re alive.”

y mother taught me that image is more important than reality. Everyone has secrets. If you belong to a family that keeps them, then you also have an unwritten contract that you will play your part in the theater of appearances. Trust me, I kept my secrets. I played my part. I did it so well, and I did it for so long, that the secrets I’d been keeping started keeping me.
I have five people living inside my head. In the order they appeared, there is the Boy in the red Converse sneakers—I can’t see his face, only his shoes. Next, the ancient man who spends all his time in meditation. I call him the Silent One because he’s spoken to me only once since I met him, which makes him the perfect manager of my spiritual life. Third, Sarge, who keeps me safe. Fourth, Ruffles, a whale-sized woman who sits on a purple pillow eating Ruffles potato chips all day. And, saving the best for last, fifth, Betty Jane, a modern-day Scarlett O’Hara who makes my life hell on a good day.
BOOK: Sounds Like Crazy
5.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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