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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Seconds from catastrophe

LIFE CAN change in a fraction of a second just through a chance meeting. It is, one of the things I’m writing about in my new novel, and it was hammered home to me yesterday when I interviewed a woman left disfigured after a chance encounter at a party.

She had been happily celebrating her birthday with her husband when she looked in at the party of a friend of a friend. This mother of four had been there only minutes when another woman suddenly leapt on her, knocking her to the ground, and biting her nose off.

Clean off. Right down to the bone.

She had to have her septum rebuilt out of cartilage from her ears. Her kids were terrified of her and had to leave the room at one point because they were so scared of her. Even now, months on, she is still having operations.

All of that misery was caused by a chance meeting – and that’s exactly what I’m exploring in my second novel. It is a scary thought that you can be simply going about your day to day business, not hurting anyone, when another person can look at you and make a decision that will have a catastrophic impact.

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