Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date of Publication: August 21, 2014
Number of pages: 220
Word Count: 64,000
Annie Waters hates birthdays. At least she hates her birthdays. Because every year her mother told the story of her grandmother's ghostly appearance in the delivery room. But the worst birthday was her sixteenth--the day she killed her dad.
Forced to move to Shady Cove, Maine, Annie is drawn deep into the world of the supernatural by her new friend, Harmony. Now, tormented by an angry spirit, Annie has only nine days to unravel the secrets of the Caldwell School or join the spirit world herself
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/2fr-K7A9Bog
As they turned onto the school road, Harmony finally spoke.
“I think the ghost knew your grandmother. And…” Excitement crept into her voice, “He sensed your grandmother’s presence when we went into the Caldwell School. He might even think you are your grandmother!”
Harmony looked out the window. They were almost to the school. “I don’t think he can tell the difference. Which means, he thinks you’re Annie Mae Brown. And that scares him!”
Something came over Annie—a force so powerful that she couldn’t resist called her from the Caldwell School. She cranked the wheel, whipping the car into the school lot, then slammed on the brakes, skidding to a stop in front of the old school. She jumped out of the car and ran toward the building.
“Annie, what are you doing?” Harmony yelled.
Annie stopped. She didn’t know why she was doing it, but she knew she had to. “I am Annie Mae Brown!” she screamed.
“And I’m going to make sure the whole world knows your secret!”
The ground trembled. And with a deafening boom, the school windows shattered. Shards of glass flew toward her.
Behind her, Harmony screamed.
And suddenly Drew was there, knocking her to the ground, shielding her with his body as glass pelted the ground around her.
The storm of glass stopped and Annie looked up into Drew’s eyes. “Are you okay?” he asked, getting to his feet.
Annie pushed herself up into a sitting position. “I think so.”
“Stay here,” Drew said, then dashed into the old school building.
“Annie…” Harmony’s voice was weak.
Annie scrambled to her feet. Harmony was standing in front of the car, a piece of glass sticking out of her chest. Annie ran.
Her feet moved, but Harmony seemed to be getting farther away. And then she watched in horror as Harmony looked down at the glass.
“Don’t!” Annie screamed—too late. Harmony reached up.
Her fingers wrapped around the glass and she pulled. She looked down at the glass in her hand as if wondering where it had come from. A dark red blotch spread across her bright green hoodie. The evil-looking shard slipped from her hand and shattered on the pavement. Harmony dropped to her knees. Her eyes met Annie’s for a brief second before she toppled forward.
Annie reached her friend in time to catch her and lower her to the ground. “Somebody, help me,” she screamed. In the distance she heard voices. “Help!” she yelled again.
Her fingers felt thick as she worked the zipper down and pulled Harmony’s sweatshirt open. Blood flowed from a deep gash just below Harmony’s left shoulder. Annie yanked her own sweatshirt off and pressed it against the wound. Harmony’s face was white. Her eyes were closed. “Talk to me,” Annie cried.
Harmony’s eyelids fluttered open. “You okay?” Her voice was barely a whisper.
Annie nodded. Tears streamed down her face.
“I saw…” Harmony’s voice faded and her eyes closed.
“Open your eyes!” Annie sobbed. “Please open your eyes.”
Harmony didn’t move. The blood soaked through Annie’s sweatshirt.
“Please don’t die,” Annie whispered. She pressed harder on the wound. She could feel the ghost behind her. She looked back at the old school building, expecting to see the swirling dark shadow. Empty windows stared back at her.
She needed to get help, but she couldn’t let up on the pressure. Harmony would die!
Where was Drew? Why wasn’t he helping her?
“Drew! Anybody! Help! Please help,” she screamed.
A door slammed across the street. Footsteps pounded on the pavement, growing closer. She looked back at Harmony.
“Someone’s coming. Hang on.”
The bleeding seemed to have slowed and Annie leaned closer to her friend. “See, it’s slowing down. You’re going to be okay.” And then an awful thought crept into her mind. The worst thought ever. What if the bleeding had slowed because Harmony’s heart had stopped beating? What if Harmony was-she couldn’t think the word.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
During my sophomore year in high school, I wrote a creative essay describing my favorite spot on the Kennebec River. At that moment I knew I loved to write, but I didn’t consider writing as a career. It was just something I loved. I went on to become a nurse, and I’m glad I did. I love being a nurse.
But that itch to write a story persisted until I finally scratched it. I got serious about my writing about six years ago. That’s when I first considered myself a writer. And although I still love to write, I now treat my writing time like a second job by holding myself accountable to write consistently.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I started Troubled Spirits about three years ago. It took me a year to write and edit what I considered a final draft. In May of 2013 at the New England Society for Book Writers and Illustrators Conference I met with an editor to discuss my story. She encouraged me to give it some depth. Something to help it stand out so that it wasn’t ‘just’ a ghost story. Although I knew she was right, it felt like starting over, so I set it aside and worked on another story. Several months later, one of the members of my critique group asked me about Troubled Spirits. “I miss those kids,” she said. That motivated me to get back to work and I set to the task of weaving a sub-plot into the story. After a month of spending every spare minute writing I began submitting to small publishing companies and agents. Five months later after multiple rejections I received a contract offer from Black Rose Writing.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
Yes, I am an ER nurse. And I love it. As an ER nurse I work with an amazing team of professionals. Together we save lives, wrangle drunks and rescue splinters. At least that’s how I like to summarize our role. Because we are ready for anything from the most trivial complaint to the patient that rolls through our door with death hovering over them.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Troubled Spirits. Teenaged Annie Waters is being terrorized by an angry spirit as she unravels the fifty-year-old mystery surrounding her school.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Black Rose Writing. It’s a small press located in Texas.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
Usually around a year, because I work a 40 plus hour week in the ER.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Right now I’m working on Whispering Spirits, a sequel to Troubled Spirits. I’ve also written Escape from Dark Forest, a middle-grade fantasy. I’m polishing it up a bit before sending it out for another round of submissions. Plus I’m working on a YA fantasy that I use as a diversion when I’m stuck.
What genre would you place your books into?
Everything I write can be considered fantasy or paranormal.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I think I write in the fantasy/ paranormal genre because so much of my time is spent surrounded by real life tragedy. I know that my writing is an escape from some of the tragedy I face in the real world.
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
In Troubled Spirits, my favorite character is Harmony. She’s so passionate about the supernatural and absolutely determined. She is her own person and she doesn’t worry about what other people think of her. She’s not afraid to be herself.
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes! Because I’m a new author, I am a little bit obsessed with reviews. I’ll admit it. I check Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites almost every day to see if I have a new review. My favorite review was written by a sixth grade student after I visited their school. “This book is so amazing! I met the author when she came to our school and again in writers club, and she read a part of her book and I fell instantly in love with her book and made it vital to find it on my kindle. Thanks for writing this book!!!”
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
Ugh… I struggle with titles. As a matter of fact, using Troubled Spirits as a title was the suggestion of one of my critique group members and good friend, Jeanne Curtin (www.curtincorner.blogspot.com)
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
The characters in Troubled Spirits are a mix. Some are based on their personality, like Harmony. But not Annie, her name popped into my head before I even started my story. The rest of the characters were named by scrolling through baby names and being careful not to give all my characters names beginning with ‘A’! Although some of the places and buildings in Troubled Spirits are based on real places, the names are all fictional and pretty random.
In Escape from Dark Forest, I spent hours searching the meanings of names for names that matched the characters personality or role in the story. I think that’s because it’s my first story. At one point I spent days trying to name a bird!
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
At the beginning of my story, the only character that I have a strong sense of who they are is the main character. But then as I begin to write, the personalities of the other characters grow and by the end of the story they’ve defined themselves. Of course, I can’t just leave it like that, so during the editing process I tweak dialogue and add action tags to show their personalities from the beginning.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
I’ve never set out to write a story with a hidden message or moral, but I think the reader can find their own messages in my story. In Troubled Spirits, Annie feels responsible for her father’s death. Some of the story is about her battle with this guilt.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I’ve always loved paperbacks. I love the smell and feel of the pages. And then my husband bought me a Kindle. A new world was opened up to me! I could read at night without keeping him awake. And I discovered the ‘buy next book’ button and my heart belonged to the eBook. Although I do still love paperbacks, the convenience of having hundreds of books, one click buying, access to free books and easy late night reading is irresistable.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I love so many books! But, I’m going to say Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. And yes, I’ve read all three more than once. I also have this unexplainable addiction to Crichton’s Jurassic Park. I’ve read it at least eight times. And if someone set it down in front of me, I’d pick it up and read it again. So weird.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
Sometimes. But the book is always better. The worse book to movie transfer is My Sister’s Keeper. Changing the ending was not okay. My favorite, A Time to Kill.
Your favorite food is?
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
This week it’s Tess Gerritsen. Next week it might be someone else.
Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a YA paranormal novel. Growing up in Maine, Teri spent hours exploring in the woods with her friends dreaming up places like ‘Land of the Lost’, ‘Trouble Hill’, and ‘Paradise’. If she wasn’t in the woods, you’d find her lost in a book. And today not much has changed. She’s still dreaming up imaginary places, getting lost in a book, and sometimes lost in the woods. When she’s not writing you’ll find her saving lives and rescuing splinters in the ER.