Long and Short Reviews YA welcomes Q.L.Pearce. Leave a comment for a chance to win an ecopy of Spine Chillers.
Growing up, I was fascinated by all things spooky. The Florida island where I lived was ripe with possibility when it came to ghosts and monsters. Along the shoreline, mangrove trees atop their tangled roots looked as if they might start creeping around by themselves. They still haunt my dreams.
My friends and I were convinced that an empty home at the far end of the island was haunted. The yard was a mass of overgrown trees and bushes. The old man who owned the place would sit in a rocking chair looking out the window near the front door. The story was that he died in that chair. Although there was always a light on in the living room after dark, no one lived there and the drapes were tightly drawn.
One Halloween night we drew straws to see who would go to the front door and knock. I came up short. I remember telling myself I could do this as I crept up the walkway. I noticed that the drapes were open slightly at the lit window. I was afraid, but also thrilled. I peeked in. There was a man sitting in an easy chair reading a newspaper. I gasped and he turned in my direction. I never ran so fast! And it was hard to run in a homemade mermaid costume.
I didn’t tell my parents about my adventure. The odds are that there really was a living person in the house, a relative of the owner perhaps, or a real estate agent waiting to show the property. I’ll never know. But I was hooked.
In the nineties there was a boom in scary stories for young readers. I poured my childhood memories and love of the eerie and creepy into a collection of tales called Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs. It expanded into a series that sold in the millions. To this day I receive emails from grownups who tell me about how the stories scared them when they were kids.
Spinechillers: Hair-raising Tales is for a new generation of tweens and teens. The stories are for those who like to snuggle under the covers and read by flashlight.
The town of Saltlick Bluff is famous for an urban legend. Does the spirit of a young girl wait on a misty cliff-hugging highway for her ride to the prom?
In the house on Beech Street a terrible tragedy occurred. Now neighbors won’t look at the place as they pass. Those who live nearby draw their blinds and shutter their windows after dark. What are they afraid of?
Hale Hallow Woods seems sinister and menacing even in the light of day. Does a thirst for revenge beat near its dark heart?
The answers lie within these pages, just waiting to send a chill up your spine!
Enjoy an Excerpt:
Tyler squinted toward the edge of the wood. The boy in the dark suit stood watching him. He closed his eyes and opened them again. The boy was gone, but there was a soft clicking sound behind him. Slowly he looked over his shoulder. Two or three dozen crows were perched in the tree branches. They took to the air in a cloud of beating wings. Falling to the leaf strewn ground, Tyler covered his face expecting to be attacked. Glancing up he saw that the woods were empty. He rolled to his feet and ran.
His home was silent when Tyler finally collapsed on his bed and buried his face in the pillow.
“What’s wrong with me? I’m seeing things.”
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” someone said from the doorway. Tyler sat up, his heart pounding.
“You’ve seen him. Haven’t you?” Tyler’s grandfather said. “I never thought he would go after you. I’d hoped that after all these years…I never should have come back here.”
“What are you talking about?” Tyler asked. He had to curl his hands into fists to stop them from trembling.
“Andrew Buckner,” the old man answered. “I was about your age when it happened. Andrew Buckner was a frail boy. We…my friends and I made fun of him.” He looked down in shame. “We had a club, called ourselves the Champions. We wore a club pin…a super hero with a cape. It was a stupid thing out of a cereal box.”
Tyler’s grandfather opened a small leather box he’d been holding. Resting on the white satin lining was a plastic pin.
“Andrew wanted one of these more than anything in the world.”
Raindrops pattered at the window. In the yard beyond Tyler could see the boy standing by the hedge.
“We told him he would have to pass a test…demonstrate his bravery by sneaking into the museum at night. He had to go to the top floor and get one of the small stone gargoyles outside near the balcony railing. It started raining sometime during the night.”
Tyler caught his breath. Andrew Buckner was at the window. It was raining harder, but Tyler could see the boy’s blurred image. His pale white hand was pressed against the pane. His eyes burned with anger.
About the Author: Q.L.Pearce is the author more than 120 books for young readers, from picture books to YA, as well as film tie-in books for the Fox animated film Titan AE and the Universal animated series Land Before Time. Red Bird Sings: The Story of Zitkala Sa (Carolrhoda Books, with co-author and illustrator, Gina Capaldi), received several awards including a Carter G. Woodson Book Award gold medal from NCSS and a Moonbeam Children’s Book Award gold medal. Her fiction includes the popular middle grade series, Scary Stories for Sleep-Overs (Price, Stern, Sloan). Q believes strongly in the value of scary books for young readers. When asked what credentials she has which qualify her as an expert in this area she replies, “I was a child once. That was very scary.”