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Everyone has a monster inside
GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY
2011 HWA Bram Stoker Award finalist for Superior Achievement in Young Adult horror.
By all accounts, 16-year-old Maya Blair is a typical teen-age girl. She hangs out with her best friend Lucy, has a turbulent relationship with her ex-boyfriend Stuart, and works at her family's restaurant after school. But Maya has an extraordinary secret - she can see, hear, and talk to ghosts. And when spirits are near her they revert back to solid form. She's what her deceased grandmother Elsa calls a Seer. For years, Elsa was the only ghost Maya knew. But that changes when the century-old wreckage of the Black Lady, a ship that capsized in Coronado Bay's waters, is raised from the ocean floor and placed on display in the local museum. During a school tour of the Black Lady exhibit, Maya meets Blake Hennessy, a young, fair-skinned boy to whom she is instantly attracted. Shortly thereafter, a sensual, gothic young man named Gavin Hamlin crosses her path, and she is equally smitten. Her feelings bloom before she realizes they are both ghosts - Blake, the kind-hearted spirit who cares for Maya's well being, and Gavin, the dark wizard who thirsts to finish the evil task he longed to complete 100 years before. To accomplish his nefarious plan, Gavin has to be human again. And for that, he needs Maya's blood. Now it's up to Maya, Lucy, and Blake to save Coronado Bay and the world from destruction. But time is running out, people are dying, and Gavin's powers are growing. Things were so much simpler when all she had to worry about was a date for the dance.
I don't write a lot of Young Adult horror, but I do enjoy it when I do. This one came to me all in one big dose – something I wish would happen more often! – when I saw a commercial for the television show "The Ghost Whisperer." I thought, what if she didn't just see the ghosts, but they became real around her and everyone could interact with them? And I decided she had to be a teenager, not a girl, because teens already have so many problems to deal with that having another one thrust into the mix really offered all sorts of opportunities for different story angles.
And, since it ended up as a Bram Stoker Award Finalist for Young Adult Horror, I guess I got it right. Which makes me happy, because as an adult it's not always easy writing for teens.