I’m today’s stop on Jennifer Archer’s THE SHADOW GIRL blog tour! THE SHADOW GIRL sounds like creepy fun, and the guest post Jennifer wrote up for IceyBooks only adds to my excitement to read the book. Without further ado, here’s a little bit about the book and a post by Jennifer herself.
Sometimes I forget for an hour or two that she’s with me. Sometimes I convince myself that she was only a dream. Or that I’m crazy.
For as long as Lily Winston can remember, she has never been alone. Iris, a shadowy figure who mimics Lily’s movements and whispers in her ear, is with her always—but invisible to the rest of the world. Iris is Lily’s secret.
But when Lily’s father is killed in a tragic accident, his cryptic final words suggest that he and Lily’s mother have been keeping secrets of their own. Suddenly, Iris begins pushing Lily more than ever, possessing her thoughts and urging her to put together the pieces of a strange puzzle her father left behind. As she searches for answers, Lily finds herself drawn to Ty Collier, a mysterious new boy in town. Together, Lily and Ty must untangle a web of deception to discover the truth about her family, Iris . . . and Lily’s own identity
There’s something mysterious about music boxes. Something haunting about the tinkling music. Something eerie about the tiny, twirling ballerina. And the box itself – a place to hold secret treasures, or hide them – is intriguing, too.
I got goosebumps while writing certain scenes in The Shadow Girl. One such scene involved a music box. If someone would’ve walked into my office and quietly said, “Boo,” I’m absolutely sure I would’ve screamed! I don’t avoid writing that kind of scene, I enjoy it. I’m a big fan of anything with a subtle eerie undertone – books, movies, music. The music box scene had just that undertone, and it was one of my favorites to write. And while it might lose some of its creepy-factor if you haven’t read the chapters that come before it and know what’s happening in the story, I hope this excerpt from The Shadow Girl gives you an idea of the sort of tone I’m talking about:
Once I’m in the shop, I turn on the lantern-style flashlight and set it on the floor. I don’t want to use the overhead lights and risk Mom looking out and seeing a glow streaming from the windows.
Dragging the toolbox out of the closet, I remove the violin case and the jewelry box and place them on the floor, close to the light. I sit in front of the case, crossing my legs on the dusty plywood planks, and open it. The sight of the instrument’s gleaming, honey-colored wood makes my pulse stutter. As much as I want to, I can’t bring myself to touch it again. What if I have another freaky vision of that guy? A part of me is terrified for that to happen. Another part wishes it would so that maybe I can figure out if he’s Jake.
Iris flickers inside me like snowy static on a television screen, constant, unbroken. Waiting. I raise the lid on the jewelry box. The ballerina pops up and gives me a blank stare.
“Sorry to bother you,” I murmur to the tiny doll. “I’d just like another look at that note, if you don’t mind.” Retrieving the scrap of paper, I unfold it, place it on my knee. A pencil lies nearby on the floor. Dad was always using them out here; he must’ve dropped it. I pick it up and trace the name ‘Jake’ on the note, wondering who he might be.
“You know who Jake is, don’t you?” I say to the ballerina, staring into her pinpoint eyes. Sighing, I give the peg beside her one twist. She twirls, and music trickles through the quiet workshop like water in a brook.
I flinch at the sound and reach to stop the song, but before I can close the lid, my elbow knocks over the lantern and the bulb flicks off. Darkness swoops over me like the wing of a giant black bird.
The music continues to play, weaving a ribbon of heartache around me so tight that I can’t move, drawing me someplace where nothing exists but the melody…where nothing else matters.
I’m unsure how much time passes before Iris brings me back. I open my eyes to the darkness again, and a sensation that I’ve traveled to a place I once knew. A place that felt like home.
Did you ever own a musical jewelry box? Do you have one now? Does it have a twirling ballerina? What song does it play? Here is the song I imagined playing on the jewelry box that Lily found hidden away in her father’s workshop: Music Box Song.
At the age of ten, Jennifer Archer made up her mind to become a writer. Then she grew up, became “sensible,” and earned a business degree with a minor in accounting instead. After years of trying to find her way through a confusing maze of debits and credits she realized that, for her, accounting was no more sensible than becoming a World Federation wrestler. So in 1993, she enrolled in a creative writing class, and five years later, sold her first novel. Since then, Jennifer has published several novels for adults, as well as numerous non-fiction works.
Jennifer has been a finalist twice for RWA’s Golden Heart award and in 2006 was a finalist for the prestigious Rita Award and a nominee for a Romantic Times Bookclub Magazine Reviewer’s Choice Award. Her debut Young Adult novel, THROUGH HER EYES, was an April, 2011 release from Harper Teen. She has taught creative writing and has presented numerous talks and workshops for educators, students, writers’ organizations and bookstores.
The mother of two grown sons, Jennifer lives in Texas with her husband and two dogs, Marge and Harry
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