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young adult book reviews & more

Who's RAD? Saundra Mitchell!

A warm welcome please, to the lovely lady Saundra Mitchell, author of the upcoming Shadowed Summer which sounds like it’s going to be high on my wishlist, just because of its haunting topic.

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Random Q&A:

Come up with an anagram of your name. (It's okay, it doesn't have to make sense).
Cathedral Muslin. That's totally going to be the name of my 8th album.

Complete the sentence: The last thing that ever crossed my mind was ___.
... the fact that I could have an authentic, exquisite, summer hot, winter delicious gyro from Sero's down the street, if only I could convince someone to go pick it up for me (as I've already been out running errands once today and will probably die if I have to face traffic even one more time.)

If you could live during any time period, which would it be?As much as I love history- I'm mad for Colonial America, Elizabethan England, 18th Dynasty Egypt- I'm really very fond of indoor plumbing and civil rights for women. So if I could live during any time period, I think I'd have to pick now. But if I *had* to pick another time period, Ancient Rome. (They had indoor plumbing and civil rights for women!)

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the guest blog:

IN SEARCH OF EVERYTHING

130.

One thirty, one, three, zero- it was a secret code branded on the hiding place in my brain, right behind my ear, where I swear I could feel the raised edges of it every time I went into the library. 130, 130, 130, I had to walk past the new releases, the baby books, the strange new videotape section, the regular j. books, the grown up mystery books, flash, flash, flash- the light at the end of each aisle flickered- until I reached the furthest back row- nothing beyond this point but magazines in hard plastic covers that smelled of oily hands and distant rubber.

The light at the end of 130 had twitched itself to almost death. A half life- it clicked and ticked like a bee caught in a mailbox, and that was the music I heard as I greeted 130 in the non-fiction section of Warren Public Library. Ghosts and the Supernatural. I came to love the decimal numbers, the extra .4 or .209, because those were extra books- in between ones, new ones, all about real ghosts and ESP, astral projection and dreamwalking. Down in the dark 130s, I discovered poltergeists and the Bell Witch, telepathy and telekinesis- I found the world beyond the world.

Hauling every new book (and a few of my old favorites) from the 130s, I sat in the window seat in the picture book section. Burning away entire Saturdays against the glass, I devoured pages when they were painted with sunlight, or shadowed with raindrops- wanting to know what was out there. What was really out there. What was uncatchable and untouchable, except maybe accidentally, in a photograph you were trying to take of your Aunt Grace.

Everything beyond interested me, and I'd like to say I know exactly why. I don't, though. It's a mashed up wad of reasons, so crumpled, I can't pull it apart and say for certain which one is the most important. But my grandmother had ghost stories- like the time her parents appeared to her in a turned-off television set- that seemed as real as the just-for-family stories, like the one about her drunken mother driving the wrong way on the freeway, only stopping when her equally sodden father jumped out in the road in front of her. In my house, this was a funny story. This was normal, just like it was normal to cut the mold off a cheese to eat the rest, and to split a new gallon of milk between two jugs, just to water it to fill them both to the top.

Which was another reason, of course. We were poor and library books topped the very short list of the things we had. On the long list of things we didn't were: fresh clothes, air conditioning, real butter, a television, lunch every day, shoes with only our footprints in them. Carrying thirty from the 130s out of the library felt rich. The books had a substantial weight. It made me feel important to pronounce words like psychokinesis and aurora borealis and extrasensory perception. We didn't have money, but I had the wealth of knowing things.

So it's probably not surprising that so many of the things I wanted to know would take me away- my body and my mind. I truly believed if I tried hard enough, I could open a window with my mind. I had the honest certainty that if I shallowed my breath, and turned my palms to the ceiling in just the right way, I could slip right out of my skin and see the whole world. Tenuously connected to myself by a silver cord- it was always a silver cord, according to my books- I could touch the face of the Sphinx, or sit on the hands of Big Ben, or balance on the point that crowned the Empire State Building.

I wanted to believe that songbirds were messengers from beyond death; that there *was* something beyond death. My heart longed to know that even if this world abruptly ended, there was still a world to explore; that there was something greater, more enduring, than a sweltering townhouse on the ugly east side. And so, I don't think anyone will be surprised when they read about Iris in Shadowed Summer, sticky hot from an endless summer, turning her palms up just so, looking for something bigger than ordinary in her dirty little dead-end town.

Every story begins somewhere- mine began in the 130s. And I am still in search of everything.

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Ah, the library, such fond tales of it. And a fantastic guest blog to go with it (Ms. Saundra Mitchell’s curiosity sounds very akin to mine!). Don't forget to check out her novel, Shadowed Summer, when it releases mid-February!

Visit Saundra online at her website: http://saundramitchell.com/

7 munch(es) :

GirlwiththeBraids said...

Yeah, she is RAD! :)

Anonymous said...

Saundra rocks!

R.J. Anderson said...

A lovely sample of Saundra's sensuous, haunting prose! I've read SHADOWED SUMMER and all I can say is, readers are in for a treat.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Saundra on the two essentials for any desirable period in history!

I have also had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of SHADOWED SUMMER, in which a teenage girl encounters a ghost with a mysterious message. Eerie and suspenseful!

-JRH

WannabeWriter said...

Absolute rad-ness! I'll be on the lookout for Shadowed Summer.

Diana Dang said...

I have the ARC to Shadowed Summer and I can't wait to read it!

Oh, I have awarded you on my blog! =)

olugbemisola said...

Haunting indeed. Can't wait to read Iris' story!

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