By Ariella Moon
New school. New friends. New reputation. High school sophomore Ainslie Avalon-Bennett works hard to hide her Crazy Girl past. But as long as her best friendâ€™s disappearance remains unsolved, she canâ€™t shake the depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder that once landed her in a mental ward. Ainslieâ€™s tenuous control over her life shatters when her warring parents ditch her at Christmas. While they take a cruise to â€œwork things out,â€ Ainslie must spend the holiday in Palm Springs with her aunt and uncle, owners of a struggling Mystery School and occult store. Plunged into the world of fire fortunes, dragons, entity eaters, and an ailing spell book, Ainslie is well beyond her comfort zone. Then she meets a boy who spikes her pulse and calms her OCD. Â But will she lose him once he discovers her past? Or will his deadly secret, hidden in plain view, be their undoing?
I checked my watch. The meeting had started forty minutes ago. Nothing had been accomplished. No one had addressed the tote situation. My face warmed again. I shifted position. Instead of sitting against the wall with my legs straight in front of me, I sat crossed legged and hunched over my book. A tugging sensation rippled between my shoulder blades.
Thor glanced my way.
The more I thought about how much Aunt Terra and Uncle Esmun must need every cent the store and mystery school could generate, the more energy swelled behind me. Warmth radiated from my face. My whole body felt as if it was glowing. I tried to distract myself by flitting back to my book and my lengthy homework assignment list.
I couldn't concentrate.
Hazel had reached Aunt Terra and delivered what I hoped was the last pixie. She pivoted and spied me. The energy behind me compacted. It crackled with huge warrior/ninja/dragon chi â€” alert and ready to strike. The thought of straightening up and backing into it set the fine hairs on my forearms and nape on end.
Thor's eyes met mine. Our gazes locked, and I swear he did a Zen mind meld. Soothing waves of chi â€” energy â€” flowed through me. The brimstone stink evaporated, replaced by the calming scent of lavender and sage.
Hazel's gaze swiveled from me to Thor, then back to me. Looking buffeted by an unseen wind, she silently returned to her seat.
The corners of Thor's full lips curved upward. Two urges warred within me â€” the desire to leap across the room and kiss him, and the urge to arch my neck and breathe fire.
Thor's smile widened.
Ariella Moon writes about magic, friendship, secrets, and love in her Young Adult novels, Spell Check, Spell Struck, and Spell Fire, Books 1, 2, & 3 in The Teen Wytche Saga. Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students who mistook her for a leaning post, marred Ariellaâ€™s teen years. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. An author and shaman, she now lives a nearly normal life with her extraordinary daughter, shamelessly spoiled dog, and an enormous dragon.
Not everyone knows that I am a shaman, or that I recently worked as a psychic on a police case. My mother loves to watch television shows about paranormal activity. I tell her, “Mom, just come over to my house!”
2. Is there a song that really reminds you of your book?
“Yesterday” by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” remind me of Spell Fire. Both depict the ups and downs of life. Both refer to loss.
3. What was the easiest thing about writing this book?
The easiest thing about writing Spell Fire was the dragon magic. I drew upon personal experience. Dragons are terrifying, but the younger ones can have very playful and even angelic energy.
4. Is there a word you love to use?
In real life, I say “wow” way more often than I should. In my writing, my new favorite word is “migrated.” Once during an author school event, I overheard a teacher instruct her students to migrate over to the computers so they could finish a project. The usage struck me as odd. But once I had heard it, I couldn’t get it out of my head.
5. Any real or imaginary pets?
I have two dogs. Gracie is a Chihuahua/Papillon/Poodle/dragon hatchling. She resembles an Ewok. Avalon, my newly adopted stray puppy, may be a Maltese/Yorkie mix. Avalon entered my life the same week my new wall-to-wall carpeting was installed. Magic always extracts a price!
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