Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.
Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn’t always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.
Hello! We are both novelists, but if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl’s sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn’t resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)
We’ve both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called “the Vortex.” One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: “My apartment is a pigsty and I haven’t eaten all day. #inthevortex.” We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there’s romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn’t that the case with all the best kisses in books?
Malena: I’ve lived in San Francisco since my twenties and have always had a small, shared living space—from an apartment crammed with roommates to a tiny studio to the railroad apartment in the Mission that I now share with my husband and son. So I’ve grown used to writing outside my home. I usually walk two blocks to my favorite café, where interesting people surround me (but don’t talk to me). I prefer coffee shops with inexpensive refills, but I can work anywhere. I think writers should beware of thinking they need a particular talisman or set of circumstances. It’s hard enough to find time to write, so the trick is to be able to enter the creative space inside your head under any circumstances: with noise, without noise, inside or outside, on a computer or in a notebook, for four hours or five minutes. That isn’t always easy, but with Sparked it was a breeze. When we were writing it, I always had part of my mind in Cascade, Oregon—I’d have major plot breakthroughs while grocery shopping or in Zumba class, and I’d have to rush to the Atlas Café to get them down.
I wish I could say I only write in handmade notebooks while sipping mate from a special silver gourd. Or that I had an inspirational quote on my wall I could talk about. Instead, I have nothing of interest on my desk and haven’t even gone to the trouble of personalizing my screensaver or plugging in my lamp. If this desk were a fridge shot, it would be a sad-looking container of leftovers and a jar of mustard. Tragic, isn’t it? But my little prison-cell desk works for me. When I’m at my desk and really trying to get writing done, I try to forget where I am and enter a flow state—that special zone where you’re so focused you forget when you last ate. Malena and I call this “the Vortex.” Other than having a kind reader tell me they enjoyed the book, the Vortex is one of the very best things about writing.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SPARKED, US Only.