Sunday, May 13, 2012

Day 13 - Guest Post by Catherine Knutsson

Day 13. *sigh* It's almost over. I'm kind of sad now (although I won't miss the posting every day). :)

Today is more like a preview to a book featuring a guest post from the author. Catherine Knutsson's debut YA novel Shadows Cast By Stars comes out on June 5. This book sounds so interesting. I haven't read it, but if you have an ARC of this I hope you enjoyed it or you're reading it soon. Also, if you have an ARC, I'm extremely jealous. ;) Since the book doesn't come out for another few weeks, and since I haven't read it, instead of a Q&A (which authors seem to like) I've got a guest post/real life story from Catherine that's connected to the book. Hope you enjoy. :)

First of all, thank you so much, Lindsay, for asking me to write a post for your Canadian YA blog event! I’m really glad to be here.

Since this event is all-things-Canadian-AND-YA, I thought I’d give readers a peek behind the scenes, as it were, by relating a ghost story. Now, this is no ordinary ghost story. This is a true ghost story that I used in SHADOWS CAST BY STARS, and the reason I know it’s true is.....I was there.

So! I grew up in the Comox Valley, a little nest of communities about two-thirds of the way up Vancouver Island. When I was little, our family picked up and moved to the Middle East for a year (Iran, if you can believe it!), and when we moved back, my parents bought a small acreage north of the Comox Valley, where they built a house and set up a hobby farm. Right from the get-go, we knew this was no ordinary place. Weird things happened there, and by weird I mean...spooky. Things would disappear, and then reappear, like keys and coats and fan-belts and ladders. Cats would go missing, and turn up, um, desiccated, in places where they could not possibly get on their own. Our power lines would bounce, and by bounce, I mean five feet in the air. At night, we could here gravel being tossed across our roof, and once, lightning hit a tree ten feet from the house--the only tree on our property that just happened to have an insulator attached to it.

Coincidence? Maybe. But add everything together, and well, to us, it was clear something strange was going on. But, our family just went about our normal business, because, well, what else did you do?

Anyhow, one night, we were all out in the yard. It was dusk in the fall - late October, I think. My dad was up on a rise, chopping wood, while my brother, my sister, and I were riding our bikes in the driveway. Our dog was out with us, and all was fine, until, all of a sudden, the dog went berserk. He started barking and growling like a crazed thing, and then, took off up the bank, running past my dad, straight into the bush.

Now, something to know about the forest behind that house was that the bush there was thick with salal, salmon berry, and bracken, along with a century of windfall from old second-growth firs. There was no way anyone could walk through it without making a huge racket. The other thing to know is that no one lived behind us. There was a nature park behind our house, but the closest trail was about, oh, two hundred meters from our house. Now, we did have bear come through our yard from time to time, and certainly deer, but bear and deer make noise. Keep that in mind as I relate the rest of this story!

So, the dog took off and I remember everyone stopping what they were doing, because this was strange behaviour for our normally mild mannered pet. And then, about three seconds later, the dog screamed out of the woods, yelping, tail between his legs. A rock, about the size of a softball, came bouncing after him.

The dog careened into the garage, hid, and wouldn’t come out.

My dad, since he was chopping wood, grabbed the axe and pushed his way into the bush to see if there was someone out there, but with night approaching, and the fact that the woods were almost impassable, he didn’t get far. That was when he told us kids to go inside (we only went as far as the garage, because there was no way we were going to miss seeing what happened next!) while he called a friend to bring his tracking dog over.

Now, remember, if anything was out there, we would have heard it moving, since our garage was only about ten feet from where the woods started. But there was nothing - no movement, no wind, nothing to suggest anyone walking through the forest, nothing. The silence was one of the things I remember most. That night was eerily silent.

A short time later, my dad’s friend arrived with his dog (both my dad and his friend were experienced hunters). They took the dog into the woods to see if it could pick up a scent, and though they were gone for quite a while, they found...nothing.

To this day, we don’t know what was in the woods, but whatever it was, it had to be pretty big to throw that rock with such force. And yet, it didn’t make a sound when it left. Plus, because of the way the forest was around our house, that rock wasn’t just lying around, waiting to roll out of woods (not that it rolled - it bounced. The image of it doing so is ETCHED in my mind!). So what was it? A bear with opposable thumbs? A ghost? Something else?

Though I’ll never know, my bet’s on something else, and I have thoughts about what that something might be.

So, how does all this relate to SHADOWS CAST BY STARS? Well, Cassandra, the main character, has a similar encounter with a rock bouncing out of the woods. The difference is...she finds out who throws it!

Thanks so much to Catherine for writing this up. I can't wait to read Shadows Cast By Stars. :) (Catherine sent a nice picture for me to add to the post, but it seems Blogger wants to be stupid and not let me put pictures where I want to. Maybe if we're nice, she'll tweet it. ;))

1 comment:

  1. Why am I only discovering this post now? Oy...I'm way behind on blog-reading.

    Anyway...very weird! (I remember that part in the book, Catherine, but I had no idea it had a creepy in-real-life origin!)