Hope has always been a bit of a freak. But when her mother crawls from her grave and her undead corpse goes MIA, Hope’s last thread of normal snaps with a vengeance. Enrolling in a militia-style school for monster hunters seems her best bet for tracking down Mommy-dearest and putting what’s left of her mother to rest.
But the stakes are raised when she’s partnered with three unique male recruits – each with their own personal demons to slay if they want to survive basic training. But does Hope have a true killer’s instinct? If she finds her mother, will she have the guts to do what must be done to save her soul? In a place like Le Manoir, all bets are off.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
This book was co-written with YA author, Dawn Dalton, a writer who loves the creepy stuff as much as I do. Our original idea was to develop a series of non-fiction guidebooks as if they were resources used by actual monster hunters. So, sharing monster lore and mythology from around the world in a creative non-fiction way. However, we soon found ourselves wondering about our would-be monster hunters and dreaming up characters to go along with the guidebooks. And had way too much fun. We quickly shifted gears and decided to write about a group of teens learning to use the guidebooks as new recruits within a secret monster-hunter organization: the Most-Wanted Monsters Organization.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
We had already developed a method of grouping monsters – by suits in a deck of cards. Hearts for gods/goddesses, saints/angels, Diamonds for the fey and fantastical, Spades for the undead, Clubs for the shapeshifters. From there we looked at the overall traits of each suit and created characters to match. Our four young recruits / main characters are assigned together as Unit Wild, and because of their clashing personalities – there’s conflict on every page.
Hope wound her way down the narrow passage of Rue du Trésor and its open-air gallery in which every would-be Picasso displayed their wares. In the distance, the illuminated spires of the historic Château Frontenac.
The gothic romance of the night failed to put her under its spell. Hope through a costumed pack of knights, their armored arms raised in cheer, overflowing pints in their hands. Passing one of the burlier men, her bare elbow struck against his metal breastplate with a dull thunk. He reached for her wrist and held it.
“Are ye okay, princess?”
Hope yanked away, her backpack slipping from her shoulder. She hoisted it back in place with an angry huff. Like hell she’d be mistaken for a damsel in distress. Even human monsters preyed on the weak. She lifted her gaze to glare at the knight, but instead caught a glimpse of a slithering, dark mass behind him. Its arms and legs moved like demon tentacles, wrapping themselves around the dark shadows of night, as though searching…but for what?
A cold chill inched along Hope’s spine despite the August heat. In this gothic playground, the undead had finally come out to play.
She licked her lips against sudden dry mouth and wiped a teardrop of sweat from her forehead.
It doesn’t know you can see it.
You’re safe, just don’t look.
Judith Graves has multiple young adult novels and short stories published with Leap Books, Orca Book Publishers, Compass Press, and, under the pen name, Judith Tewes, is also published with Bloomsbury Spark. In addition, Judith is an award-winning screenwriter and playwright, writes freelance articles for literary magazines, and facilitates writing workshops for both adults and young adults. She lives in northern Alberta with her husband and their three crazy labs.
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