Meet Clara. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary secret…
Clara doesn’t think she’s special, until she starts having terrifying nightmares and hearing voices in the night. Then her great aunt, Selina, tells Clara something incredible. Clara’s a shape-shifter. But with this extraordinary, inherited gift comes a dangerous curse.
Clara thinks Selina’s crazy and dismisses her great aunt’s warnings but, no matter how hard she tries, the curse cannot be escaped.
Will Clara accept her fate and learn to control her new powers? Will she conquer the threats triggered by the curse – to her friendships, her sanity and, ultimately, her life?
‘Under the Light of a Full Moon’ is D.A. McGrath’s first book in the ‘Full Moon’ series. Introducing a captivating new hero in a thrilling fantasy adventure.
Targeted Age Group:: 9+
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I actually couldn't not write this book. Clara popped into my head as a fully formed character and I just had to write her story!
It was a sunny, balmy, autumn afternoon. In the humid classroom of a secondary school in a small town in the Midlands, a girl named Clara was struggling to concentrate on what her teacher was saying. As the warmth made Clara drowsy, and the teachers’ voice droned on monotonously, her thoughts drifted away into wishing she was outside enjoying the sunshine, instead of stuck in this tedious lesson.
She sat, staring out of the window, aimlessly swinging one leg back and forth under her stool and slowly twirling her dark blond ponytail around her finger, when her attention was caught by a bumblebee, bouncing off the inside of the window. Blowing her fringe out of her eyes she wondered idly why it continued its efforts to fly through the invisible barrier.
The more she watched, the more she felt sorry for the bee as it struggled to find a way out of the glass prison. There was an open window a few feet over and Clara silently urged the bee to move towards it. Suddenly, as if the bee had heard Clara’s thoughts, it flew at full speed several feet sideways, straight out of the open window and out of sight.
"Huh!" Clara thought. "That was weird."
“Clara?” Clara jumped. Her teacher was looking at her expectantly. Feeling a classroom of eyes staring in her direction, Clara blushed.
“Sorry, Mrs Fernley, I missed the question,” she mumbled.
The teacher frowned and opened her mouth to scold Clara for her inattention, but just then the school bell rang, signalling the end of the lesson and the end of the school day.
Clara breathed a sigh of relief and packed her things into her schoolbag. She followed her classmates out of the school building, across the grounds and out of the gate. The throng of children thinned as people headed in different directions with Clara turning right towards home. A few minutes later she turned the corner into her street and saw her mum arrive at the house ahead of her, with her younger brother, Peter, in tow. Peter saw Clara coming along the road and waved to her. Clara smiled and waved back.
When Clara entered the house, she was surprised to find Great Aunt Selina sitting at the kitchen table.
“Hello, Clara, darling, how are you?” Aunt Selina asked, pulling Clara into a big hug.
“Hi, Aunt Selina, I’m fine thanks. I didn’t know you were coming to stay.”
“It’s a surprise visit my dear,” Selina replied. “I was on the phone to your mum a few days ago when I realised I hadn’t seen you all since last winter. So I invited myself down for a visit.”
“Excellent,” said Clara, who was fond of her great-aunt.
Clara didn’t remember her grandparents, who’d died when she was young, so Great Aunt Selina filled the role nicely. She was plump and soft and wore big baggy clothes and had the most fabulously infectious laugh. She was also the most imaginative storyteller. Whenever she came to visit, she’d regale Clara and Peter with wild and daring stories about their ancestors. The children loved these stories and always wanted to hear more.
“Come and sit down,” said Aunt Selina to Clara. “I want to hear about your new school and what you’ve been up to.”
“Okay,” said Clara. “Give me a sec to get out of my uniform.” And with that Clara ran upstairs to her room.
On her way there she found Peter sitting on the top step of the stairs looking glum. Unfortunately for him, when visitors came to stay, they slept in his bedroom, and he had to sleep on a camp bed in his parents’ room for the duration. She could tell from his expression that he was not happy with the arrangement.
“Cheer up Pete,” said Clara and patted him on the head on her way past.
Later that evening, while doing homework in her bedroom, Clara mused on the story that Selina had told them over dinner. It was one of their favourites and was about a great-great-great-great-aunt who had a magical ability to shape-shift into the form of animals and had some wonderful magical adventures until, one day, she inadvertently angered some Gypsies who punished her by putting a curse on her.
“The curse,” said Aunt Selina. “Has been passed down through the generations to this day.”
And when the children asked about what the curse entailed their aunt winked conspiratorially and said, “You’ll find out one day.”
This response made the children squeal in delight and they spent the time they were washing and drying the dishes guessing what the curse could be, their suggestions getting more and more fantastical.
Of course, Clara chuckled to herself, she was old enough to know that curses didn’t really exist, but she was thrilled by the mystery, nonetheless. Climbing into bed, Clara decided she was pleased that their aunt was going to be staying with them for a while, so they could enjoy more of her stories.
Clara switched off her bedside lamp and lay in the dark staring at the familiar shadows on her ceiling for a while, before closing her eyes and snuggling down to sleep. While she was normally a good sleeper, it took a long time for her to drop off this night, and when she eventually did fall asleep, she had some thoroughly disturbing dreams. She tossed and turned, restlessly, and then woke up abruptly in the middle of the night covered in sweat, her heart hammering almost out of her chest. Feeling frightened, she sat up and switched on her lamp. She was breathing heavily and shaking a little and she felt disoriented. She tried to remember what she’d been dreaming about.
She had a vague, jumbled memory of being in a dark place where she was running away from something that was chasing her. That was what had woken her up. It was just a bad dream. Clara rarely had bad dreams and wondered what had triggered it. Maybe it was her aunt’s story, she thought; after all, she’d been thinking about it before she went to sleep. Although, the stories had never affected her like that before.
Clara lay back against her pillow and tried to relax. She’d woken up so suddenly, however, that further sleep seemed impossible. Instead, she slipped out of bed and tiptoed over to her window, which she opened to let in some fresh air. Leaning on her windowsill, Clara inhaled a deep lungful of the cool air and exhaled while listening to the wind rustling through the trees at the bottom of the garden. She heard the occasional car on the main road and the intermittent barking of a dog in a nearby garden. It seemed very bright out and Clara looked up into a cloudless sky to see a dazzling full moon leering back at her. An ominous feeling started to develop in the pit of Clara’s stomach causing her to shut the window and close the curtains tightly. She shivered slightly and climbed back into the warm bed. Trying to relax her mind into sleepiness she eventually dozed off into a nightmare free slumber.
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D.A. McGrath was born in Chester, England. She became hooked on reading and writing after winning a ‘Winnie the Pooh’ book in a school competition at the age of seven.
Now an Amazon bestselling author, and winner of multiple ‘Litpick Top Choice’ awards, D.A. has published six titles in the ‘Full Moon’ series, a contemporary fantasy series for upper middle grade/younger teen readers, and one book in ‘The Os-Nàdarra Gang’ series, a dystopian fantasy/sci-fi series aimed at young teens.
When not writing, D.A. loves going on adventures to new places and learning new things about the Earth’s past, present and future. On those rare occasions when the UK skies are clear, she especially enjoys looking at planets, stars and galaxies through her telescope and imagining the day that humans can go beyond our solar system and into the unknown!