Ghosts in the Mirror by Joyce Mangola
Sixteen-year-old Jeremy Riggs has lived his life in and out of the hospital. While the doctors are clueless as to why he lapses into comas, he is well aware of his unique ability to merge with a wandering spirit. With his own soul too weak to sustain life, it’s the only thing keeping him alive.
Waking up from a coma a year after being found at the county dump—next to the remains of the last spirit to inhabit him—Jeremy finds the newest spirit is nothing like the previous ones. It’s bent on revenge and has the will to take control over his body. With the police lining him up as a murder suspect and an ancient evil pursuing him, Jeremy must help the ghost hitching a ride in his body find eternal rest without seeing his own soul snuffed out.
Welcome Joyce! So excited to have you on the blog today.
Thanks for having me, Julie. By the way, I loved your book Crux so this is a real honor to grace the pages of your blog.
Aw, thanks. Can you tell us something about Ghosts and how you came to write it?
I love to say Ghosts in the Mirror was a NaNo project. It shows hard work pays off. On the flip side, it shows how long it took me to get this novel to publishing quality. I started it in November of 2009. It was one of the hardest NaNos to finish. I actually only clocked in two words over the finish line of 50K. Something was just wrong with the manuscript and I couldn’t, for the life of me at that time, put my finger on it.
It wasn’t until I put it on Scribophile, the lovely place I met you, that I realized the story was all over the place. Too many PoVs and it wasn’t catching the magic of Jeremy Riggs as a character. One thing I knew I wouldn’t do is go with the classic first person, present tense point of view. Even though it’s the preferred ‘voice’ for most YA, I’m just not comfortable writing it.
I did the edits and the literal cutting of several pages of Ghosts over my summer vacation. I had a big notebook in a binder with all the pages I had printed out. That red pen had a field day. Even after cutting it to shreds, I still had more work to do. In fact, a rewrote the ending because of the cover art I got once I signed the contract. It just proves no novel is ever truly finished. 🙂
I know exactly what you mean. The cover is great. I can’t wait to read your story.
A chill swept through his body, and Jeremy lurched up. Cold tendrils of breath seeped out of his mouth. Across the room in the dresser mirror, the ghostly visage of Beverly stared back at him.
The image wavered, and he tilted over to the side of the bed. Thick deep orange ectoplasm poured out of his mouth and into the bucket beside the nightstand. The nausea hit again, and his snack from earlier vacated his body. Frost formed on his fingers, the tips whitened crystal. He fought the urge to scream and buried himself in his blankets for warmth. He burrowed his face into his pillow to muffle the cries of pain. The sting of muscle spasms ran the length of his body. Sweat mingled with the melting ice coating his body, soaking his bed.
Had she left his body and returned?
His shaky hand grabbed the pill box and opened it up. Pinkie nail sized blue and white tablets rattled. He shook out the pills—one for pain and one to lull him back to sleep–and ate them, their grainy texture rolling on his tongue. He poured water down his throat to wash away the awful taste.
“Please stop it.” If Beverly heard his pleas, she didn’t listen. A whimper escaped the confines of the pillow. A clear vision popped into his head. He closed his eyes tight and snuggled deep in the blankets, pleading for his pills to knock him out. The spirit inside him revolted, and a kaleidoscope of colors exploded in his head. He blinked, the neon glow of the clock reading one in the morning.
Jeremy thrashed under the sheets. Flaring pain prickled his skin, a thousand needles poking and prodding him. His right hand ripped the blankets away leaving him exposed. He fought to catch his breath and sat up, his reflection shimmering in the mirror.
A halo of white surrounded him, ghostly fingers urging him to stand. Jeremy shook his head.
“No. I don’t want to,” he cried. His hands shot to the side of his head, the searing ripples of a migraine rocking his senses. He gasped as the image of a little girl, eyes wide in terror, sprang to life in his head.
“Help me,” her wispy voice pleaded before she vanished in a rain of black mucus splattering to the floor.
He staggered out of bed. His arm flailed to fend off an unseen force.
“Help me.” Her plea came again, and Jeremy jerked forward. His fingers brushed his nose, and crimson stained them. One foot flopped in front of the other, and he staggered to the basement. The door groaned in protest as he opened it. He eased down the steps and grasped the banister as one leg gave out. Cold enveloped him, and his teeth chattered. Down at the bottom of the steps, he collapsed to the floor.
“Please let me go,” he cried. “I don’t want to do this anymore.”
Whoo hoo! Want more? Check out Joyce’s blog here …