The Black Butterfly by Shirley Vernick
Published Date: May 2014
Penny is furious, and who can blame her? She has to spend Christmas break alone at the Black Butterfly, an old inn at the coldest, bleakest edge of the country—the coast of Maine. This “vacation” is the brainchild of Penny's flaky mother, who's on the other side of the country hunting ghosts. Penny most definitely does not believe in spirits. Or love. Or family.
Until, that is, she discovers two very real apparitions which only she can see…and meets George, the strangely alluring son of the inn's owner…and crashes into some staggering family secrets. If only Ghost Girl didn't want Penny dead. If only George were the tiniest bit open to believing. If only she could tell her mother. Then maybe this could still be a vacation. But it's not. It's a race for her life, her first love, and her sanity.
About the Author:
Shirley has been writing since she learned how to hold a pencil. Her first professional publication, when she was a high school senior, was a pun in Reader’s Digest. The Black Butterfly is her third young adult novel, following the award-winning The Blood Lie and Remember Dippy. Her work has appeared in Cosmopolitan, Salon, Good Housekeeping, and newspapers nationwide.
Shirley is a graduate of Cornell University and an alumna of the Radcliffe Writing Seminars. The first paranormal novel she ever read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and it remains one of her favorites. She lives in Western Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters, and two frisky dogs.
The Story Behind My Stories
by Shirley Vernick
When Charles Dickens wrote, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” he might have been talking about the writing life as easily as the French Revolution. For me, writing is the most satisfying, frustrating, inspiring, maddening, and necessary activity of my life. It makes me who I am and who I’m becoming—a continuous act of creation and recreation on which I thrive.
So how did it happen, this love affair with writing? I think the first step was falling in love with stories. Growing up, I got read to a lot. It was a big part of how I bonded with my parents and four older siblings. Stories were synonymous with together time, with one-on-one attention, with snuggling up on the sofa on and taking an adventure.
I fell in love with writing before I even knew how to make my letters. As a preschooler, I’d scribble on a sheet of paper and ask my mother what I’d written. Mom, genius that she was, would study my scratchings and “read” lovely imagery back to me. That gave me the confidence I needed. Heck, if I could pull this off without any formal training, imagine what I could do once I hit school!
When I did get to school, I kept on writing. Every week in elementary school, my teachers used to have the class write short stories “using at least ten of this week’s spelling words.” In high school, I wrote for the student newspaper, took creative writing and journalism classes, and kept a big notebook of my own writings.
My first professional publication, at age 17, was a pun I submitted to Reader’s Digest: “Is a belly dancer a waist of energy?” I took one look at my work on the page of a national magazine, and I was a goner. It’s been writing ever since. First in corporate communications, then journalism, and then I finally took the plunge into my true calling: novels.
By the way, I still get read to, thanks to my iPod. I’ll plug in when I’m doing chores or taking a walk, and it sends me straight back to the sofa of my childhood home. It also inspires me to keep writing, keep creating, and keep growing.