RADIANT BY CHRISTINA DALEY
Publication date: February 12th 2013
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Mary is part Vietnamese. Carter is a complete jerk. Normally, they don't talk much.
But when Mary's in an accident on the way to school one morning, Carter nearly dies saving her life. The doctors say his chances of living are slim, and Mary's feeling the full weight of survivor's guilt.
However, Carter's back at school in a matter of days, as if nothing had happened. Although, he is a little "glitchy," and he's developed a sudden and intense interest in Mary. She thinks he's suffering from major brain trauma from the accident. Or that he's been possessed.
As it so happens, Carter really is possessed. And the thing controlling him is having the time of its life learning to be human.
Featuring a diverse cast of characters, RADIANT is a funny "paranormal-lite" story about being human, being in love, and being healed.
A voice called to her. It seemed close, and it was getting louder as the pain got sharper. "Hey? Hey! Are you all right?" it asked.
Mary blinked several times before she could finally see again. She was in the middle of the street. The cars had stopped and people on the sidewalk were staring.
"Are you all right?" the voice asked again. It was coming from a man wearing some type of uniform.
"What ?" Mary tried to say more, but her voice suddenly stopped working.
"Careful," he said as he helped her up. "Looks like you can move all right. Here, let's get you out of the street."
He helped her over to the sidewalk. "Stay here. Someone's calling the paramedics." And then he was gone.
Mary sat there, still in a daze. She started noticing familiar stuff all over the ground--an open book bag, books, folders, unused tampons, a shoe, and an apple with one bite mark. Her eyes followed the trail of debris to a brilliant red sports car, half of which was smashed in by a city bus.
What had happened? Mary studied the whole scene, trying to puzzle together the pieces. Then it dawned on her. The car had hit her. Not intentionally. She had run in front of the bus without knowing it. It was about to hit her, but the car had gotten in the way first. It had saved her life.
Mary thought about looking in the car. Then her feet sorta moved without her meaning them to, and she made her way to the passenger door. She recognized the person inside. Carter. She knew his last name, but she couldn't think of what it was. He was slumped over the seat with blood oozing all over his face. His eyes were shut.
Mary knocked on the window. The tears in her hand stung.
She beat the window with her fist.
Mary stared. She couldn't believe it. On any other day, she wouldn't exchange two words with this guy. Just yesterday, he nearly mowed down an elderly couple while driving out of the school lot. Mary had secretly wished he'd be taught a lesson. But she didn't mean this.
She tried the door handle, but it was still locked. Suddenly, Carter's eyes flickered opened. He looked straight at her.
Mary gasped and pressed her face against the window.
Carter's eyes closed.
She stared at him, waiting for him to open them again. Waiting for any sign of life. But he was still like he was before.
Hands suddenly took hold of Mary, pulling her away from the car. Her feet moved on their own again. Someone was yelling "Miss" a lot. Parts of her brain found other noises too, like sirens, voices, beeping, and other things. The hands directed her to sit on something hard and cold.
"Miss? Can you hear me? Can you tell me your name?"
Mary didn't answer. She still hadn't found her voice, and her mind was fuzzy, too.
"Is that her bag there? Does she have a driver's license?"
A different person spoke. "No license, but I found a student ID. Her name's Mary Phan. She's seventeen and a junior here at Lewis Prep."
Mary heard a third voice. "I just talked with some of the kids on the sidewalk. One of them said her mom's a nurse at the memorial hospital."
"Find out how to contact the mom. Anyone see what happened?"
"Cops are questioning witnesses right now. Looks like she ran in front of the bus. It would've nailed her if that sportster hadn't gotten in the way."
"Anything on the bus or the driver of the car?"
"Everyone on the bus looks fine. The car belongs to a kid named Carter Maxwell. Also a junior." A sigh. "I wouldn't hold my breath. He looks really bad in there."
Mary tuned out everything else. All sights. All sounds. The only thing she could see in her mind was Carter staring at her.
1. WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR RADIANT?I was working on another book called Seranfyll at the time, but I ran out of ideas about 20 pages into it and set it aside. I then came across these random science articles--some were about comets and others were about health, for instance. I can't remember where the possessing idea came from, but I started to wonder what it would be like for a person to almost die and then get possessed by something that wasn't a ghost or an alien. The story grew from there into Radiant. After I got Radiant out of my system, I came back to Seranfyll and finished that as well.
2. DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER WORKS IN PROGRESS?I always have WIPs! I'm working a historical fiction YA that I'm keeping under wraps for now (translation: I haven't gotten very far on it, lol!). And recently, I pulled out some of my old art supplies and started re-learning how to draw. I'm not very good at it, but if you're interested in seeing a sampling of what I've done since April, check out my blog at christinadaley.blogspot.com.
3. WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE?I'm not entirely sure, lol! It's different for each project. I don't outline, but I may write a bunch of notes or even a working synopsis (that ALWAYS changes by the time the first draft stage). Sometimes I write the first few chapters long hand, and other times I'll go straight to the computer and start typing. Sometimes I write at my desk, but I've been favoring my couch lately because it's more comfortable.
4. ANY WRITING TIPS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE?Read well and as often as you can! Certainly read in the genre you write in, but also read in other genres for the sake of enjoyment and perspective. I'm a pretty slow reader, so I don't get to read a whole lot of books each year. But I jump around genres a lot, from kids books and classics to manga. And don't shy away from books you think aren't well done, since those are valuable at teaching how you don't want to write.The other tip I'd give is to do it for the love of the game. There is a business aspect to be aware of when you decide to publish your work for profit. But at the end of the day, write because you love to tell stories and because this is the medium by which your thoughts flow best. If you write for any other reason, you're probably wasting time.
5. WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS? That's tough! But at the top of the list is C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I also really loved Ender's Game (looking forward to the movie when it comes out!). And this may be just because I'm learning how to draw right now, but two manga that I really enjoyed are Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa and Bleach by Tite Kubo (although, I haven't read Bleach beyond the anime run).
6. HOW CAN READERS CONTACT YOU?All my contact information is on my blog (christinadaley.blogspot.com), including my email and links to my Facebook page and Twitter. I tend to get really quiet on social media whenever I'm working on a project (like now!), but if you @ me on Twitter or post something on FB or email me, I'll definitely respond.
Christina Daley made her first book with neighborhood friends when she was four years old. They "wrote" out some semblance of lettering with crayons, cut up a cardboard box for the cover, and bound it all together with clear adhesive tape. It was brilliant.
Quite a few years later, Christina is trying her hand at writing "real" books. She lives in Dallas, Texas, with a pet plant named Herb.
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