Genre: YA fantasy
Word Count: 81,000 words
When a not-so-sweet sixteen spurs artistic, self-conscious Etta to “borrow’’ her dad’s truck for a night of freedom, she ends up trapped in Middeah -- a civilization that twisted away from North America a thousand years ago. The crisp air and upside-down trees make Etta feel like she’s stepped into one of her paintings. But if the tribe discovers she’s a trespasser, she’ll become their next human sacrifice. When one native learns her secret, Etta survives his attack and flees with a haunted, strangely familiar boy named Graham.
Etta doesn’t need Graham’s cat-green eyes and cryptic silences clouding her judgment, but she does need his help to conceal her identity. Together they discover what Middeah gains from its brutal offerings. The tribe has no sickness. No pollution. No technology, and no need for it. If Etta forsakes her past for an eternal life in hiding with Graham, they could ruin the pristine world. If they follow the clues toward the only way home, back to the father Etta misses more than she ever expected, they risk losing both their necks on the altar stone.
TRESPASSERS was inspired by the real ancient American civilization that abandoned the Cahokia mounds near St. Louis. Told from alternating points of view, this 81,000-word YA fantasy is The Wizard of Oz meets The Girl of Fire and Thorns, with more subtle religious undertones.
Brakes squealed as the truck turned into the driveway outside. Etta bumped her palm against her forehead. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Her dad was always home from work at six on Mondays. And she had about three minutes until he walked through the back door.
She tossed the paints in her supply basket, grabbed the brushes in a jumbled handful, and sprinted to the bathroom. Blue, green and silvery white swirled beneath the faucet as she rinsed them, twisting into a smoky turquoise. Still dripping, she dropped them into their cup and stashed the whole basket under the sink.
The rattle and thumb of the engine dying sounded through the hall. Two minutes.
Back in the kitchen she stole one last look at her piece, a bridge that hinted at metal towers on one side, with hungry, overgrown trees and vines reaching across on the other. She grabbed a black plastic garbage bag and slid the canvas inside, hoping the tacky splotches wouldn’t stick.