Today’s Wednesday Wonders welcomes Angela Carling featuring her Young Adult book, The Secret Keeper.
There is a street or house in every town that holds secrets that the outside world would never understand. However in Heber, Arizona, a cursed being holds all those secrets closely. After the disappearance of her brother, Winter’s family was never the same, and now she’d done something terrible that would bring her to the door where such secrets were locked, and the deal she would make with the mysterious Secret Keeper would forever alter her life and threaten to destroy Liam, the only boy she ever loved.
Over and over in my head I repeated, “She can make my secret go away.” I’m not sure if I was trying to convince myself or trying to keep myself from going nuts, but the phrase calmed me as I drove.
I found Lejo Street and began the steep climb to the top. The houses in this neighborhood were small. Most were weathered if not completely forgotten. Pines grew too close together. Piles of rusted tools and long-forgotten bathroom fixtures littered the landscape, hidden only by overgrown grasses and neglected Quakies. No wonder everyone thought it was creepy.
My heart rate quickened with the ascent, and my palms left sticky sweat on my steering wheel. I wiped on my jeans only to have the moisture build up again immediately. Soon there was nothing but dense forest; a blur of green, broken only by the ashen skies above. The rain came down in unyielding sheets and I turned up the windshield wipers. Back and forth they went like a giant metronome, keeping in step with my nervous heartbeat.
I strained to see out the windows until there was nothing in front of me but a large rusted metal gate and a cracked wood sign, painted long ago, that declared, “No trespassing.” Beyond the gate, through the trees and the rain, I saw the pale blue house that the girl in the park had described.
One more time I said out loud, “She can make my secret disappear.” I’d almost convinced myself now. I had to be convinced, what with the dilapidated house in the middle of nowhere and the stormy weather.
Everything screamed “Don’t go in!” but I was driven to try something, anything, not to lose my best friend and boyfriend.
I climbed from the car and ran until I reached the porch, slipping and having to catch myself as I tried to take the stair too fast. Light spilled out through a crack in the curtains, letting me know someone was there. I lifted my hand to knock on the old splintered door and froze. I didn’t know The Secret Keeper’s name. How would I address her? Before I could decide what to do, the old scratched up door handle turned and the door opened a crack. My mouth fell open. The eyes that peered through the opening were surprisingly young.
My throat tight as I swallowed and it sounded loud to me. I could turn and run. Everything in my gut told me to go but I stood like a marble statue frozen by my anguish.
“Who are you looking for?” she asked.
Her melodic voice made me think of dozens of wind chimes all tinkling at once. Still, I felt uneasy.
I made myself spit out the words. “The Secret Keeper.”
An excruciatingly long minute passed and I thought she might tell me that I had the wrong house or that I should get off her property. Finally, in a voice no louder than a whisper she said, “Come in. I’m The Secret Keeper.”
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About Angela Carling:
Angela Carling was raised in Palm Springs California, but lives Arizona with her husband, three kids and five felines. After years of denial she finally admitted that she is a hopeless romantic which led her to write her first Young Adult book Unbreakable Love. Since then she's published three more books, Shackled, Becoming Bryn and The Secret Keeper. Shackled won the silver IPGA award in 2012 and has been optioned as a screenplay. She always eats the frosting off her cake and leaves the rest, and can be caught singing in public bathrooms just for the acoustics. When she's not writing YA novels, she's mentoring teen writers, making pizza with her family or dreaming of taking a nap, not necessarily in that order.