Crossing the Line
Genre: YA Magical Realism
Release Date: March 6th 2018
Laura, who died thirty years ago, enlists the help of a tenacious high school reporter named Rebecca, who is very much alive. Rebecca, although skeptical and conflicted by her supposed encounters with a spirit, determines to learn the truth about Laura’s tragic death. As the clues unravel and their worlds collide, Rebecca finds herself at a dangerous crossroads.
Laura, now pulled back into everything she left behind when she died – her old high school and memories of her life and death—has been in training for this exact moment. And nothing means more to her than succeeding at her assignment.
It is her one chance to make sure that what happened her does not happen to anyone else, and especially not to her new friend, Rebecca.
Guest by by Ellen Wolfson Valladares
Crossing the Line - Inspiration for the novel
The inspiration behind Crossing the Line was kind of twofold. Ironically, it started with local headlines about tragedies occurring to young adults. I say ironically because I live in the same school district as Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and of course, the current headlines have been focused on this unimaginable tragedy. It does not compare, but at that time around eight years ago, there were some incidents in which kids did some unspeakable things to other kids. I was heartbroken and disturbed, and I thought if these kids had just taken a moment to stop and try to understand what was going on with the other person, they wouldn’t have made the rash choices they made.
Then one day, I remember I was sitting on an airplane, the idea popped into my head that a spirit who had died would come back to make sure that what happened to her didn’t happen again. I “saw” the first scene in my mind where these girls would be playing with a Ouija board and the spirit would connect with them. It wasn’t going to be scary, but instead about a unique connection between the spirit and a living high school girl. I knew it would be a converging of the past and present, two stories intersecting, begging the question, could history be prevented from repeating itself? Could making a different choice end in a different outcome?
Basically, I had a beginning and an end, and I could not have imagined the twists and turns the story and its characters would take. Inspiration is a funny thing. You can’t force it. It comes when you are least expecting it and when it does, it’s undeniable. Sometimes what feels like being stuck is just a message to let it rest for a minute. I remember starting to fall asleep one night and I got a burst of ideas that were totally different than where I thought I was going with the story. I had to get up and started pacing in circles, excited about the new idea, and then, of course, had to write it down. I had a similar thing happen just walking on the beach one day. It’s like wow, yeah, that makes sense. You have to trust yourself and your characters. They know where the story is going. You just have to listen.
It’s interesting and fascinating how a story and its characters develop out of a simple thought, and how the subtle messages we hope to convey get wedged between the cracks of an entertaining tale. That’s the beauty of fiction. You hope to entertain and if you’re lucky, you inspire along the way.