Absent Shadows Trilogy
S M Spencer
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication: October 2014
Number of pages: 208
Word Count: 75,000
Cover Artist: BookPOD
Destiny: ‘The predetermined or inevitable path a person must follow.’
When nineteen year-old Lili McIntyre decides to trade her California summer for a mid-winter visit to Australia, it’s in hope of finding inspiration and direction in the country where her father was born.
But when she arrives in Melbourne, the first thing she finds is the last thing she’s looking for—a brooding man who makes her heart race every time she sees him.
Against her better judgement, Lili finds herself drawn into a relationship that tests her very beliefs about life, reality and fantasy. But the real test is how to follow her destiny as she faces some of the hardest decisions of her life.
Using a modern theme, the author tells an old fashioned love story that you won’t want to put down, even when you’ve finished the last page.
Available at Amazon Brag Medallion
Sometimes, when something bad happens, time seems to slow to a crawl.
Like that time I was running to visit my friend who lived down the street. I was only about ten at the time, but it seemed like it was yesterday. I remember exactly how it felt as I ran down that street toward her house. And how, when I was only part way there, I stepped on an acorn and my foot rolled out from under me. As I fell, the pavement got closer and closer to my face—in horrible slow-motion. I hit the ground with my hands stretched out in front of me, scraping the skin off both palms. They barely bled but man they hurt like crazy.
Yes, I could replay that memory like a slow-motion movie in my head even now—years later.
But this … well, this wasn’t like that.
What happened next was like a series of still photos. Tom flew out of the bedroom in a blur, but stopped just long enough for the image of his face to be burnt into my mind. His eyes were no longer soft brown, but were instead a glowing red, and his normally tanned complexion was now pallid grey. But what really stood out was the blood that ran down from the corner of his mouth.
Then I heard Sam’s voice—loud and harsh. ‘Go!’
Tom was gone and I heard the door slam.
I closed my eyes for no more than a long blink—it couldn’t have been more than a second—but when I opened them, Sam was in the bedroom, bending over Claire. Was he doing something to her neck? She was so still.
I ran to the doorway but stopped short of going in. I couldn’t draw a breath to scream or talk. I just stood there, frozen.
Hello my name is S M Spencer and I’m the author of the YA paranormal romance trilogy called Absent Shadows that takes place (predominantly) in Melbourne, Australia.
The story is completely fictional; however it is set in real locations. Most of the story takes place in what are some of the oldest parts of Melbourne, namely the Queen Victoria Market and the Flagstaff Gardens.
I’d like to share with you a bit of the history of this area so you will understand where the inspiration for some of the ghosts that feature in the story came from.
A few years ago, I was working around the corner from Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, up near the Flagstaff Gardens. One day while walking around at lunchtime, I started sensing that I the area was the perfect setting for a story about ghosts and vampires. There had been a strong resurgence in the popularity of vampires and ghosts, and I’d always been keenly interested in both. In fact, I’d done a late night ghost tour through the area just a few years earlier. It was on this ghost tour that I first learned the history of the cemetery under the market’s carpark.
When I set out to write the story, I decided to do a bit of research on the area. Of course I headed straight to Google and WIKIPEDIA. I read numerous accounts of the market and the gardens, and although not everything I read appeared to be consistent, the general gist of it was that the area we now call the Flagstaff Gardens was originally referred to as Burial Hill. In the early 1800’s, not long after the colony of Melbourne was established, this became the site of Melbourne’s first burials.
A few years later a proper cemetery was built, the Melbourne Cemetery, in the area that is now the Queen Victoria Market. This cemetery was used from 1837 until the early 1850’s but was felt to be too small for the growing population. As such, in the early 1850’s, what is now referred to as the Melbourne General Cemetery was built.
In the early 1900’s there were plans to expand the Queen Victoria Market, so a number of bodies (approximately 900) were exhumed from the Old Melbourne Cemetery and relocated to other cemeteries. Poor records, deterioration of headstones, and numerous other factors prevented the remaining bodies from being exhumed however.
Although there is no doubt that a large number of bodies still remain under the market carpark, the exact number seems somewhat debatable. Some accounts suggested that there were originally over 10,000 bodies in the Old Melbourne Cemetery, so with only approximately 900 having been relocated there would still be in excess of 9,000 remaining. However, another report suggests that due to a fire in 1864 that destroyed early records, the 10,000 bodies cannot be verified.
Regardless of the exact number, there is no argument that not all the bodies were exhumed, and when you walk across the carpark, you are walking over the top of some thousands of bodies that reside as little as six feet below.
Now, with the Melbourne City Council in the midst of massive redevelopment plans for the area, the controversy lives on.
You can read all about the history by simply Googling “Old Melbourne Cemetery”. It makes for some very interesting reading, indeed.
S M Spencer was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area.
As a young teenager her mother introduced her to the world of romantic suspense by encouraging her to read the works of authors such as Daphne du Maurier and Mary Stewart. These books stirred a passion in her that would last a lifetime—to become a writer.
Feeling the need to experience life before embarking on a writing career, Ms Spencer completed a business degree. Her career eventually landed her in Melbourne, Australia, where she has lived ever since. Yet her true passion to be a writer never abated.
SM Spencer now writes from her home in the outskirts of Melbourne, where she lives with her husband, horses, cats and dogs.