MENTOR: Stacey Lee
MENTEE: Bethany Smith
TITLE: The Sea Wolves
CATEGORY/GENRE: YA Literary Thriller
WORD COUNT: 75,000
17-year-old Anna stirs up trouble in an isolated Pacific Northwest community when she discovers a number of unexplained deaths, including her father’s, are connected to a mysterious pod of orca whales, and local folklore hides a dangerous truth.
If I were a mapmaker charting the waters off Washington State, I’d label Skana Island here be dragons and paint serpents in her seas. I figured out a long time ago the world was no longer a mysterious place and all creatures had been catalogued and named, but the thing they don’t teach you in biology is some places still have secrets and some people hide monsters under their skin.
On a rainswept evening in early September, I dodged puddles and sidewalk cracks in search of sustenance. School started back tomorrow, and as was tradition, Mom and I were having takeout for dinner.
I pushed my way into Murphy’s Bait Shop and Diner, flinging off the night in a thousand frigid drops, stomping my feet and blowing life back into my hands. The locals all looked away as if they were embarrassed for me, the outsider who couldn’t handle the gentle beginnings of a northwest fall. I didn’t care. I was already perking up from the diner smells: the sharp tang of coffee, the spice of the stews and soups on Murphy’s winter menu, and that oily scent of grill and griddle I bet the waitresses could never get out of their hair.
“Hi,” I said brightly to Chelsea, the hostess. She blinked at me then reached to straighten her menus.
Everyone shifted slightly at the sound of my voice. The men at the bar hunched over their drinks and families picked carefully at their food, or turned to stare at the big screens broadcasting sports hanging around the room.