Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome Scott Cramer to the blog! He is the author of Night of the Purple Moon and is here to share some information about his book with us! If this sound like a book that you are interested in reading, please use the buy links at the bottom of the post to pick up a copy or two!
The epidemic strikes everyone who has passed through puberty.
Abby Leigh is looking forward to watching the moon turn purple. For months, astronomers have been predicting that Earth will pass through the tail of a comet. They say that people will see colorful sunsets and, best of all, a purple moon.
But nobody has predicted the lightning-fast epidemic that sweeps across the planet on the night of the purple moon. The comet brings space dust with it that contains germs that attack human hormones. Older teens and adults die within hours of exposure.
On a small island off the coast of Maine, Abby must help her brother and baby sister survive in this new world, but all the while she has a ticking time bomb inside of her — adolescence.
Night of the Purple Moon is Scott’s debut YA novel. He is an optioned screenwriter and has written many magazine feature articles. Scott and his wife reside outside Boston in an empty nest/zoo/suburban farm/art studio with too many surfboards in the garage.
Scott can be found:
Night of the Purple Moon can be purchased:
DAY 2 – CALL 911
Bang! Bang… Bang! Bang!! Bang!!!
Awakened by the loud pounding, Abby shot up in bed and looked at the clock—7:20—she was late for school! No, it was Saturday, she remembered, the first day of spring vacation.
The ferocity of the banging frightened her—someone was striking the front door hard with the meaty part of the fist. She raised her bedroom window shade and gaped out at the sight – she might as well have been on another planet. The sun radiated deep purple and waves of space dust shimmered in the cloudless lavender sky.
But what was a lobster truck doing on the Couture’s front lawn across the street? There had been some kind of accident, she thought. The truck had smashed through the white picket fence and scattered boards outward from the point of impact. The wheels had mashed up a pile of sod where they skidded to a stop. The driver must have gone to the Couture’s house first to get help, but Mr. and Mrs. Couture were very old. They were probably still sleeping. So then the driver came here.
Abby ran into the hallway. “Dad,” she shouted. “Dad. Dad.” The banging sent chills down her spine.
She passed by Toucan’s room. “Cheeries, Cheeries,” her sister called out, standing up in her crib. Abby knew that something wasn’t quite right. Toucan should have been up and dressed an hour ago. She should have eaten already. Why hadn’t Dad made her breakfast?
“Be right there, Touk,” Abby cried and raced into her parent’s room.
No Dad. The bed was made. Abby pressed her nose against the window, thinking he might have fallen asleep in the back yard last night. The lawn chairs were empty. But the blanket from Dad’s chair was missing. Toucan kept calling out.
On her way to Jordan’s room Abby lifted Toucan from her crib and lugged her on her hip.
Her brother was fast asleep. “Jordan, wake up!” she shouted. “Wake up!” When he didn’t stir, Abby waded through the mounds of dirty clothes on his floor and gave him a sharp poke.
He blinked, momentarily confused. “Get out!” he shouted angrily.
“Jordan, a truck crashed across the street!”
Bang. Bang. Bang… His eyes widened. “What’s that noise?”
“The driver’s at the door. He needs help.”
Jordan rolled out of bed and raised his window shade. “Whoa. Purple. Where’s Dad?”
Abby gulped. “I don’t know.”
Still clutching Toucan, she joined Jordan. From this angle, she could see the side of the lobster truck. MARSH SEAFOODS. She knew Colby Marsh, a burly eighth grader. Sometimes his father drove him to school in the truck.
Bang. Bang. Bang.
“How do you know it’s the driver?” Jordan said.
“I just do. Let’s go.”
Abby gripped Toucan tighter as they crept down the stairs. Bang. Bang. Bang. The door vibrated like a drum. Abby thought that only a crazy person would keep pounding like that. What if it wasn’t Mr. Marsh?
She felt a sudden stab of fear. Nobody locked doors on Castine Island. “The door’s unlocked,” she whispered to Jordan.
“Lock it,” he said. “I’ll look out the window.”
Abby breathed easier once she had hooked the security chain in place.
“Huh?” Jordan exclaimed. “It’s only Kevin and Emily.”
Kevin seemed surprised that someone had finally opened the door. He was in his pajamas and his cheeks were glistening wet. Abby had never seen him without his glasses. He looked different—younger than thirteen. Emily, wearing a nightgown, stood behind her brother with a blank expression, absently twisting strands of her long brown hair. She had always reminded Abby of a fawn, timid and shy.
The road was empty, silent… none of the usual bustle of Saturday traffic heading out to the harbor. It was like an eerie dream. A crashed truck. The sun and sky different shades of purple. Shafts of lavender light spearing great swirls of dust. Not a single car, not a gull soaring overhead. Dad mysteriously missing. Her neighbors, distraught and half dressed, saying nothing.
Abby stared at them and they stared back.
Toucan pointed with a crinkled brow. “Kevy, sad.”
The words broke the spell.
“Our parents …” Kevin buried his head in his hands and sobbed. When he looked up a moment later, Abby had never seen such a sad expression. “They’re dead,” he cried.
* * *
Abby put Toucan down and guided the neighbors to the couch. She couldn’t think, as if her brain had frozen solid. But instinctively she closed and locked the door.
Kevin, his right hand red and swollen, continued to cry hysterically. Emily remained silent and dazed. Jordan, with Toucan clinging to his leg, stared wide eyed.
Abby took a deep breath. She had to find out what had happened to Mr. and Mrs. Patel. But Kevin would need to calm down before she could ask him. Most urgently, she had to find Dad. It was unlike him to leave them without a good reason. Maybe he was responding to the emergency next door, or assisting Mr. Marsh. Maybe he was… Abby forced the darkest of thoughts from her mind.
“Call 911,” she said to Jordan. The blood pounded so forcefully in her ears that she didn’t recognize her own voice.
“I already tried that,” Kevin blurted. “The police don’t answer!”
The police always answer. “Hurry up,” she added.
Jordan raced upstairs. He returned, phone to his ear. “They’re not answering.”
“Are you sure you called 9-1-1?”
He held out the phone and she heard ringing. “Yes, Abby, I know how to call 9-1-1.”
There had to be some explanation. “The police are on their way here,” she said. “Someone else must have called them. Jordan, call Mom.”
“What’s she going to do?” he asked sarcastically.
“Just do it!” she snapped.
He punched in the number. “The circuits are busy. It’s a recording.”
“Well, try again.”
He thrust out the phone. “You try.”
“Call the Coutures,” she said.
“You think I know their number?”
Abby grabbed his phone and called 4-1-1. The robotic voice prompted her responses. “Couture, Castine Island, Maine.” The call engaged, but their phone just rang and rang and rang.
Kevin’s wailing sobs had lessened to sniffles and whimpers. Abby, in a gentle, but quaking voice, said, “What happened to your parents?”
He started crying again.
Abby held her hand in front of Emily’s face. The twelve-year-old seemed to stare right through it. Abby slowly moved her hand back and forth, but Emily’s gaze remained fixed. She was in shock and needed to see a doctor. But there were no doctors on Castine Island. As soon as Dad returned, Abby thought, he’d take Emily and Kevin to the police station, or to the hospital in Portland.
When Kevin finally settled himself, she asked again what had happened. His words tumbled out in spurts. “I overslept. We were supposed to take the seven o’clock ferry. I ran into my parents’ room to wake them up. They were still in bed. I touched Mother’s hand. It was cold.”
“Sometimes I get cold when I’m sleeping,” Jordan said.
Kevin scrunched his brow. “Do you think I’m stupid? I felt for their pulses.” He broke down again.
Abby moved to the window. Still no traffic. No approaching wail of a police siren. No sign of Dad. Blinking back tears, she took Jordan aside. “I’m going outside to look for Dad. Watch Kevin and Emily. Keep Toucan busy.”
Jordan turned pale. He picked up a box of blocks without an argument and sat beside Toucan on the floor.
Abby crept into the kitchen, hoping she’d find a note that explained where her father had gone. Only a mug of cold tea and a leftover slice of purple pizza were on the counter. Except for Kevin’s jagged sobs, everything was eerily quiet.
She stepped into the narrow breezeway that led to the back porch. Her heart was racing, almost a steady hum, and she felt light-headed. The walls of the breezeway seemed to close in on her. She stumbled on one of Toucan’s rubber boots. Through the storm door she saw nothing unusual in the backyard, apart from the electric purple glow. She stepped closer to the door. The three lawn chairs were in the same place as last night. The blanket she had used lay draped over the back of her chair, but Dad’s chair was empty. No blanket, no binoculars.
He heard the crash, she thought. Half asleep, he must have stumbled out to the front yard. But then what did he do? Where did he go? And why hadn’t he told them?
Abby rested her hand on the door handle, surprised it was wet and slimy. Then she realized her palms were sweating.
She feared breathing the space dust. She was even worried the tiny particles were likely floating inside the breezeway and throughout the house. Abby took a gulp of air and held her breath.
She stepped outside.
Her father was to her right, curled on the deck. The blanket stretched behind him, and the binoculars lay beside his head, the strap still around his neck. She knew immediately that he was dead.
Abby emptied her lungs of air with a guttural scream.
She closed the door and slumped to the breezeway floor. Shudders wracked her body and she became aware of her breathing, of the lub-dub of her heart, of every swallow. She squeezed her eyes shut and vines of lavender spread across the insides of her eyelids.
Toucan’s warm breath touched her cheek. “Abby. Sad.”
Abby felt her sister’s small hand patting her face and then Toucan’s finger went up her nose.
Abby blinked. Jordan was sobbing next to her, the color drained from his face. Kevin was at the other end of the breezeway, rocking side to side. Abby hugged Toucan and stood.
“Daddy. Daddy,” Toucan squealed, pointing excitedly.
“Touk.” Abby swallowed hard. “Daddy’s sleeping.”