From #1 New York Times bestselling author Christopher Pike comes a brand-new fascinating and seductive new novel about a girl with a mysterious ability—but one that carries an unimaginable cost.
From the moment Fred meets Aja, he knows she’s different. She’s pretty, soft-spoken, shy—yet seems to radiate an unusual peace. Fred quickly finds himself falling in love with her.
Then strange things begin to happen around Aja. A riot breaks out that Aja is able to stop by merely speaking a few words. A friend of Fred’s suffers a serious head injury and has a miraculous recovery.
Yet Aja swears she has done nothing.
Unfortunately, Fred is not the only one who notices Aja’s unique gifts. As more and more people begin to question who Aja is and what she can do, she’s soon in grave danger. Because none of them truly understands the source of Aja’s precious abilities—or their devastating cost.
Love Aja or hate her—you will never forget her.
In Strange Girl, #1 bestselling author Christopher Pike has created the rarest of novels—a love story that swings between a heart-pounding mystery and a stirring mystical journey.
PUBLISHER: SIMON PULSE RELEASE DATE: NOVEMBER 17, 2015
GENRE: PARANORMAL MYSTERY 432 PAGES
Since I have a new book that just came out, STRANGE GIRL, I’m often asked where I got the idea for the story. I’ve answered this question a number of times in different ways and thought that I should try to answer a much more difficult question...
How do I write a book?
I can’t draw. I can’t play a musical instrument. If you heard me sing, you’d want to reach for a loaded gun to put me out of my misery. When we watch another person effortlessly do something that we have no talent for, it seems like they have been blessed by God or nature or whatever power you believe runs the universe. It definitely seems like they have a magic that we don’t possess.
For example, my girlfriend can draw. She never studied how to do it, never took classes. She can pick up a pencil or a paint brush and draw or paint whatever she sees. Boy, do I wish I could do that. I’d draw and paint all day.
Is that how it is for me when I write a book?
The answer is yes and no.
I started to seriously write when I was twenty-one. I just got an idea for a story that haunted me. Looking back, I realize the story was silly but for me, at the time, it seemed great. It involved a medical student who had lost his younger sister the year before and was haunted by dreams of flying saucers and aliens and angels. It covered every genre there was: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, adventures, thrillers, mysteries. It was a total mess but I didn’t know that and that was probably a good thing because I was determined to write it and no one was going to stop me.
So I wrote the book -- it took me a year -- and when I was done I had a wild and crazy novel that no one in their right mind would publish. Yet the experience of writing it -- the grinding away every night for three or four hours -- taught me the basics of writing. And as soon as I finished it, I came up with an idea for another book and started to write that one, which I called The Season Of Passage.
Once again I made the mistake of mixing up numerous genres -- sci-fi, horror, fantasy -- but I had learned a lot from my initial misadventure and my second book turned out pretty good. True, no one wanted to buy it at the time but writing it taught me even more about writing.
The odd thing about The Season Of Passage…Later, when I became a popular YA novelist, I sold the book to TOR and the novel became sort of a cult classic. Many people consider it my finest book; others say it’s the best book they’ve ever read. The praise is flattering, of course, but it also scares me. It makes me wonder if I have improved as a writer since then.
Anyway, back to my original question. How do I write a book? Do I sit down and does it come to me like magic? Earlier I answered by saying yes and no. Probably I should have said no and yes.
Writing is still hard work for me. Even when I get a new idea for a novel, it usually takes me months to develop it to the point where I can sit down and actually begin to write. Nowadays, though, after forty years of practice, I write fairly quickly and seldom suffer from writer’s block. Also, the moment I veer off from where I should be going with the narrative, I instinctively know it.
But now I’m going to contradict much of what I just said and admit that nowadays I’ve begun to enjoy writing books where I’ve no idea where the story is going.
I wrote STRANGE GIRL that way. The novel is a basic boy meets girl love story, except the girl is…well, she is kind of strange; hence the title. When I wrote the first draft, it came to me quite effortlessly. Yet the main character, the girl in the story, Aja, was a very subtle individual and I had to rewrite her scenes over and over again to get her just right. What fascinates me about the book is I’ve had hardcore fans read it and not like it the first time around. And yet something about the story draws them back in and they read it again and love it.
I think their reaction is because of Aja. She is strange. She’s not a normal heroine. She’s not a classic anti-hero, either. She doesn’t try to hurt people. But she does seem to shake them up. If I were to sum up most people’s reaction to Aja, they either love her or they hate her. There seems to be no middle ground.
But most people love Aja.
Yours, Christopher Pike
Christopher Pike is a bestselling author of young adult novels. The Thirst series, The Secret of Ka, and the Remember Me and Alosha trilogies are some of his favorite titles. He is also the author of several adult novels, including Sati and The Season of Passage.
Thirst and Alosha are slated to be released as feature films. Pike currently lives in Santa Barbara, where it is rumored he never leaves his house.
But he can be found online at www.Facebook.com/ChristopherPikeBooks
Series of writing advice on Wattpad:
25 paperback copies of STRANGE GIRL
5 paperback sets of RED QUEEN and BLACK KNIGHT
5 paperback sets of all 5 copies of THIRST series (1-5) in PB.
5 paperback copies CHAIN LETTER
5 paperback copies UNTIL THE END
5 paperback copies BOUND TO YOU
5 paperback copies REMEMBER ME
It was four in the morning when I heard the soft knock on our motel door. I appeared to be the only one who heard it.
Nearby, Janet and Shelly slept soundly on one bed, while on the other Dale lay like a dead man as Mike snored loudly. At the knock, I sat up on my foldout bed. I didn’t mind rollaways. If I was tired enough, I could sleep on the floor. Pulling on my pants over the gym shorts I’d been sleeping in, I slipped from beneath the sheets and answered the door.
“Hi,” Aja said and smiled. She had on the same dress she’d worn to the Roadhouse. Her hair was wet, though, as if she’d just showered, and her feet were bare. I saw no car. I assumed she’d walked over from her own nearby motel or hotel.
“This is a surprise,” I said. It was so good to see her I feared I might still be asleep, dreaming the whole thing up. “What are you doing here?”
“Want to go for a walk?”
I glanced at my friends; they were still out. “Give me a second, let me find my shoes and a shirt,” I said.
Minutes later we were strolling along the cracked edge of an asphalt road beside a twenty-foot fence, topped with barbed wire, that surrounded the base. The town was silent as Elder usually was at this time of morning. There wasn’t a soul in sight.The air was heavy with moisture and the ground was damp; clouds had chased away the stars. It made me wonder if it had been raining and if that was the real reason Aja’s hair was wet. Had she been wandering around in the dark since we’d last seen her? I asked and she nodded.
“Are you nuts?” I said. “You should have hooked up with us hours ago.”
She shrugged. “You were playing and the place was noisy. Besides, I like to take walks late at night.” She glanced over. “You look surprised.”
“I’m surprised you’re here. What made you come?”
“You invited me to hear you play. You remember?”
“Sure. How did you get here? Did Bart bring you?”
“I took a bus.”
“Why didn’t you come with us?”
“I wanted to surprise you.”
“Let me get this straight. You rode here all alone, across half the state, with only the clothes on your back. And since we last saw you at the Roadhouse, you’ve been wandering around in the dark—barefoot—in a strange town all by yourself.”
“What part are you saying no to?”
“What about your shoes?”
“I brought shoes. But I got tired of wearing them.” She added, “They’re sitting on the hood of your RV.”
“Well, that’s a relief. You’ve got your shoes to protect you. Honestly, Aja, you can’t behave like this, not in this country. You’re too pretty a girl. Anything could happen to you.”
“Anything can happen,” she appeared to agree, before adding, “Don’t worry about me.”
I shook my head. “I do worry about you.”
“Because . . . maybe where you come from it’s safe to wan¬der around at night. But this can be a violent town. You saw those guys at the club. They were ready to kill Mike and Dale.” When Aja didn’t respond I looked over at her. “But they didn’t because you showed up. How did you get them to stop?”
“I didn’t do anything. They were afraid, that’s all. They didn’t want to hurt anybody. And when they understood that, everything was okay.”
I shook my head. “If Shelly had stood on that table instead of you and begged that drunken herd to calm down, they would have beaten the shit out of her. What you did was amazing.”
“I can’t be in danger one minute and amazing the next. You have to make up your mind.”
She had a point, sort of. I was contradicting myself. Not that she still wasn’t acting naive. “What I mean is . . . ,” I began.
She interrupted by reaching over and taking my hand. “I liked when you sang by yourself at the beginning,” she said.
Her hand felt good in mine. “You were there at the start? I didn’t see you.”
“Yes. At first you were nervous, then you relaxed.” She added as if to herself, “You enjoy singing in front of people.”
For such a naive girl, I thought, she was perceptive.
“I do,” I said. When she didn’t reply, I asked, “How have you been this last week?”
“It must have made you mad getting expelled on your second day of school.”
“It doesn’t matter. I’ll be there Monday.”
I shook my head. “I can’t understand why Billard hates you.”
“She doesn’t hate me.”
“What do you mean?”
“She’s afraid of me.”
“We met over the summer.”
“At the town cemetery. I often walk there.”
“What happened at the cemetery?”
Aja hesitated. “Better you ask her.”
“She’ll explain.”I pushed Aja to elaborate but she just shook her head and kept walking. I finally decided to shut my mouth and enjoy the touch of her hand, which was remarkably soothing. I don’t know how far we’d walked when I noticed that I was feeling awfully energized for a guy who hadn’t really slept in two days. More, I felt light, light as a balloon, as if I wasn’t walking but floating alongside the fence. And the clouds in the sky, they felt somehow closer, like I could touch them.
Aja suddenly stopped and faced me, her big, brown eyes bright in the dark night. She reached up and stroked my cheek, my hair, and even though I did my best to stay cool I trembled. She inched up on her toes and kissed me on the lips, just for a second or two.
“Let’s go back to your RV,” she said.
“You mean the motel? You can sleep on my foldout. I can sleep on the floor.”
Aja shook her head and tightened her grip on my hand. She began to lead me back the way we’d come. “I want to sleep with you in the RV.”I don’t recall much about the walk back. But I do remember lying beside her on the cushions in the rear of the RV, our two bodies barely fitting between the crush of our equipment. We didn’t have sex—we didn’t even make out, nor did she kiss me again.
But she held me and let me hold her and for the first time in my life I felt as if all my hidden fears had been deftly exposed and quietly put to bed, once and for all. I had fought with her that it wasn’t safe to wander alone in the dark, but when I slept with her cheek resting on mine, and felt the brush of her eyelashes as they fluttered during her dreams, I was the one who felt protected.