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Private School Paranormals Day One–Guest Post and Giveaway by Lani Woodland

December 12, 2010

Lani Woodland

Lani Woodland has been an avid reader since elementary school when she first discovered the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley Twins series. In sixth grade she began writing plays and recruiting (with force when necessary) her friends to act them out. Most of these early works were inspired by She-Ra, the epitome of girl power to her young self.She graduated from BYU with a BS in Family Science. Lani has always loved scary stories, and has a hard time enjoying any book without at least a little romance in it. She lives in Southern California with her husband, their two children and a large collection of board games. She has worked as a spot-welder, babysitter, janitor, photographer, gymnastics coach, and movie extra. She enjoys bonfires at the beach, hole-in-the-wall restaurants, speed talking, chocolate as a cure-all, and the word “precisely”.

  • Follow this link for Lani’s website.
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Lani is also the author of Intrinsical, the first book in a private school paranormal trilogy. Her guest post on the allure of the Private School Paranormal is the perfect start to a week celebrating the theme. Today, she talks about what makes this subgenre so appealing to us readers, and why she chose the setting for her own novel. See below for Intrinsical‘s lovely, moody cover and the book’s description. You can also win a PDF copy of Intrinsical for your reading pleasure. See the end of the post for contest rules and instructions.

August 20, 2010

Sixteen-year-old Yara Silva has always known that ghosts walk alongside the living. Her grandma, like the other females in her family, is a Waker, someone who can see and communicate with ghosts. Yara grew up watching her grandmother taunted and scorned for this unusual ability and doesn’t want that to be her future. She has been dreading the day when she too would see ghosts, and is relieved that the usually dominant Waker gene seems to have skipped her, letting her live a normal teenage life. However, all that changes for Yara on her first day at her elite boarding school when she discovers the gene was only lying dormant. She witnesses a dark mist attack Brent, a handsome fellow student, and rushes to his rescue. Her act of heroism draws the mist’s attention, and the dark spirit begins stalking her. Yara finds herself entrenched in a sixty-year-old curse that haunts the school, threatening not only her life, but the lives of her closest friends as well. Yara soon realizes that the past she was trying to put behind her isn’t going to go quietly.

Without further ado…Lani’s guest post:

One of the main reasons that paranormal books take place at boarding schools is to remove the safety net normally provided by parents. When you take away your main character’s parents as a place to turn for help, and leave them with just their friends for guidance and support, it forces them into a more adult role. This allows the characters to act for themselves, and helps them grow up, to stretch themselves. It also makes them directly responsible for their actions and the consequences of their choices. I know as a teen if I had a problem that was too big for me, or if I was really in trouble and needed help I would turn to my parents for help. And when they weren’t around, situations like that always felt scarier and more intense. Also the freedom of boarding schools put characters in situations their parents would probably warn them away from. These situations force them to make their own mistakes and have to deal with their own consequences.

Another reason boarding schools are so intriguing is they are like a world unto themselves. Usually they are set apart from the rest of the city or town where they are set, like a totally separate country with it’s own laws and rulers. It’s like the characters are in a corked bottle, trapped within the confines of the school. They can’t easily get out, there is a tangible boundary for their actions and escape
isn’t easy.

The reason I chose to have Intrinsical set at a boarding school was to make my character Yara face her problems alone. Until Yara’s first day at Pendrell she had never seen a ghost, let alone tried to communicate with one. When she does encounter one she’s been thrown into the deep end of her Waker abilities without a lifejacket. Her Grandmother knows all about this gift, as she has it too, but the family members she could have normally turned to are all far removed. Her parents and Grandmother are in another country, her sister is hours away at school and she isn’t even sure she wants to admit to anyone that she saw a ghost. It would have been much easier on her if she had been living at home with her family when it all starts to happen; she would have been surrounded by people who would have known what to do in the situation. But Yara’s growth would have been stunted. (And how boring would that be to read?) Instead, Yara and her friends have to figure out for themselves what to do about the situation they find at Pendrell. They learn, they grow and they develop right in front of our eyes. At least I hope you feel like they do.

Contest Rules:

  • This contest begins today (Sun., Dec. 12) and ends on Saturday, December 18, at 11:59.
  • This contest is open internationally.
  • In order to enter the contest, you must submit a picture of a building that looks like it would be the perfect setting for a private school paranormal. Be it spooky, isolated or just plain Gothic, have fun! If you can’t submit the picture in your comment, include a link I can follow.
  • Please include your name and your email in your comment, so I can contact you if you win.

That’s it! Thanks to Lani for the guest post and to Madelyn at Pendrell Publishing for the PDF copy of Intrinsical. And thanks to everyone for stopping by. Tune in tomorrow for my interview with Lee Nichols, author of the Haunting Emma series.

  1. December 12, 2010 11:36 am

    I’m definitely adding this book to my “to read” pile! I love books set in boarding schools for the same reason that Lani chose to use that as he setting – the character had to rely on themselves, instead of looking for help from their family or outside friends. It makes for a lot of interesting inner dialogue, and a lot of self discovery!

    And as for my entry…I’ve always thought that the Chatsworth House would be perfect for a school, since it is big enough and more than beautiful enough (I’ve always thought boarding schools should be l=pleasing to the eye…even if their occupants weren’t as delightful to be around.)

    Here’s my link (shortened, or it’d be ghastly to look at):

  2. December 12, 2010 11:38 am

    oops, forgot my email (

  3. Moridin permalink
    December 12, 2010 2:13 pm

    I’d go with Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire.

  4. December 12, 2010 7:26 pm

    Haha, My elementry school was pretty creepy.

    Those were the scariest 6 years of my life. This book looks really good.

  5. December 12, 2010 11:29 pm

    I think Bolt Castle would make a wonderful setting especially since it is so isolated 🙂


  6. December 13, 2010 7:37 am

    I have a photo listed in my etsy shop that I think is perfect for this! It’s an old church here in my town×10-fine-art-photography-from

  7. PinkStuff28 permalink
    December 13, 2010 12:26 pm

    Here’s the pic :

    raluk.93 at gmail (dot) com

  8. Andrea B permalink
    December 13, 2010 5:40 pm

    just as soon as I read this yesterday I knew I had to take a picture of this school that’s nearby… it feels so creepy when I walk by in the evening!
    Here’s a pic:

    and here’s a link to the album with the other pictures that I took: (it looks way less scary in the daytime!)

    thanks for the contest!
    email: brigneti(at)gmail(dot)com

  9. December 13, 2010 6:09 pm

    These are awesome, you guys. Very moody.

  10. December 15, 2010 3:15 am

    Here, check this out:

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