The Word Changers
by Ashlee Willis
Escaping from the turmoil of her home, fifteen-year-old Posy finds herself at her usual haunt … the library. When she chooses an unfamiliar book from the shelf, she does not devour its words as she usually does…
Its words devour her.
Posy is pulled into the pages of a fairy tale in turmoil. Characters whisper of rebellion against their Plot. And Posy must find a lost princess whose role in the story is crucial, before her own role in the book comes to a horrible end.
With the haughty Prince Kyran as a reluctant companion, Posy ventures past the Borders of the Plot, into the depths of the treacherous Wild Land forest that lies beyond. Secrets are buried there, dangerous and deadly.
Yet the darkest secret of all is the one Posy carries within herself.
Soon it’s clear that finding the lost princess is the least of Posy’s concerns. The Author of the book must be found. His Plot must be put to rights again, his characters reminded of who they were first created to be. Only then will the True Story be written, both for Posy, and for the tale she has now become a part of.
THE WORD CHANGERS — EXCERPT
Chapter One — A Bewildering Beginning
The moment she began to fall, Posy forgot everything except her descent. She even forgot how she had come to be falling in the first place. Everything behind her grew faint and far, and everything in front of her seemed a black void. Gravity worked backward, and her racing speed slowed. Now she floated, like a dry leaf, or a page torn from a book. Gradually she felt nothing at all.
And the entire time she was falling, she could hear voices, hollow and wide-flung, pulling her back from the precipice. Posy lifted a heavy hand to swat awkwardly at her face.
“You’ve come at last, my dear,” said the voice nearest her. “And about time, too.” Posy attempted to open her eyes, only to find it difficult. Was that the brush of a feather on her brow? She groaned in frustration at the weighted feeling she couldn’t shake.
A woman’s voice came faintly from a distance. “Will it work?”
“Well, their looks are quite different, I must say.” Now a man’s deep tones.
“It was what Your Majesty wanted, if I may remind you,” the answer came smoothly. “And after all, it is much too late now to send her back.”
“Let us hope it is only for a short time,” the woman spoke again, with a slight accent of distaste. “But see. The princess begins to wake.”
Why are they speaking so strangely? Posy’s thoughts crawled sluggishly into her head. And it is almost as if they are speaking about me . . . Did someone just say . . . ‘Princess’?
Only last night—was it only last night? Posy lay in her own bed listening to the sounds of unhappiness down the hall. Crying hadn’t stopped her parents from arguing. Praying hadn’t ended their hate for each other. Fists clenched into the pillow she had pulled over her head had done no good either. Of course it hadn’t.
All the same, something deep within her had clamored and quaked for a change. Something inside had whispered that things could not remain as they were. Perhaps this was the answer. But she thought it more likely it was all a horrid mistake.
Solid arms went around her, pulling her to a sitting position. “There we go, my dear,” said a man’s voice next to her ear. “What a scare we had, didn’t we. Valnor? We thought we were going to lose our princess.”
There was no doubt about it now. Someone was calling her princess. Posy’s eyes snapped open at last. What she saw almost convinced her she was dreaming. If everything hadn’t been so real and so unbearably bright. She had not seen a place like this before. What had she been doing before all this happened? Why could she not remember?
ASHLEE WILLIS — AUTHOR BIO
Once there was a little small-town girl. She grew up two blocks away from the old, creaky public library. She spent much of her time in that library, either squirreled away in a dusky corner with a book, or loading chin-high stacks of books home to read. Usually barefoot and disheveled. Always brim-full of curiosity and awe at the secret worlds she knew she’d find between those pages.
She read and re-read and acted out the stories she read and forced her little sister to act them out, too, and . . . before long . . . she decided that simply wasn’t enough. Creating her own stories was something that, unquestionably, had to be done. And so she did. And so she still does.