Guest Post by Sharon Ledwith
In the first book of my teen psychic mystery series, Lost and Found: Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls, I have a character named Boggart. I’ve even devoted an entire chapter to him. I describe him as a big, black dog who is part pitbull, part hound…and part insane. I don’t blame him really. After all, the poor dog was found at the dump, in the place Boggart says, “stinks, where there’s lots of ugly smells, and lots of birds.” Now before you start feeling sorry for this poor mutt, don’t. Boggart is a force to be reckoned with. And trust me, he should be. Although I named him after a type of Bogey hobgoblin in English folklore that has poltergeist habits, he also has the qualities of the terrifying spirit called Black Dog.
Like my fictional canine, a Boggart can be helpful and sociable with some people (like my main character Meagan Walsh), but most often Boggarts are mischievous, annoying, and frightening. Without making a visual appearance, the Boggart makes itself known by playing tricks on people, such as pulling off their bedclothes. Sometimes Boggart acts are accompanied by terrible noises or laughter. Boggarts can also be mean and nasty, and have been known to scratch, punch, and pinch people. Yikes! The friendly household Boggart, however, acts much like a brownie and will work hard washing, cleaning, and doing heavy farm work if treated well. Hmm…where can I get me one of these creatures? On the flipside, if upset, this spirit will destroy or displace everything in the house and farm buildings.
Black Dog (a.k.a. Black Hound or Black Shuck) is a type of fiend described as a shaggy-haired black dog about the size of a calf with enormous glowing, fiery red eyes. Some are reported to be malicious, and some can be quite benevolent at times. Black Dogs are usually encountered on lonely tracks, ancient roads and crossroads, bridges, and entrances—the places of transition in human lives. They are normally benign if left alone, however to meet Black Dog means death within a year. There are well known instances of Black Dogs appearing to lost travelers or frightened girls traveling alone and guiding them safely home. These creatures also have been known to protect those under attack. Now that sounds like a great guard dog to me!
When I found through my research that Boggarts inhibit a house, churchyard, or live in a body, such as that of a cat or dog, I had a lightbulb moment. I decided to create my own Boggart, making him resemble the Black Dog of English folklore, and added him to my cast of furry characters in Lost and Found. I have to say Boggart transformed into more of a guard dog than a beast, knowing his job was to protect at all costs, and loyal to the end. But to be on the safe side, if you ever find yourself wandering on one of the back roads in Fairy Falls after dark, make sure you check over your shoulder now and then. Oh, and bring a flashlight. Boggarts abhor the light.
Here’s a peek at Sharon’s young adult novel.
Fairy Falls was bores-ville from the get-go. Then the animals started talking.
The Fairy Falls Animal Shelter is in trouble. Money trouble. It’s up to an old calico cat named Whiskey—a shelter cat who has mastered the skill of observation—to find a new human pack leader so that their home will be saved. With the help of Nobel, the leader of the shelter dogs, the animals set out to use the ancient skill of telepathy to contact any human who bothers to listen to them. Unfortunately for fifteen-year-old Meagan Walsh, she hears them, loud and clear.
Forced to live with her Aunt Izzy in the safe and quiet town of Fairy Falls, Meagan is caught stealing and is sentenced to do community hours at the animal shelter where her aunt works. Realizing Meagan can hear her, Whiskey realizes that Meagan just might have the pack leader qualities necessary to save the animals. Avoiding Whiskey and the rest of shelter animals becomes impossible for Meagan, so she finally gives in and promises to help them. Meagan, along with her newfound friends, Reid Robertson and Natalie Knight, discover that someone in Fairy Falls is not only out to destroy the shelter, but the animals as well. Can Meagan convince her aunt and co-workers that the animals are in danger? If she fails, then all the animals’ voices will be silenced forever.
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About the author
Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/young adult time travel adventure series, The Last Timekeepers, and the teen psychic mystery series, Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.
BONUS: Download a free PDF copy of Sharon’s short story The Terrible, Mighty Crystal, from The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series.