Title: THE MYSTERY OF THE STONE BOX
Genre: MG Fantasy
Word Count: 52,000
Orphaned twin girls Ailish and Rylan never thought that a school field trip to the museum would launch them into a dangerous race to find out the identity of their long-lost parents.
Ailish and Rylan are too tall, smart, and peculiar for their own good, and it doesn’t help their social status that they were left on the doorstep of a loving but scatterbrained old maid. Although they love their caregiver, the girls have always felt different and they wonder who their parents were and why they were abandoned with only a note and two miniature swords.
While exploring the Somwellshire Museum, Ailish and Rylan stumble upon an ancient stone box with an Arthurian inscription and are shocked to discover their miniature swords (now worn as necklaces) are also the keys to opening it. After unlocking the box, the twins find five stone coins decorated with mysterious symbols. In order to decipher the coins, Ailish must learn how to stand on her own and Rylan must learn to trust her instincts. Unfortunately, they soon realize they are not the only ones who want to figure out the box's secret.
With help from Sammie, their enchanted dog, the girls use intuition, intelligence, and magic to outwit Dr. Medraut, the museum curator who has been struggling to open the box for decades. Ailish and Rylan must solve the mystery before Medraut does or they will never find out the truth of their lineage.
THE MYSTERY OF THE STONE BOX is an upper middle grade fantasy complete at 52,000 words. As an identical twin, I strove to explore the complicated but fascinating relationship that often exists between twins.
1953 Somwellshire, England
Mrs. Fipps turned her gaze towards the back of the year seven classroom. Her cheeks were gaunt and large purple bags hung under her eyes like sagging balloons. A well-worn wooden paddle hung from the wall next to her desk. Family History reports littered the large desk. “Even though we already know the story about how the twins were found on the doorstep of a lonely old lady, I suppose we’ll have to hear it again.” Her voice sounded like it was trapped in her stomach. “Your turn to present, Rylish.”
Rylan twirled a tiny sword that hung on a necklace, not bothering to correct her name. On the first day of school, Mrs. Fipps said she couldn’t take the time to tell her and her twin sister, Ailish, apart so she would just combine their names. They had been Rylish or Ailyan ever since.
The two sisters looked exactly alike (pale skin, long raven black hair and emerald eyes). No one besides Aunt Mabel and the town librarian knew which one was which. And having the same haircut didn’t help. But the truth was, if any of their classmates had taken the time to befriend the girls, they would have known the twins were very different. Ailish was left-handed, Rylan was right-handed. Ailish believed in magic, Rylan believed in logic. Ailish was shy, Rylan was outgoing. Unfortunately, no one bothered to notice. Somwellshire was a town filled with people who were suspicious of anything new and unusual, especially people who didn’t quite fit.