“What gave you the idea for this book?”
Seems like a simple question. Most authors have a nice pat answer to that query. Stephenie Meyer cites a dream as her primary inspiration for Twilight. Anne Rice has said that the death of her young daughter prompted her to write her first vampire novel, Interview With A Vampire. Stephen King says that his horror novel Pet Semetary came to him after a near miss involving his little boy and a busy highway.
But I think that if most writers were completely honest, they would admit that while a single incident might provide the initial idea, plot lines usually come from many different sources, some of them external–things that happens to us–and some of them from the deepest recesses of our minds.
One of the chief elements of Fearless came to me years ago when my children were small. I experienced something most moms can probably understand: I would wake up in the middle of the night and sleepily think of my baby, hoping she would stay asleep. . .and moments later, said baby would begin fussing. I told my sister that it was as if the baby could hear me thinking about her.
And that make me consider how complicated it would be to have a child who really could hear thoughts. How would a parent deal with that? How would you figure it out? How many scenarios might cross your mind before you discovered the truth?
The first chapter I wrote for Fearless was the one in which Tasmyn tells Michael about her history. The germ of the idea that had been marinating in my mind for over ten years took form in Tasmyn’s memories of her early childhood.
But there was so much more than that. Tasmyn’s years of moving from new school to new school was certainly something I could understand. I pulled some of her experiences–some of which was more detailed in earlier forms of the book–directly from my own experiences. And while I don’t think any of them were actually witches, I could certainly relate to mean and hostile girls.
So most of the basic outline of Tasmyn’s story had been with me for a while. But moving to central Florida gave me a setting that I hadn’t expected. In our early years here, I spent a lot of time in a nearby small town. There is no connection with the metaphysical or supernatural in that particular town, but there is another place not too far away that is well-known for its psychics and mediums. Combining those two locales–juxtaposing the bizarre with the normal–gave me the town of King.
Michael and his friends very kindly presented themselves to me. I didn’t have to reach very far for them; they just basically wrote their own stories. Does that sound odd? Maybe, but it’s true. If much of Tasmyn’s background and character comes from my own history, Michael is an absolute original. His love of the oldies and ’65 Mustangs came from my dad, who passed on both of those passions to me. His time working in the family business reminds me of my husband, who used to work in his father’s hardware store. But there is so much more to him that just seemed to evolve. I love that he is confident without being cocky; I adore his steady loyalty, his quirky humor and his unashamed love of family.
So that’s some of the background of Fearless. I hope that when you read it, you’ll recognize some of these elements and enjoy it all the more.