In the interest of adding actual blog content to this here “author blog,” I thought I’d do a monthly series in which I discuss the inspirations and ideas behind my books and their characters, starting with Restless Spirits, which is one of the few books or stories of mine that I can pinpoint the exact moment of inspiration.
It was Halloween night, 2004, and my friends and I went to see The Grudge (this was exactly two nights after I had met the man who would become my husband on a semi-blind date, which might be why it stands out so well in my memory). Afterwards, I was pondering the mechanics of the curse, and I had questions.
Questions like, if someone dies a violent death and becomes a vengeful, murderous spirit, then what happens to their victims, who are also violently murdered? Do they also become cursed vengeful spirits? What if the original spirit kills enough people that those spirits decide to turn around and gang up on the original spirit who killed them?
And thus the main plot of Restless Spirits was born.
It actually took a few more years–four, to be exact–before I started writing the book. In the mean time I was working on my first post-fanfiction novel, the Cyperpunk Faeries in Hollywood tale I was calling Hero Factor, which has since become lost before I could make it fit for public consumption, and it’s probably just as well. I was also falling in love with that aforementioned blind date, planning a wedding and settling into married life, among other things.
So by the time I actually started writing Restless Spirits for Nanowrimo in 2008, it had evolved a bit. It’s funny how your subconscious keeps working on a story and shaping it into what it’s supposed to be even when you think it’s the last thing on your mind. I can’t even tell you where my protagonist, Ron, came from (although I’ll try to make a few guesses in my next post, when I talk about character inspiration). I just know that the moment I started writing in her voice, she just sort of took over and told me the story. That was the first and, so far, only time I’ve ever successfully pantsed a novel, as well as the first time I’d won Nanowrimo, mainly because Ron simply wouldn’t stop talking to me until her story was told.
I wish all of my narrators could be so chatty. It certainly makes my job easier.