Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Twenty-Five Things About my Novel (Jumpin' on the Bandwagon : ) )

I guess this concept, starting from Samantha at Wuthering Life and picked up on by several other aspiring authors as I understand it (I found it myself on both Samantha's blog and on As the Plot Thickens), is starting to really make the rounds. More power to it ... I think it's really cool.

So here's what you do. Just make a list of 25 things people don't know about your WIP and post it. Hopefully it'll drum up some further interest ... and it's actually pretty fun.

So, I offer you ... 25 things you didn't know about Unbreakable

1. I had a really horrible nightmare when I was twelve or thirteen involving a group of kids being trapped in a house by an evil witch. That nightmare turned into the first book I wrote (it wasn't very good, but it was the foundation for Unbreakable).

2. As homage to my brother, Adam, and my sister, Mary, I changed the name of one of the secondary characters to Roy. There was a bet involving the purchasing of a porno magazine (it's really better not to ask ... Adam lost the best, we'll just leave it at that), and the mag featured an "article" about a guy named Roy. They didn't think I'd put him into my story, I was adamant that I'd prove them wrong.

3. The aforementioned Roy was originally a minor character, but he ended up being the ultimate scene-stealer and somehow became the leading male protagonist.

4. The book takes place in a small New Hampshire city (yes, we have them) that bears a striking resemblance to my hometown. That is not a coincidence.

5. My husband has said that Unbreakable is my life story, although many of the major events are completely foreign to me. And he's absolutely right.

6. I hate the way it ends, but it took my two years to end the book, so I kind of had to go with what I had. I still don't think I could come up with a better ending ... but I continue to hate it.

7. One of the characters, Addie, is very much like my fourteen-year-old daughter (who I refer to on this blog as Addie because of this similarity).

8. Although there is murder by gunshot in my book, I've never fired a gun in my life.

9. I spent a family vacation to Montreal sitting by the hotel pool editing the manuscript because the mood struck me. Although I was kind of a bummer in terms of vacation, it was by far the most effective edit I've ever done.

10. My stepfather--my absolute hero--used to say, "The universe works" all the time. That is the overlying theme to this book.

11. I tried very hard to portray a drug dealer sympathetically (I try to portray everyone with at least a degree of sympathy), but he was just too much of an asshole to let it happen. Writing the scene where his sister confronts him in jail when she is successful and happy and he's stuck there for life gave me warped pleasure.

12. This book is dedicated to my friend Jen, a gal who has somehow managed to be my friend for almost thirty years. I figured it was the least I could do for her : )

13. The book covers a span of twenty years or so, and there's a lot of bouncing around in terms of when things are happening. I worry that this makes it extremely confusing, but I've been told that this isn't the case. We shall see, I guess : )

14. There are two main characters (and narrators), Roy and Susy. Roy is kind of an asshole, but he's kind of likable in spite of it. Susy is a still water that runs deep. I had to make them very different in order to get the writing voice right depending on which of them was narrating.

15. My sister Mary has been my most constant reader (starting when she was ... oh, I'll say nine or ten), although several others (most notably my friend Roland) should get credit as well.

16. When I asked Pythagorus if he had any idea how one would connect with a police radio frequency from inside a house, I thought he'd give me his famous look that I get when I ask stupid questions (both things happen quite frequently). Instead, he explained it to me in a very simple and straightforward way. Sometimes my husband really surprises me : )

17. The parental figures, Brian and Belinda McKenzie, are loosely based on my mother and step-father. Brian McKenzie basically is my stepdad (except I made Brian better looking ... sorry, Gordo : )), and Belinda is my mother on her good days.

18. I've spent a lot of time observing the various relationships between children and their parents through my career as a teacher. I tried to use this to make a rather unbelievable situation seem more realistic.

19. I think the dialogue in this book is amazing. There, I said it.

20. I set the parts where the main characters are in high school during the same time that I was in high school because I wanted it to be as realistically portrayed as possible, and it would feel very awkward for me to try to imagine what being a high school student is like in this day and age.

UPDATE: As Marty pointed out, I owe you five more facts. So here we go ...

21. It's a very dark story (rape, child abuse, drugs, violence), but it's kind of happy at the same time. Not sure if that makes sense, but it's how I view it.

22. One of my current students, "Mariam", has recently read it (I've let a handful of my very advanced readers experience it) and has taken it upon herself to become my agent because she's pretty sure she can convince a publishing company to take it on. She's probably right--nobody gets in Mariam's way : )

23. The most horrible thing that's ever happened to me is expressed through my characters. I don't know whether this is cheating or therapy ... : )

24. It took me a long time to come to terms with my characters' names. I'm particularly lame at choosing last names. The phone book is a great tool : )

25. One of the main characters, Roy, has a learning disability that keeps him from being able to read, yet he's a mathematical genius. I have a learning disability that makes math very difficult for me (I can't play cribbage because I have to count on my fingers--it's very embarrassing), but I'm ... well, I'm not going to say a literary genius, but it's definitely a strong suit for me. Sometimes I worry that I went to far in the opposite direction ... plus, it's a good think Pythagorus is a mathematician because it was challenging at times to write as a mathematical genius when you're a mathematical idiot.

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