The two most common questions fiction writers get asked are: “Where do you get your ideas?” and “What’s your story about?” With each new release, I make a point of doing my best to respond, explaining what gave me the idea for the novel, as well as describing the plot. For DEADLY SETUP, for example, in which seventeen-year-old Sam’s life implodes when she goes on trial for the murder of her mother’s fiancé, I’ve talked about a case decades ago in which the daughter of actress Lana Turner was arrested for shooting her mother’s boyfriend. I’ve also discussed the impact of growing up in an ultra-wealthy community where I hung out with teens who had every material advantage but suffered from parental neglect and in some cases, downright abuse. Sam’s story was in part inspired by what I witnessed among my friends.
The follow up question after what inspired a story and what it’s about is often: “So, what are you working on?”
I realize I haven’t shared much about what I’m currently working on for my blog. Not sure why, unless it’s that I’m afraid I’ll hex a work-in-progress if I talk about it! But I know I’m curious about what authors are writing, so I thought I’d briefly talk about my current project.
After working on my first mystery for adults, MISSED CUE, which comes out this summer from Melange Books (more about that coming soon!), as well as a middle grade identity-swapping tale about a kid vampire who hates the taste of blood, I’ve returned to my roots which are deeply planted in YA land. Tentatively titled MISSING MOM, my story centers around an aspiring ballet dancer, Noelle, whose mother unexpectedly vanishes. The circumstantial evidence leads the police to conclude her mom is a “probable suicide,” but Noelle doesn’t buy it. Something awful may have happened to her mother, but she’s convinced it wasn’t suicide and is determined to investigate. Ravi, her closest friend from the dance studio whom she not-so-secretly pines for, insists on trying to help her.
Interspersed through scenes from Noelle’s investigation is the story of a young woman nearly two decades earlier whose abusive relationship turns out to be inextricably linked to what happened to Noelle’s mother.
In my previous young adult novels, I’ve stuck to a single point of view, and it’s been challenging (and fun) to incorporate a whole other story from the point of view of another character.
So, there you have it. I hope my description sparked your interest, because writing this book has definitely absorbed mine!