Monday, June 20, 2011

Blog Tour Guest Post: Courtney Vail

I haven’t told a soul this, ’cause it’s kind of embarrassing, and frankly, quite sad, but the first glimmer of inspiration I got for my novel, Kings & Queens, came from the movie, Drive Me Crazy…yep, the one with Melissa Joan Hart and Adrian Grenier. Didn’t I warn you about the sad?

In that movie, the leads live next door to each other, and something about that scenario seemed cool and interesting to me. And in my mind, I discovered this character Majesty. All I knew was that she was feisty, tomboyish and the manager of her school’s baseball team and the BFF of two guys: Derek and Alec. Although not a direct source of inspiration, it was kind of a Dawson’s Creek thing I guess.

But I’m not a romance writer. I need plot, beyond character conflict. I love suspense and weirdness, like the Dean Koontz, John Saul, Lois Duncan variety, so I wanted to work in something odd and compelling, but had nothing. Well, one night, I dreamt I was running for exercise, yes I do that, crazy I know, and overheard these two guys planning a church massacre and escaped them in this little town. Boom! Exactly what I needed. I found the seedling for my dark plot, as well as the setting for my story.

So, I brainstormed, wrote character sketches, spun out bits of dialogue and jotted a few key points, then just dove in. And the story grew into something totally shocking, unexpected and awesome. Incidentally, Majesty and Derek ended up living on opposite sides of the river in their class-divided town rather than next door to one another. That just worked better.

Sometimes, I’ll be rereading some of my favorite scenes, and thinking, wow, I wrote that? Yeah, I actually WROTE that. Several of Derek’s scenes, especially, are so intense and heartbreaking.

One of my friends was abused as a child and ended up shooting his puppy out of anger, so Derek’s tumultuous childhood was spawned from that awful and very real place. I wanted to explore that and see what a character would do with that past, where he’d go, how he’d ever find peace and love when he kept everyone at a distance with biting remarks, when he didn’t have the guts to trust anyone. Because Derek is so complex and scarred, most of my early readers ended up caring for him the most. And I actually did too. He’s definitely my fave.

I had a blast taking the sparks of inspiration I found and weaving them together to create a wild and twisty read, one that I hope will not only entertain, but also be difficult to put down and forget.

Thanks for reading!

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5/26/2013: If you're here and you're reading this.. thanks for sticking around! I know I've been gone for a while but I am definitely coming back. This blog will be going through some crazy transitions (layout and such) for the next few days, but I should be back up and ready to review VERY soon. Thanks so much for your patience and support!! xoxo, Missy
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