Thursday, August 20, 2015

In With The New

     After dedicating many a post to my first novel and my experiences trying to get it published, I think it's time to start talking about the new novel I'm working on. It's a young adult paranormal fantasy (I think), and I can't begin to express how excited I am about it.
     It's takes place in a fictional Colorado mountain town called Caribou Canyon (also the working title). The name is inspired by Caribou, a ghost town in Boulder County that thrived when its silver mines were first discovered. The town never quite bounced back from the fire that took place in 1879.
     The story began writing itself in my head long before I actually put anything to paper. I remember the moment the idea first hit me. It was Spring of 2011 and I'd just had the daunting realization that my vampire novel, which I'd thought was complete, needed a lot more work. It was a Friday night and I was sitting at Red Robin with my then boyfriend discussing all the work I had to do on my vampire novel when the idea for the new novel suddenly came to me. I knew I would't be writing it for a while, but it was a huge relief that I had an idea for a new story. I'd been afraid that my first novel was a fluke and I would never have any new ideas.
     I now have at least six potential novel ideas floating around my brain, so this is no longer a fear of mine.
     It wasn't until Fall of 2013 that I finally started working on Caribou Canyon. Since then, I've been flying by the seat of my pants. It's how I roll. Or fly. At least in rough drafts. I only had a very basic concept in mind: three best friends, a small town, murders, ghosts, and maybe some sort of curse. That might sound like a lot, but since I didn't have any details worked out, it really wasn't much at all. I'm amazed with how the story has evolved, and I even know how it's going to end!
     This story has a very special place in my heart. The initial inspiration came from my own tumultuous teenage years. Crazy times. I can't stress that enough. My mom calls those years my "Lost Weekend."  She's a John Lennon fan and had to explain that reference to me. It's an apt name. Although it might've been a Lost Weekend, those years were both painful and beautiful, and utterly awesome.
     The three main characters are based on myself and my two very best friends ever, Teri and Charla. Words cannot convey how much they meant and still mean to me, and how precious our friendship became in such a short period of time. Teri and I spent about three months living at Charla's house, which is by far one of the most interesting houses I've ever been in.
      The house was located in a former mining town. It was built in the early 1900s smack in the middle of a large field. The house had no foundation, so by the late '90s, when I lived there, it was starting to sink into the ground. It was seriously awesome and seriously freaky. The floors were crooked and the walls were dipping in on one side and bulging out on the other. Don't even get me started on that field. It was creepy during the day and downright terrifying at night. Sometimes I couldn't even bring myself to look out the window.
     Teri, Charla, and I were three teenagers with wild imaginations and a desperate need to grasp onto something that was meaningful, something that was less frightening than our painful realities. Crazy angst filled teens and a horror writer's dream house is a recipe for wild times and a lot of groupthink fed delusions. It was good times. Painful, but good.
     For my novel, I traded in the "haunted" house for an entire haunted town. I took away the groupthink delusions and replaced them with actual paranormal activity.
     My main characters are based on Teri, Charla, and myself. Penny is the good girl, the quiet shy book worm. She represents me. Frankie is the angry rebel and is supposed to represent Charla. Natasha is the outgoing beauty who is supposed to represent Teri.
     But when I started writing, I realized that Frankie and Natasha didn't represent Charla and Teri. At least not completely. They are as much me as Penny is. Penny is the ambitious, nothing-is-ever-good-enough, perfect Becky, who finally cracked under the pressure of high school. Frankie is the result of me cracking. Natasha is the girl that nerdy, friendless Becky always longed to be.
     Each girl is a different part of me, though I still like to think of Frankie and Natasha as Charla and Teri. Those girls still mean the world to me. They taught me what true friendship and love is. I hope to do our friendship justice with this novel.
     Teri and Charla, if you guys are reading this, I love you.
     All right, now that I've gotten all gooey and emotional and teary-eyed, I'm going to sign off. As always, thanks for reading.