Sunday, January 13, 2008

The (Damn) Book

Since the whole reason I created this blog was the chronicle the Writing of the Damn Book, I think it's finally time to talk about The Damn Book. So here we go!

I first started writing The Book almost exactly one year ago. It was MLK day, so I was home from work, The Husband was on a hiking trip, and Small Son was at daycare. In other words, perfect writing conditions! Looking back, I can't say what exactly inspired me, except that I knew I wanted to write something with a paranormal slant. I've always loved the supernatural, and I have tons of book dealing with unsolved mysteries, so I knew I wanted to incorporate that. I also knew I wanted to write something set in a creepy boarding school because I'd been watching a lot of Hex on BBC America, and it's set in a creepy (British) boarding school (side note- everyone must immediately go out and get a copy of Hex. It's so cracked out and weird, by which I mean it's AWESOME.) When I initially started, the book was about one Sophie Mercer, a totally normal girl attending a prestigious boarding school in Georgia called Prentiss Academy (Originally called Prentiss Hall until I remembered that's a textbook company, ha ha! Stupid Teacher Brain!) While at Prentiss, Sophie realizes there's some seriously weird stuff going down, namely pretty horrible murders! Good times!

It was fun, and I really liked the creepy Southern boarding school aspect (and, in case you didn't know, the picture at the top of my blog is my model for Prentiss. Spooky, huh?), but as I went on, it felt like it was missing something. So I abandoned it for awhile. But as is the case with most writers. I couldn't let go of the idea. It was something I just kept turning over and over in my head, trying to make it work. And then, out of the blue, I got what I thought was a pretty cool idea; What if (the best ideas start with what if?) Prentiss was no ordinary boarding school, but a sort of Juvie for teenage witches, vampires, faeries, and shapeshifters? Wouldn't that be fun? And, hey, it combines the two most happening things in YA right now, private schools and monsters!

And so Sophie became a witch who's sent to Prentiss after a innocent love spell goes Carrie-levels of bad at the prom. Once at Prentiss, she befriends Lexie, a slightly ditzy faery whose roommate died under mysterious circumstances the year before. Sophie also gets on the bad side of a trio of witches, one of whom just happens to be the girlfriend of the guy Sophie has a crush on (although Sophie would tell you that she does not have a crush on him. Well, not a big one at least...) And then there are ghosts, family secrets, a pretty bad-ass bunch of demon hunters known as L'Occhio del Dio, Lord Byron, an evil tattooed gym teacher, and, oh yeah, more horrible murders. All in all, I think it's a lot of fun.

For right now, the tentative title is Too Near the Glass. I got that from the following quote by Sarah Morgan Bryant Piatt (quite a mouthful, that!): “My mother says I must not pass, Too near the glass; She is afraid that I will see, A little witch that looks like me; With a red mouth to whisper low, The very thing I should not know.”

I've actually had that quote posted on a bulletin board by my desk for ages just because I liked it. There's something deliciously spooky about it. Then, when I was searching for a title, I happened to glance up and see it, and bam! Perfect title, not only for its air of super-creepiness, but also for the way it deals with some of the theme of the book: witches, identity, family, and the secrets people keep.

So that's my ridiculously long post about The (Damn) Book. Next time, I might even post an excerpt...


Felicia said...

I'm already waiting for the next installment! Can't wait! Feel free to use my name in as many of the characters as you can. No it...DO IT!

Ally Kendall said...

Yes, I'm anxiously awaiting, too! Especially now that you've hinted about what's to come. :) Sounds VERY interesting! Get crackin', chica!