Inspiration: Running to Stand Still

May 5, 2016 Writing  2 comments

After a tumultuous, two year process, I am so freaking excited to announce that my next book, Running to Stand Still, a New Adult Romance, will be out August 2016!

Running to Stand Still is the story of a girl desperate to leave her hometown behind her in the rearview mirror, and a boy worth staying for.

This story started to form in my mind during the winter of 2012.

I was settling in after a year of epic change + rapid decision making (moving, buying a house, getting married – all at the age of 19) and was starting to feel very, very trapped.

I was driving to class at Wayne State University, winter semester of my Junior year.

Paradise by Coldplay was playing on the radio.

I was miserable and depressed. And I had to find a way to be okay.

 

As I walked through the parking garage on campus, this idea bubbled up…

A story about a girl desperate to leave.

Why couldn’t she leave now? What was keeping her there?

She was a bartender at her dad’s bar – set in Harper Woods (where my mom grew up, close to where I grew up, close to where I went to school – all in the Metro Detroit area).

What did she want? What were her dreams? What would make her happy?

Where did she want to go?

 

It had a haunted sort of feel. Of broken dreams and disappointment.

Of sinking in grayness. Of coldness. (Or perhaps, that was just what I saw around me in January.)

 

Somewhere in the midst of this web, a scene from the movie Jumper — Millie, played by Rachel Bilson, bartending at a bar in Ann Arbor, Michigan — jumped (haha) into my mind.

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I loved that movie. Because who doesn’t want to be able to teleport anywhere in the world that they want to? 

But it was the little details that captivated me – the things that really didn’t even play a very large part in the story as a whole. I loved the way it felt, the way it looked. The gray of their town (which reflected my reality). The refuge of the bar. This instant, sincere connection between the characters. The way they looked together — her with dark hair, dark eyes, petite; him, her opposite, with blonde hair, blue eyes. The way he protected her. The way that she was strong, and yet, wanted him to.

It was also around this time I read Jamie McGuire’s Beautiful Disaster. Jamie broke the system when she wrote this book–she’s a NA Romance pioneer and helped bring the genre into being. Beautiful Disaster absolutely gripped me and would not let me go. I read it in a day. Then read it again the next day. It was all-consuming. One of the most emotional connections I’ve ever had while reading a book. 

The connection and evocative response I experienced was so strong, so visceral, that I knew that one day I wanted to recreate that experience for myself, for my readers. 

I let all of this percolate in the back of my mind as I went on with my life + school. Letting things, experiences, feelings filter in and start to form the context of the story.

Fast forward two years, I’d graduated and was nearing the publication of my first novel.

That seed that’d been planted two years earlier, started moving towards the front, started to make it’s presence known to me again, demanding attention.

It was then that the character of Collin (my male protagonist) started taking shape in my mind. Heavily influenced by the aesthetic + setting + feel of Bates Motel, I was struck by the sincerity, earnestness, + just goodness of the character of Dylan played by Max Thieriot. (Who portrayed Young David in Jumper, so it was only fitting that he was how I pictured Collin in my mind.)

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 Nearly simultaneously, I was watching Star-Crossed, a short-lived CW tv show about aliens (with cool tattoos) whose ship had crash landed in Louisiana. Again, I saw this theme of instant, sincere connection between two young characters and I was hooked. Aimee Teagarden played the main female protagonist, and I knew that she was my Jamie (my female protagonist).

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 So, what I’ve learned about my creative process at this point, is that I tend to take these influences and inspiration from the world around me — a lot of the time, tv + film characters — and then make them my own.

It’s what happened in The Charm Necklace. It’s what’s happening for the next book I’m writing.

And I can’t wait for you to meet them 🙂

Until next time, farewell & may your life never cease to be filled with wonder and curiosity.

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