Thursday, November 19, 2009


Inspiration is an amazing thing. Like pennies from Heaven, you never know when inspiration will pour into your lap, clinking for attention, shaking your femurs with the sudden weight.

My legs are shaking now, not with the thrill of an historical romance unraveling in my mind, but with something I never intended to write...a YA.

When Harry Potter came out I had five kids between ages 8 and 12. In their blind belief that their mother could do anything, they pleaded with me to write a Harry Potter. I laughed.

A few years ago Twilight came out. The same children, now older though no less optimistic, suggested I write the next Twilight. Their lives, they reasoned, would be so much easier if I were rich. Having another series of books to read would be an added bonus.

I explained to them my main requirement for writing a book is for the story to drop into my head and demand to be recorded. At that point only Scottish historicals had the coordinates of my skull. YA wasn't even something I read, let alone something that would "speak to me". But boy, is one speaking now!

Do I feel transparent, writing to the market? Absolutely. After all, I'm the kind of character who fought reading Harry Potter books just because the rest of the world loved them. I NEVER love what's popular. Now I feel like the first rock star to allow VISA to sponsor my concert, or like a republican taking campaign donations from oil companies. In spite of my shame, however, I'm going to do likewise and embrace the horror.

This pile of pennies is weighing me down, holding me to my chair, demanding that I write the story. I feel as if my lower half is buried in a silo of oats and I'll be trapped here until the novel is complete. Every time I need a great idea for a scene I hear a clink and holy crap, there it is. The floodgates are washing down the hill, and I'm afraid whatever stands in my way is going to be ignored like the tiny town of Thistle, Utah, which now clutters the bottom of a reservoir.

You've all been here. I know you have. But just which story was it? Which genre? Are you there right now, gripping your lifejacket and hoping your raft stays right-side-up until it's safe to climb out?

And here's another question: When these mudslides/dam-breakers/writing marathons happen to you, do they always seem to happen when your schedules are full, after major events in your life, or do you make them happen? Is it only Nanovember, or have you poured body and souls on your keyboards during other seasons?

Spill. Share.
Ainsley, who is headed to the store for Prep-H, tissues, chocolate, and a DO NOT DISTURB SIGN for her office door.