Recently I read about an opportunity to submit a backstory of one’s current novel. Since I couldn’t submit mine because I’ve not published the novel independently (I’m seeking representation), I thought I would post my backstory here. So without further ado…I bring you the backstory of HOPE IN BLOOM, my YA Contemporary novel.
It started with a pair of shoes. They were out of my budget, and well…out of my league. But I had to own them. Open-toe, sling-back colorful wedge sandals with the most beautiful perfectly-braided rope heels. I pictured myself wearing them on a date or out for a drink with the girls where I would meet someone who would then ask me out on a date. They were magic shoes.
Well, it didn’t turn out that way. They sat in my closet for over a year. I never had a date—mostly because I didn’t want to go out with the dominant/submissive guy I found on the internet or the rat-faced Santa I found on the internet or the grammatically-eloquent guy who wrote, “yor not bad i’ll date u,” but I’ll save my internet dating rant for another time. Anyway, no date and no fancy outings with my friends because we were all so demoralized about not having dates. So, the shoes sat. And they sat some more.
Until one day I sat with them on the floor of the closet and began dreaming of a world in which the shoes and I would be revelers at the popularity party instead of a trio of loners forgotten in a closet. And there was one clear answer, one sure bet to help this dream world become a reality: the lottery. If I could just win the lottery, I wouldn’t have to troll the internet for a decent man. I could waltz on to a Hollywood movie set and when Robert Pattinson saw my magical shoes, he would want to date me. If I could just win the lottery, my friends and I wouldn’t be so tired from working all week that our Friday night dream was to curl up on a couch. We could party like it was 1999/2012 because we wouldn’t have to work. If I could just win the lottery, my shoes and I would be set free
So the seed for my first YA novel, HOPE IN BLOOM, started on that one night I sat half inside my closet staring at the shoes I felt I would never wear.
HOPE IN BLOOM is about an eighteen-year-old senior, Mallory Van Pelt, who needs some hope just like I did, and she turns to the lottery to find it. Even though she wants to win the big jackpots in order to end her own misery and that of those she loves, I’m not sure she ever truly believes it will happen. Because it’s a funny thing about the lottery…it’s not really the jackpot that is the lottery’s greatest gift.
As Mallory’s year continues to unravel, she turns to her lottery dreams—those different fantasy lives she could have if she were to win a jackpot—for the courage and energy to face each day. With every set of new tickets, though, it becomes more about the dreams than it is about the money. She realizes that the reason she loves the lottery so much is that for just a few moments before she falls asleep or maybe even for an entire day, she can believe that her life will get better. She has faith that the suffering just might end. In those few precious moments, Mallory has hope. And that is the lottery’s greatest gift.
Of course there is a hot boy, too. I would never make one of my characters struggle to find a decent, hot guy. That is my gift to them.
And so what began as a sad, lonely moment with a pair of unworn shoes in my closet bloomed into a story I love, a story I needed to write. I still haven’t worn the shoes—I think I’ve put too much pressure on them to be magical and I also haven’t had an opportunity to meet Robert Pattinson. But I still play the lottery and hope that someday…
(Go to Behind Blue Eyes to read about submission guidelines for this great opportunity for indie artists and to read some awesome backstories soon.)