The secret inspiration behind fictional pop star Eric Thorn
Hello my bookish friends! I’m so grateful to Becky on Books for featuring Follow Me Back, my YA romantic thriller set in the fictional online fandom of a pop star. I know a thing or two about this subject. As an author, I cut my teeth on Wattpad, writing fanfic stories about a real band. (Nope! It wasn’t One Direction… or Justin Bieber…) I’m asked all the time whether my male main character, Eric Thorn, is based on a real celebrity. Let me take this opportunity to set the record straight.
Short answer: No.
Long answer: Well, yes. In a convoluted way, he kind of is…
It’s a long story. Let me back up and explain. My adventures in online fandom began a few years ago when I went on maternity leave. I had recently given birth to twins, and I found myself in a fog of sleep deprivation, hormone fluctuation, and social isolation. My brain took those factors and translated them – not into postpartum depression like many new moms – but in my case, into an intense celebrity crush. I developed an unhealthy fixation-bordering-on-obsession with…
Adam Levine, lead singer of Maroon 5.
I was an adult at the time, but I reacted like a typical teenager in our modern social-media age. I made a Maroon 5 fan account on Twitter, and I began posting an elaborately plotted “song-fiction” story on Wattpad. My goal, if I had one, was to gain a follow back from Adam. I figured if I wrote the most popular fanfic on the Internet about his songs, he would surely notice me in return. It all seemed perfectly logical at the time.
My first story was a novel-length work of pure romance entitled Obsessed, and it soon turned into a four-book series. None of those fanfics are being published, you’ll be relieved to hear. My early books made heavy use of song lyrics from the albums burning a hole in my brain, but I wouldn’t pass them off as original work. My fan life did a couple things, however, to set stage for Follow Me Back:
- Fanfiction introduced me to the craft of novel-writing.
- I gained a small but loyal readership of fellow “Marooners.”
- As my online following grew, it planted the seed in my mind for a new story: a wish-fulfillment fantasy about a Wattpad writer who becomes fan-famous and attracts the notice of her celebrity love.
You see, when I first conceptualized Follow Me Back, it was going to be a fluffy romantic comedy. I had that book all planned out. The outline sat on my hard drive for months, but I never wrote it. That story had been told too many times before. I knew in my gut that it was missing something.
Then in 2014, Maroon 5 released a new single called “Animals” – probably the darkest song they ever recorded, and certainly the most disturbing music video. The moment I saw it, the inspiration struck. I stayed up all night watching, listening, and writing. I knew exactly how to take my trope-ridden concept and mold it into something new. Follow Me Back, the twisty psychological thriller, was born.
As I was planning out the storyline, I must have watched the “Animals” video a hundred times. I picked it apart, image my image, and that was when I discovered something truly unexpected. Hiding at the 0:32 mark, if you slow the video down, there’s a hidden message. A single frame, containing a fragment of text.
As soon as I found it, I did what any self-respecting fangirl would do: I tweeted. Repeatedly. If you scroll down my Twitter history to September 2014, I’m sure you’ll find the thread. With the help of fellow fans, I discovered the source of the text: a fragment from a 1997 interview by Trent Reznor, lead singer of the Nine Inch Nails. The full interview is available here (http://www.theninhotline.net/archives/articles/manager/display_article.php?id=671 ). In it, Reznor expresses a deep disillusionment with fame: “Like I always thought, ‘Man, if I could ever be a rock star… Some stupid f*** naïve dream, and then you get it and… it didn’t work, man. I mean, my job is I wake up and make music and work with people I respect, and David Bowie will take my call, so why do I want to kill myself, you know? It sucks.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A.V. Geiger is a popular online author and member of the elite Wattpad Stars program. Her original teen fiction has received millions of hits on Wattpad, the story-sharing website, and was ranked #1 in the Mystery/Thriller genre. Her writing career began with celebrity fanfiction, and her work draws extensively on her own experiences with fan culture and social media. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and twin boys.
Follow Me Back
by A.V. Geiger
Publication Date: June 6th, 2017
Tessa Hart’s world feels very small. Confined to her bedroom with agoraphobia, her one escape is the online fandom for pop sensation Eric Thorn. When he tweets to his fans, it’s like his speaking directly to her…
Eric Thorn is frightened by his obsessive fans. They take their devotion way too far. It doesn’t help that his PR team keeps posting to encourage their fantasies.
When a fellow pop star is murdered at the hands of a fan, Eric knows he has to do something to shatter his online image fast―like take down one of his top Twitter followers. But Eric’s plan to troll @TessaHeartsEric unexpectedly evolves into an online relationship deeper than either could have imagined. And when the two arrange to meet IRL, what should have made for the world’s best episode of Catfish takes a deadly turn…
Told through tweets, direct messages, and police transcripts, this thriller for the online generation will keep you guessing right up to the shocking end.
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