Where Do You Get Your Inspiration From?
First, I’d like to thank you for hosting me on your blog today.
One of the most often asked questions a writer hears is about where they get their inspiration from. One of the most often answers is: everywhere. Just like every book is different, so the inspiration for each book comes from different places, people, or events. Everything can, indeed, be an inspiration if only you look at it consciously and deeply enough.
The inspiration for My Summer Roommate comes mostly from the main character. Chloe first appeared in Letting Go as Isabelle’s best friend. At the time, the story needed a character that was more insightful than Isabelle so as to help her see her situation more clearly. That was why I wrote Chloe the way I did. Once Letting Go was finished, Chloe kept popping up in my mind. Quite unintentionally, I’d made her a very compelling character. So I wanted to know more about her. I wanted her to tell her story.
Although Chloe and Isabelle are best friends and that friendship stems from a very similar single-parent family situation, they are also essentially different. Where Isabelle compensates for having so many responsibilities from an early age by becoming a control freak, Chloe is far more laid back and a carefree party girl. The long list of ex-boyfriends perhaps suggests it’s easy to gain her affections, but the bitter truth is, Chloe’s heart is locked away behind a reinforced steel door. She’s not melodramatic about it; instead she’s determined to enjoy life while she’s young and focus on love later.
When you’ve got a character that is as full of life as Chloe is, it’s difficult to create another character that would be wonderful enough to be able to rock her world. Because let’s face it – Chloe needed her world rocked. Usually, boys and men are the ones that play the role of no-strings-attached lovers in novels, eager to have fun and then move on. But I wanted to challenge that stereotype, so while Chloe is avoiding a serious relationship at all cost, Chris is the boy who has no problems admitting to how he feels. He’s this warm, fun, wholesome personality that gets under Chloe’s skin and she can’t shake him. The nicer he is to her, the more Chloe fights him, and the more apparent it is that she’s losing.
So, apart from that initial inspiration that I got from Chloe’s character and the stereotypical love stories, it was the characters that later decided on how the story would unfold. The dynamic between Chloe and Chris dictated the rhythm and the pace of the novel. A lot of the time while I was writing My Summer Roommate I felt like I were coordinating a tango dance between Chris and Chloe. It was a sort of a love dance, but instead of an elegant curtsy to finish it off, the dancers stumbled and got hurt. And by that point, the conflict was already fleshed out, the stakes were known, and all I had to do was wrap up the story.
Ha, I wish it were that easy. The truth is, I probably agonized over Chris’s mistake almost as much as he did. And I hurt right along with Chloe. But then Harper from Letting Go dished out some unasked-for love advice, and Sal urged Chris to do the right thing, and Isabelle nudged Chloe in just the right direction … All’s well that ends well. Mostly, inspiration is what gives a story a good start, but it’s only persistence and work that can lead to a good ending.
by Bridie Hall
Published by: Evernight Teen
Publication date: September 19th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Chloe needs a place to crash for the summer before college. When Chris offers, she moves in with him. It’s just for two months, no biggie. But soon she realizes she may have made a mistake. He is too perfect; a former snowboarder, laid-back and kind to boot, and he’s smitten with her. But she’s got trust issues and a relationship feels daunting. When he keeps trying to win her over, the temptation becomes overwhelming.
Just as she gives in and decides it’s not worth fighting their emotions anymore, Chris reveals he’s made a stupid mistake which might ruin Chloe’s trust in him and tear them apart.
I bring him a frozen gel pack. I want to hand it to him, but he’s leaning back, his eyes closed, so I put it slowly on his knee.
“Thanks.” He sighs, and then opens his eyes. He’s half asleep, probably still tipsy, but grinning.
“Thanks,” he repeats. It’s only when he continues that I realize he’s not talking about the compress. “We should do this again soon.”
“People are going on vacations. There won’t be many parties for the next month or two.”
“Just us, then,” he says, and his eyes sparkle.
Risking that I might sound an idiot, I ask, “Are you asking me out? On a date?”
“You sound surprised.”
“Just hesitant,” I say. “I’m not looking for a relationship, Chris. I don’t want you to think that I am.”
Quite unexpectedly, he laughs. “How serious and grown up she sounds.”
I swat his arm. “Jerk. I am serious, because I don’t want you to expect something that’s not going to happen.”
“Why is it not going to happen?”
“’Cause,” I say, as if it should be obvious. Because really, it should be, right? In exactly six weeks, I’ll be moving to Atlanta. I don’t know where Chris is heading to college because I haven’t managed to ask him yet. Isn’t that enough of a reason in itself? You can’t have a relationship with someone when you don’t even know where they’ll be in two months time.
“’Cause? That’s your argument? For a future psychologist, that’s a lame-ass explanation.”
He’s enjoying this. Way too much.
“’Cause I only date terrible people. Bad, bad boys. You’re too nice for me,” I say, joking.
He makes a face, not buying it for one second.
“You want a reason? Here’s a good one—I don’t want anything to happen between us.”
“I have my very personal reasons which I am not inclined to share with you at this moment.”
“At a later moment perhaps, then?” He keeps looking at me with this half-smile on his face that drives me nuts because I have the impression that he’s playing with me, that he can foresee my every word and that he can prepare his response in advance. I don’t like being two steps behind. Usually, I’m the one to have everything under control. He’s unbalanced me with this.
“At no moment at all. I just don’t want it, and that should suffice, Christopher Quinn.”
“How can you be sure you won’t change your mind?”
For god’s sake, can’t he take a hint?
Maybe you’re not convincing enough? Because … you don’t want to be?
“Because I’m actively working on not changing my mind,” I say in order to drown out my evil inner voices.
“What if I’m actively working on swaying it?”
“Ugh! Stop it,” I say, but I can’t help but laugh. God, I think I like arguing with him. That’s very worrisome. Very, very worrisome.
It gets worrisomer when he leans towards me and asks very quietly and calmly, “Why?”
With his green eyes staring at me, his deep voice cutting right through to the core, and him being so close, I feel goose bumps form on my forearms but I ignore them, annoyed. He will not win. He cannot win.
But the worst thing is that his question is now resounding in my head, and I forgot what the correct answer was. Why was it, again?
“Do you really want me to spell out all the reasons?”
“One’s enough, if it’s a good one.” He grins.
“And you’re the one who decides if it’s good enough, right?”
“Of course. Because the way I see it, it would have to be pretty damn good. I like you. You like me, don’t try denying it.”
I lift my hands in a ‘wouldn’t dream of it’ fashion, because really, there is no point in denying it after I’ve flirted with him, danced with him, and laughed with him until I had tears in my eyes. I do like him.
“We have a good time together. I’ve made you lunch four times this week. We’re both single.”
“True. And the lunch almost swayed me. Almost.”
“Ahh,” he moans, letting his head fall back onto the pillows. “You’re hopeless, and I’m hopelessly falling for you.”
For a moment, I feel my heart stop. But then I realize he’s joking. Which is good. Just great.
“You’ve known me for what, two weeks?” I say to support my claims. “You barely know me.”
“I don’t have to know you for twenty years to know you, Chloe.”
I make a frustrated sound and get up from the couch.