When I first start writing, it is usually because something has sparked off an idea in my head. A dream. A picture on the internet. A memory. Something. Very rarely do I sit down at my desk, roll up my sleeves, and say 'well, I'm just going to start writing about something - what, you ask? To be honest I'm not sure'
With After Ever it started with a dream. A very vivid dream, which oddly enough I seem to have when I am not armpit deep in the middle of a new writing project. It's like my mind is saying: stay busy, you idiot! Or I'll give you really scary/weird dreams every night. Aaanyways. So I had a dream I was in this big room with a bunch of other girls either my age or younger. I was dead, and so were they. A women came into the room and explained that we had died. She said that there were levels to death and to get all the way to the top level you had to perform acts of great sacrifice. I then went on a daring rescue mission to free my sister (who was not dead) from the clutches of Tom Cruise (don't worry -- After Ever is Tom Cruise free) and an idea for a book was born.
Writing a book is like raising a platypus. When the platypus is first born it looks like this and you're like WHAT THE HELL IS IT???!!!! It has a beak.. and it's hairless... and... and... there aren't any eyes! WHAT DO I DO WITH IT?
And then you start to nurture the baby platypus. You give it milk and make sure it stays warm. You start to gently mold it so it will know how to survive when it's a grown up platypus, and soon it starts to look like this:
But somewhere around the third month your platypus gets rebellious. NO, it says! I DON'T WANT TO GROW UP TO BE LIKE THAT! And so, temporarily, your platypus turns into this:
You have a serious discussion with your baby platypus. You explain, in no uncertain terms, that it HAS to remain a platypus, but you agree to some serious lifestyle changes. The platypus grows up. You teach it how to swim. You make certain it has all the right manners before you send it out into the big scary world. You even make sure it is clean and well groomed.
In the end your baby platypus will have to survive on it's own merits, but you prepared it the best you could. I mean, what else could you do? It is a really strange animal to begin with. Beak, fur, AND webbed feet? Come on. No way that's going to please everybody.