Monday, September 8, 2014

Guest Post: Heather Young-Nichols

First, I want to thank Nyrae Dawn for having me. Writers are readers which means we’re fans and, in my case, just don’t feel cool enough to hang out (even virtually) with our favorite writers.

While trying to rack my brain to come up with some cool or amazing idea for this, my brain went haywire. I think I heard it sizzle. Seriously. So instead of stressing myself out, I decided to answer the second most asked question people have asked since they found out I had been offered a book deal.

Where do you get your ideas?

This is the second most asked question because the favorite is, How’s the book selling? Which most of the time is code for: Are you making any money at all?

I’m Heather Young-Nichols and in my debut New Adult Contemporary Romance Up for Grabs, My girl Flannery decides to sell her virginity to pay for college once she’s informed that her scholarship is gone. She doesn’t have the money to stay in school and she sees it as her only option. Her boyfriend Cain isn’t so on board with the idea. Can’t really blame him.

So, where did that come from?

In very late 2012, I read a story about a girl trying to sell her virginity to pay her mother’s medical expenses. At first, it made me sad to think someone would backed into that kind of corner. However, the more I thought about it, I realized that I didn’t think this was such an over the top crazy idea. That’s not to say that I’m recommending it to others nor is it “autobiographical” in any way. Lol. But we’re women. Our bodies. Our decisions. And no one has the right to lord over us as the purity pushers of today try to do. This idea of retaining complete control over ourselves is one I’m passionate about and given some things that have been in the news recently, it’s something a lot of other people still need to learn.

And that’s where Flannery came from. Her very first trait was that she was a virgin because she had to be. Which meant I had to create a backstory and personality that would make it believable for this twenty year old woman to in fact still be a virgin. That’s what I set out to do.

In the process, I created these characters that I fell in love with and hope others will, too. Actually, a beta reader for the second book, Up for Forever (working title), said that one of her favorite scenes to read is when they’re together as a group. The ribbing on each other plays well, she said. I love this so hard.

I have several other finished manuscripts that need to be edited and ideas that are partially written out and I love them all. But where do all of these come from? Especially since they’re all so different from one another. The answer … Everywhere! Something I read in the news, something I saw on TV. A cute couple I had the fortune to see being sweet when they didn’t know someone was watch*ing. Or, most recently, driving down the road listening to a Fall Out Boy song.

With that last example, an entire scene played in my head like a movie. The characters stepped forward and said “Hello, I’m Zac. This is Laney. And you’re going to write our story.” Can’t really turn that down and now I have a 45,000 word first draft that I wrote in just over three weeks.

It’s a weird process. It’s a weird job. But at least I’m not weird alone.

Happy Reading!


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