The topic of the day is inspiration. It’s a funny, fickle thing, that inspiration. It can hardly be counted on, never shows up when it’s really needed, and always manages intrude in your life during the most inappropriate of times. In other words, if inspiration were a boy, I’d have broken up with him after one date (two if he’s especially cute.)
As a writer with deadlines, I don’t have the luxury of being able to wait around for my muse to make an appearance in order to finish a book. (I can just imagine that letter to my editor: “Dear Janine, Sorry this manuscript is 2 months late but my muse has been sunning herself in the Caribbean for the past eight weeks and can’t be bothered to return my text messages.) Sometimes you just have to carry on without her and hope she appears later down the road to fix whatever mess you’ve managed to make on your own.
Today, however, I’d like to tell you the story of a time when Little Miss Muse did appear and ended up helping me out of a very distressing predicament. It’s the story of the time my muse inspired an idea for a trilogy called UNREMEMBERED*
*My muse would like me to insert an addendum here, stating that she is not to be held legally responsible nor liable should the book fail to perform satisfactorily in the marketplace, although she is happy to take credit should it become a phenomenal success.
I’ve decided to present the story in the form of an instant message conversation. Why? Because my interactions with my muse often feel like a frustrating IM relationship. One in which I’m always online, ready and eager to chat, but most of the time her status is set to “Invisible” or “Idle.” And also because there’s a very important scene in UNREMEMBERED that takes the form of an instant message conversation so it felt appropriate.
Now, before we proceed, I must warn you. My muse is...well...she’s special. The best way I can describe her is snarky, elusive, and a tad petulant. Why I had the misfortune of receiving a muse on the “temperamental” end of the Muse scale (is there such a thing?), I’ll never know. But I’ve learned through the process of writing, now seven, novels that when it comes to muses, you take what you can get and you don’t complain. Muses can be sensitive, prickly creatures who like to hold grudges, and if you happen to piss one off, well, let’s just say, I just don’t recommend doing it, okay?
The following IM conversation took place on March 5, 2010 when my agent was attempting to sell a new sci-fi series to publishers.
Me: You there?
Muse: Depends. What do you want?
Me: We got another rejection today. The final one. Now every publisher we sent it to has passed.
Muse: I’m not surprised. It sucked.
Me: A little support would be nice.
Muse: That’s not in my job description.
Me: I’m really upset. Why didn’t it sell?
Muse: I told you, it sucked.
Me: You helped write it!
Muse: I had no involvement in that book whatsoever. If I had, it wouldn’t suck so much.
Me: Yes you did! Remember when I asked you if a book about [omitted to avoid spoilers] was a good idea? And you said, quite enthusiastically I might add, “YES! Write it! Bravo, Jessica!”
Muse: That really doesn’t sound like me.
Me: Okay, so I’m paraphrasing. But remember? YOU told me to write a book about [omitted to avoid spoilers].
Muse. Yes. I remember that.
[1 minute passes]
Me: So, you told me to write it and it didn’t sell.
Muse: I told you to write a book about a girl who [omitted to avoid spoilers]. I never told you to write THAT book.
Me: Fine. So are you saying I should rewrite it?
Muse: That depends.
Me: On what?
Muse: On whether or not you want the next six months of your life to be as big of a waste of time as the last six months.
Me: So...that’s a no?
[30 seconds pass]
[30 seconds pass]
Me: Are you saying I should write a completely different book about a girl who [omitted to avoid spoilers]?
[2 minutes pass]
Me: Are you still there?
[7 minutes pass]
Muse: Sorry I fell asleep.
Me: That’s encouraging.
Muse: The conversation was boring me.
Me: Well, thanks.
Muse: Will there be anything else? I’m tired.
Me: YES! Tell me what to do! I’m lost!
Muse: I think you should read the newspaper.
[30 confused seconds pass.]
Me: The newspaper?
Muse: Yes, it’s a little paper thingy that comes out every day with news in it.
Me: I know what it is! I’m asking why. Why should I read it? You know I never read the newspaper. I don’t even get a newspaper.
Muse: You asked me what to do and now you’re arguing with my answer?
Me: No, no. I’m just...curious.
[5 minutes pass]
[10 minutes pass]
Me: Fine. I’ll go buy a newspaper.
[2 hours pass]
Me: OMG! You still there? You’ll never guess what I just read in today’s paper!!!
[2 minutes pass]
Me: There’s an article about a 16-year-old girl who survived a plane crash! She was the only one. Everyone else on the plane died. Isn’t that sad?
[1 minute passes]
Me: But it’s also kind of mysterious. No one can figure out how she survived. It’s like a miracle or something.
[3 minutes pass]
Me: What if she wasn’t even on the passenger manifest? Wouldn’t that be spooky?
Me: What if she was traveling alone and no one could locate her family?
Me: Ooh! What if she lost all her memories and couldn’t even remember who she is!???
Me: What if it turned out she had all these like, weird supernatural abilities?
Me: OOOOH! Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God. This it is...
Me: What if the reason she survived the plane crash was because she was actually [omitted to avoid spoilers]?????!!!!!
Me: Wouldn’t that be a cool idea for a book? It’s kinda similar to the other idea that didn’t but way better!
[1 minute passes]
Me: Did you fall asleep again?
[3 minutes pass]
Me: Yoo hoo! Earth to Muse!
Me: I think this is the book I should write next! What do you think?
[Muse has changed her status to “Unavailable”]
Me: I’ll take that as a yes.
The follow deal announcement was posted in Publisher’s Marketplace on December 10, 2010:
Jessica Brody's UNREMEMBERED book series, that begins when a 16-year old girl awakens with no memories surrounded by the wreckage of a devastating plane crash; the only clue to her identity is a mysterious young man who claims he helped her escape from a top-secret science experiment to Janine O'Malley at Farrar, Straus Children's, in a three-book deal, for publication in 2013, by Bill Contardi at Brandt & Hochman(World English).
Thanks again for hosting me today! I hope you all enjoyed meeting my muse. She’s a handful, that one! And I especially hope you enjoy UNREMEMBERED!
Find Jessica Brody
When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.
Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.
Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.
Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?
From popular young adult author, Jessica Brody comes a mesmerizing and suspenseful new series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.
Don't forget to visit all the blogs participating on this tour and collect all your clues.
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Thanks to MacTeenBooks we have a hardcover copy of UNREMEMBERED by Jessica Brody to giveaway. Wanda and I both read and loved UNREMEMBERED (Check out Wanda's review HERE) and cannot wait to share this book with the world. It's a great and intense read and will keep you entertained until the very end.
To enter to win all you have to do is leave a comment below telling us what you think of this post. Be sure to leave a way for us to contact you if you should win. You can leave your e-mail, twitter handle, anything. Good luck everyone!
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