My latest novel, Stuffed Souls, stretched my imagination in so many ways. I like to keep my books as plausible as possible but my imagination had taken me down a road of Voodoo and intubated bodies—subjects I knew very little about. The Voodoo side of this struggle my mom helped me solve. “Just make up your own rules. It doesn’t have to be real Voodoo as long as the book is consistent.” Her advice set my mind at ease since I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of an in-depth study of the religion. I found the few things I’d gleaned from scrolling through internet scary enough.
The second issue of medical terminology and intubated bodies fell to my sister, Allison. I leaned heavily on her nursing background to help me navigate plausible ways to keep bodies alive. Sometimes she gave me way more information than I could ever possibly need, but her willingness to bat ideas around with me helped me overcome many plot obstacles that cropped up.
This book is such an interesting take on the bully issues in society, but I couldn’t have written it without their help. My mom is gone now, having passed away, but Allie is still here. Thank you for coming along on this twisted suspense novel with me.
What is it about junior high that takes once sweet kids and turns them into snarling monsters bent on picking each other apart? My eighth grade daughter is in the throes of this swirling insanity and comes home almost every day with complaints of things other girls don’t like about her.
“They don’t like my deodorant. They say it smells like baby power.”
Okay…when did baby powder become a bad smell? I, for one, like baby powder, it’s better than how our bodies smell with no deodorant at all. The girls keep making fun of my daughter, gagging while she’s getting dressed after P.E. class. I’m tired of hearing about it so I get her a different deodorant.
Now these same girls—bless their wretched souls—have decided the swimsuit lines on my daughter’s back are worthy of their ire. Ew…heaven forbid!
Uh…right about here I’m rubbing my temples because of the sheer stupidity of this complaint when my daughter says something I consider even worse.
She says, “Nothing I do makes these girls like me.”
“Whoa. Stop right there. First of all, you shouldn’t be living to please these girls. Why do you care what they think? Trust me, they’re just as lost and hormone-y as you are. And Secondly, I’ve told you a thousand times, you can’t make anybody do anything. They have to choose to like you. Even if they never do, does it really matter? Your value comes from within—not from them. I know it’s hard, and mean people really do suck, but they can only affect you if you let them. Just as they make their choice you get to make your own. Don’t squander that on people who don’t lift you up.”
This parenting thing makes me feel like a broken record. Only time will tell if I’m getting through to her.
If you’ve gotten your copy of Stuffed Souls already and sucked it right down, I have a fun fact for you. The opening scene of Chapter twelve wasn’t in the original manuscript. I had glossed over the truck ride with Elam to get to the juicer, emotional, roller coaster ride of Jessica and Travis. If you don’t know what that means, you’re missing out. Get the book and read it. Oh looky…here’s a link.
Anyway…my editor, Mary Einfeldt, was like I don’t think so, I want to see what happens in that truck ride. It took me a couple of days of thinking to come up with a plan, but when I started fleshing out the scene I had to stop several times just to chuckle at the visual I could see in my head. What had I been thinking? Not only is the opening scene in chapter twelve hilarious, it gives the reader an even stronger insight into Elam’s character traits. I’m so glad I took up the challenge the editor placed before me. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; the best editors are the ones who push more than applaud your work.