Australian born Melissa Keil is our guest blogger this week. Melissa is a self confessed ‘giant book nerd’ who spends her days as a children’s book editor and most of the rest of her time reading, writing, buying comic books, watching YouTube, and wrangling a cheeky (and totally gorgeous) spoodle named Hugo. Welcome to GHB, Melissa.
Story ideas come from odd places. Most of the time, they don’t fall into your lap whole – rather, they come in snippets, in flashes of a character, perhaps a particular scene or a single dramatic moment, or a few pieces of a story that gnaw at your brain until you pay it attention. My ideas have always been inspired by random things – an image spotted while rushing to the train, or a poster on a café wall. I am an obsessive hoarder of ‘stuff’, and have lots of notebooks full of pictures torn from magazines, song lyrics, newspaper headlines or graffiti founds on the back of toilet doors (yes, I carry a notebook everywhere, and I mean, quite literally, EVERYWHERE).
I’m also a huge pop culture nerd, and have a big soft spot for characters who sit outside the mainstream. I love getting into my characters heads through the stuff they love – not necessarily the stuff that I love – but characters who have a hobby or fandom that I’m interested in exploring.
The Incredible Adventure of Cinnamon Girl was sparked by a wonderful combination of the above. I’ve always been a fan of superhero movies, but hadn’t had much chance to read superhero comics. I have zero artistic ability, and have always been in awe of people who can create amazing visual art. So Alba, my character who was both a huge comic book fan and a talented artist, was born. I got to know her as I got to know the things that she filled her head with – her world open up to me as I devoured Wonder Woman comics and researched all the amazingly talented comic creators who she held as her heroes.
But having an idea of a character is only part of the job of writing a book. While Alba had been in my head for a while, the story I was going to place her sprang from a little article I stumbled on in the back pages of the newspaper. It was a story about a tiny town which inadvertently became the centre of an apocalyptic prediction. The idea of a small, happy, isolated community that accidentally has the spotlight of the world cast on it, was too juicy an idea to pass up. And as a background for Alba and her group of friends, who have just finished high school and are facing the prospect of leaving home and each other – the possible end-of-the-world seemed very fitting!
Thanks Melissa. We can’t wait to read ‘The Incredible Adventure of Cinnamon Girl.’ You can find out more about Melissa on her website or catch her at: