The Making of a Novel Part 1: NoVa Teenspiration

Over the past three years I’ve dreamed of my book being published.  Yearned for it.  And, in my more dramatic and giddy moments, pretended that I already was an officially published author and ready to talk to people about my book.  And one of the first questions any author gets is, “What inspired the story?”  And here’s where I’d always fumble.  Do I tell the truth?  That I’m a huge K drama (and now BTS!) fan and that the idea came through the exhausted daydreaming of someone who has a subscription to both Drama Fever & Viki?  Well, technically I just did, but there’s got to be more to it than just fangirling, right?
Although hey, it’s some pretty epic fangirling, I must admit.
But yes, there is a bit more to the story than just me wondering what life would be like if Goo Joon-pyo came to life.  Any BOF fans out there??  AAAALMOOOOST PAAAARADIIIISE!!!
Heeheeheee.  Now, on to the rest of my tale.
A librarian is used to getting up on Saturdays.  All of us, some more often than others, have to work on Saturdays, and we get up with varying degrees of enthusiasm.  No surprise to anyone if I confess that while I can manage to get up early on Saturdays, I normally loathe to do so.  So much energy…and on a weekend…ugh.  Just ugh.  But on that special Saturday three years ago, I all but leaped out of bed, with enough enthusiasm to make Pollyanna look clinically depressed.  Why?  Because it was NoVa Teen Festival Day!
Grabbing my special bright red volunteer t-shirt and getting dressed in my comfiest jeans and shoes, I skipped to my car and hopped onto the highway, gloating at the lack of traffic.  In just a few hours countless teens would pour through the venue doors, and this year I had been elevated from the status of door greeter to panel moderator.  Gasp!  It was for a small panel, yes, and no one else in the room would care, but my excitement could not be diminished.  In the immortal words of SpongeBob SquarePants, I WAS READY!
Hah!  Little did I know that a few short hours later I wouldn’t give two hoots for being a panel moderator.  How can you when you are hit with a meteor of a story idea?  But before I go into that, does everyone know what NoVa Teen is?  Probably not, especially for my international readers.  HI INTERNATIONAL READERS! *waves both hands in joy*  And no, of course I haven’t been stalking my blog stats, especially since I shared the blog’s link on Reddit.  Pfffft…what an idea.
Erhem.  Moving on.
NoVa Teen is, in short, awesomeness.   It’s this AMAZING (and I’m not just saying it because I work on it) free festival where YA readers can meet authors for free.  There are free breakout sessions, of course a book sale with all the authors’ books, free swag give aways, food trucks, and an epic book signing at the end.  It’s an amazing day for any who loves reading YA books, and kudos goes to all the volunteers that run it.
And it’s free.  There, my plug for NoVa Teen is officially done.
The next few hours went as I had expected, an interesting combination of exhaustion and boredom for the volunteers.  You can be working working working to get something done on time, and then wait around for an hour or so until the next assignment comes up.  I usually jump in and help with the book sale if needed, try my luck at all the food trucks, and try not to obsess over all the authors that walk by me – no promises if Shannon Messenger ever comes.  Favorite.  Author.  Ever!!
After running around doing I can’t remember what, I marched to my assigned room and got ready with my questions, fumbling with my little notes as I tried to hide my nerves from all the people pouring into the room.   I don’t know why I was so nervous, because really I’d only be asking questions if the audience didn’t have any, and they always do, especially since the authors are always so friendly and happy to talk with everyone.
There was that one moment of panic when I forgot how to pronounce one author’s last name, but other than that it looked like it was going to be just a regular panel.  The authors were funny, the audience engaged, the conversation flowing – I sat back on my stool and began to relax, the sounds of the group lulling me into a hazy daydream.
I need to start a new drama tonight.  Is there anything good that’s been released?  Am I in the mood for a historical drama?  Or maybe contemporary.  Definitely contemporary Serious?  No, need comedy…wouldn’t it be funny if there was a drama about a K drama star that moved to America?  No, not a drama star, a K-pop idol, since most of them are singers anyways.  Yeah, a drama about a K-pop idol who moves to America…oooh, to escape the media because of a secret…
 
OH.  
 
MY.  
 
GOSH.
 
That moment, right there, will forever be called my Charlie Brown moment.  Why Charlie Brown?  One of the authors was speaking, I know she was, but all I heard was “Wha wha wha wha”, just like the adults in Charlie Brown.  I’d like to think that I kept a calm, professional expression on my face, but I have a horrible feeling that I actually looked like this:
cloudy.jpg
Oh yeah, subtlety is my specialty.  Not.
Aaaand I’m pretty sure that I nearly fell from my seat to boot.  Not surprising, as I literally felt as though a lightning bolt had hit me over the head.  It’s a miracle I didn’t shriek and really embarrass myself.  Remember that story that I had been working on (or rather, the first three chapters) since college?  Completely gone from my memory.  All I could think about was this story and how to get it out of my head as soon as possible, and I couldn’t wait to get started.
I somehow made it home in one piece, which is no easy thing when your mind is racing with a million writing scenarios a second.  I also think I drove just as fast, because I made record time.  One of the first things that came to me was the title, and that’s about the only thing that hasn’t changed in the many many MANY rewrites of this story.  I got to work on it the next day, with a 500 word goal fixed firmly in my mind.  And, as I’ve mentioned before, since I was exceeding that by an additional 1000 words a day, I managed to get a first draft completed in exactly a month.
The book has come a long way since that first very very VERY rough draft, but I’ll never forget that day when the idea came to me.  Some ideas just demand to be written, and Hart & Seoul is one of them.
And dang it, but that song from BOF is now stuck in my head.  And so, dear reader, I must inflict the same fate on you.  Caring is sharing, and all that.

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