Behind the Scenes Don't Date the Haunted

FAQ: Inspiration?

What inspired me to write “Don’t Date the Haunted?”

One of my most commonly asked questions is

What inspired you to write “Don’t Date the Haunted?”

Sometimes they’re asking about the story or characters, but usually people wonder how I came up with the idea for the world of Novel–a world where every genre is its own land.

I don’t have a story about hitting my head and everything clicking into place. I don’t even remember the exact thought process. What I do know, is that I’d been working at a Christian bookstore for at least four months, and I was irritated by how many historical/regency/proper romances we had on our shelves, and how few sci-fi/fantasy/horror books we had.

In short, I wrote the book that I wanted to read.

My first recorded notes on “Don’t Date the Haunted” began on March 1st, 2016. My book reviews go back far enough to show that I was reading books like “Dirty Jobs,” by Christopher Moore, and “Mr. Mercedes,” by Stephen King. Although I liked the humor of “Dirty Jobs,” both books were far too dirty and vulgar for my preference.
I also read “Heaven’s Shadow,” which was far too preachy and cheesy for a sci-fi.
Six Wings,” by Kylie Malchus was much more my style. It had a poltergeist, romance, and touches of humor, but I wanted more.

Exactly one month later (April 1st, 2016), I started to write Pansy’s story in earnest–labeled simply as “Haunted.”
My exact notes say,

April 1: +1,310 [words written] (-638 to likely be deleted though)

I’m fairly certain that was Pansy and Theo’s balcony conversation as Theo revealed his “useless” ability. 638 words would “likely be deleted” because that first draft explored the possibility of Theo’s ability as the inability to lie.

This means that by that time, I already knew Pansy was from the land of Horror, traveled to the land of Romance, and talking to Theo, from the land of Fantasy.

So where did Novel come from?

On my notes dated March 1st, I wrote a quick synopsis of my idea for a story. Unfortunately, I altered it when I explored an idea, so it’s not the exact words that first came to my mind. But it’s the closest I have:

A character living in the country of horrors, escapes a horror with her fiancé dead.  She lands into some money (from her fiancé or some they found in the haunting) and she’s been getting so many condolences for his death, she’s afraid he’s going to haunt her, so she decides to move across the world.  She goes to the border of Regency Romance (bordering contemporary romance…).  She said she wanted to go somewhere quiet.

First (altered) plot synopsis of “Don’t Date the Haunted”

I didn’t have the map in my head, but basically, a character living in the land of Horror was how it all began.

After finishing the story, I described the story to others and realized that there were other connections that may have subconsciously influenced the origins of Novel.
First, have you ever seen “The Pagemaster,” from 1994 with Macaulay Kulkin and Christopher Lloyd?

Wow, watching that took me back to places I didn’t care to go. Point is, I watched that film a few times as a kid. It’s about a boy from our world who goes to the lands of books, taking part in the stories of “Treasure Island” from the land of Fantasy, fights a dragon from Fairy Tale, and meets “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in Horror.

Then (because this is me we’re talking about) there was The Sims. In every Sims game, there’s an expansion with magic and a specific “world” where everything’s magical. These were always my favorite expansions. These separate realms may have also fed my thoughts of separate genres as lands.

More forefront in my mind (as an adult), I’d read and watched the movie of “Austenland,” by Shannon Hale. I loved the mixture and contrast of contemporary romance vs. regency romance. I couldn’t have just the land of Romance, but divisions of regencies to explore the subgenres.

To summarize, I can’t really say what exactly spurred the whole idea. I’m a discovery writer and–if you read my Behind the Scene chapter blogs–you can see that the story developed and grew in many ways before I hit “publish.”

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