I have a confession to make.
For the last few months I’ve been blogging across the Internet, promoting my book Wild Point Island, and lying.
Not intentionally, of course.
But when I’ve been asked the question–what inspired you to write this story–I haven’t told the whole truth.
It seemed like such a simple question, and I thought I knew the answer.
But it hit me like a brick a few weeks ago–when I went back with my four sisters to visit my hometown–something I hadn’t done in years–that the inspiration behind Wild Point Island was more complicated than I thought.
You see, I truly believed the first season of True Blood, that hot HBO drama, had been my main inspiration. After all, I had a clear memory of sitting there in front of my TV, watching the doomed romance between Bill, the 173 year old vampire and Sookie, the small town half-fairy waitress of Bontemps and then wanting to immediately create a romance like that–two people who seemed destined to be together but couldn’t for obvious reasons.
Now that part was true, but it wasn’t the whole truth, and I didn’t realize the entire truth until I tried to go back home. I stood in the once woods but now a park behind my old backyard and peeked over the fence with my sisters. Here we were–like a bunch of peeping Toms–staring into our old backyard, noticing that the giant oak tree was gone along with the sand pile and the garden and the pool and the hedges that had once surrounded the perimeter. Now there was only grass, surrounded by a white slatted metal fence.
Had I actually expected my old backyard to look the same?
I wanted it to. I wanted that yard to look exactly the way it had looked the last time I’d walked through it some twenty years ago.
The awful truth struck me then. What writers do. I understood more clearly why and for whom we write. We write for ourselves and use our stories to recreate the world we want to have, even though at times we’re not even aware of what we’re doing.
Case in point.
I’d written a scene in Wild Point Island where Ella, my heroine, returns to the island after having been banished as a child, twenty years before. She returns to her childhood home. And what does she find? Everything is exactly the same as she left it. Nothing has changed. There isn’t even dust on the furniture. I wrote that scene six months before I pilgrimaged to my home for real, never realizing how important it would be for me to have things stay the same.
In my story Ella returns home to rescue her father from imprisonment. She hasn’t seen him in twenty years. She fears he’s no longer alive. She’s obsessed with the notion of getting her family back together.
And this is where I admit that returning to my hometown was a very bad idea. My dad passed away years ago, and there was no way I was going to catch a glimpse of him in any of the usual haunts. I knew this, of course, I did. And yet my heart quickened every time I glanced at those spots where he’d once occupied space. Now, even the usual haunts had changed–the bakery and the church and diner. They all played havoc with my memory.
Writing fiction is grand. You can make it turn out anyway you want. Ella can return home and find her childhood home exactly the way she left it. She can find her father still alive and rescue him. She can reunite her family. All in the pages of a paranormal romance.
So, yes, I lied when I said my book was inspired by True Blood. The truth was so much more complicated than that.
I just wanted to set the record straight.
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Kate Lutter believes she was born to write. She wrote her first novel when she was in eighth grade, but then almost burned her house down when she tried to incinerate her story in the garbage can because she couldn’t get the plot to turn out right. Now, many years later, she lives in NJ with her husband and five cats (no matches in sight) and spends her days writing contemporary paranormal romances, traveling the world, and hanging out with her four wild sisters. She is happy to report that her debut novel, Wild Point Island, the first in a series, has just been published by Crescent Moon Press. She is busy writing the sequel and her weekly travel blog entitled Hot Blogging with Chuck, which features her very snarky and rascally almost famous cat.