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November 18, 2011

Heather Davis: WHEREVER YOU GO, Ideas & Inspirations

Posted by Katherine
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Heather Davis is the author of THE CLEARING, NEVER CRY WEREWOLF, and the newly released WHEREVER YOU GO.  She lives and writes in Seattle. In this post, she discusses how she collects ideas for her novels, and speaks of the inspiration for her latest novel, WHEREVER YOU GO.

 

I’m a writer that collects ideas. I see something. Write a line that sticks with me. Read an article. Have a unique conversation with someone. All around me, there are ideas at the ready. In the case of my new Young Adult novel, WHEREVER YOU GO, the ideas were disparate, yet came together in an unexpected way, which often is how my story mind works.

I had been wanting to write something about my grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s and how it affected my family --- how tragic it is to see someone you knew slowly lose touch with who they were and all they knew, but how they were still there, still the same person you loved all your life. Where did the mind go?

And then, one day I read an article in the newspaper about a support group being formed for teen caregivers in Florida. There were these kids who were filling the gap between insurance and income for their families --- taking their parents and grandparents to their medical appointments, becoming the head of the household by default.

Holly came to me then, a teen over-burdened with caring for her little sister (and now grandfather with Alzheimer’s) because her mother worked two jobs. And there was something else burdening her --- the loss of her boyfriend in a crash six months before the story began.

And then another layer of the story came to me --- what if Rob the boyfriend was a ghost, hanging around Holly and not understanding why he was still on Earth? What if Grandpa Aldo was the only one who could see this ghost boy. All of them were struggling to see the truth of their lives and to let go of the pain that bound them to the past.

That’s how my collection of ideas came together to form WHEREVER YOU GO in what I feel is the most organic, beautiful way.

And so I keep collecting --- or maybe the ideas are collecting me. In either case, I never know where the next story will come from, so I keep listening, reading, and watching. Inspiration is all around me, wherever I go.