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February 16, 2012

Melody Carlson on the Story Behind the Story

Posted by Katherine


Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 200 books, including NEVER BEEN KISSED and DOUBLE TAKE. She recently was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series and FINDING ALICE. Melody and her husband live in Oregon. Here she writes about the inspiration for her new book THE JERK MAGNET. Check out our special feature for the book here!


I’m often asked about where ideas for my books come from. My usual answer is that they come from all over. Sometimes a particular scene will tug at me, or I hear something in the news that’s puzzling. Occasionally a book is the product of a dream. And sometimes a story is a by-product of relationships---one good reason you should always beware of what you say when you’re around a writer. 

            THE JERK MAGNET was inspired by a real-life situation. I hadn’t seen a particular friend for a couple of years, and when she showed up at my house, I almost didn’t recognize her. She’d made some “improvements” to her appearance---going from an attractive, girl-next-door look to a blonde bombshell. She had also quit a secure teaching job and was entering a new field that was more challenging to her creative talents. Hence the reason for her makeover. However, it seemed that some of the professionals around her weren’t taking her too seriously. Sometimes she felt ignored and overlooked. Or if she got attention, it was from guys who were hitting on her.

            I told my friend that I thought she’d turned herself into a jerk magnet. Seeing that she could be offended by my words, I quickly explained that I thought her appearance was sending the wrong messages. The women around her seemed to think she was an airhead (which was not true), and the men seemed to think she was their new plaything (which was also not true). We talked at length about that, and I told her I was going to write a book about this very thing---someday.

            I thought I was going to write the book for adults, but I realized it was even more important to write it for teens since these are the kinds of lessons we need to learn when we’re younger. I wish we lived in a world where appearances didn’t matter so much. But since they do, we might as well figure out what kinds of messages we’re sending---because who wants to be a jerk magnet?