The bestie and I share movies and videos with each other every weekend, which is pretty cool that even 35 years into our friendship, we find new things to share between us. We're still teaching each other things, and he, inadvertently sometimes, purposefully other times, has inspired more than one story doing it. Many months back, he sent me the video for "Downtown" by Macklemore.
In the video, Macklemore shows some love for a bigger girl:
Now do you or do you not wanna ride with me
I got one girl, I got two wheels
She a big girl but ain't a big deal
I like a big girl, I like 'em sassy
First thought: "Aw, that's cool. Hope he means it." So, being me, I dug a little deeper as I'm known to do, to find a pic of his wife to see if she, too, was a big girl. She wasn't. It got the gears turning. What if a popular singer showed love for bigger girls, endearing him to that particular audience, but it was all a marketing ploy? Hence, Glitter was born.
Confession, Part Two - I had completely forgotten about this until the bestie showed me ANOTHER Macklemore song where he, once again, proclaimed his affection for bigger girls and it sparked the memory. (I still hope he means it.)
2. GLITTER is my unintentional homage to Purple Rain.
This one happened by accident, really. It's Eli's fault. He started playing an instrumental piece early in the book, and it just felt right to give it the Purple Rain treatment. That movie makes the list of one of my favorite closing scenes ever, given the emotional payoff at the end. To have a musician struggle with an important piece of music, to figure out what he wanted to say, and say it when it had the most emotional payoff, made sense. I had already given Eli a few Kid/Price-like qualities, including his teaching himself to play the piano, and producing/writing/performing all of his earliest work. So really, it was unintentional, but in the end I was proud to pay tribute to one of my idols, especially one who taught me so much how to be my own kind of artist. Little did I know at the time it would be a memorial. :(
3. It took me a long-ass time to title this book.
Names come to me relatively easy. It's not so much a choice as it is a discovery. When I name my characters, I generally know who they are before they have a name to go with the character. So I go down a list of potential names that I keep (and add to,) until I find the one that feels right, like I'm looking for someone who already exists and I'm just waiting to have them step forward for roll call. (This is also why I generally don't change names easily when I've found the one that clicks, and why working with anyone else creatively is so challenging because they typically want to change these names first thing. It's like taking your kid to school and introducing them, only to have the teacher say, "Hum, we already have a Justin. Can I just call him Doug?" Self-publishing allows me the freedom to allow my characters to be who they were supposed to be, something I got to know very early on in the creative process.) Book titles are even harder, because if you inadvertently name your book after a book that already exists, you can risk suffering from comparison. I knew I had to think outside the box with this one, because I really, really wanted it to stand out. With GLITTER, I had my concept and my characters, but I had no idea what to name their journey. Finally I circled around to the "web" idea, given the story is about a big lie. What's the only thing that could entice someone like me onto a web? My husband doesn't call me a magpie for nothing. Also, GLITTER ON THE WEB leaves a little wiggle room if I ever want to revisit the story... like... GLITTER DOWN THE AISLE, or GLITTER IN THE CRIB... that kind of thing. Y'know... just in case... ;)
4. Eli is based on real men I've known.
If you're really close to me, you probably recognize Eli. I really didn't hide what I was trying to do with this character. While reading it, my husband turned to me and said, "You think So-N-So will recognize himself in your book?" My first thought was, "Probably not, because anyone who would really Eli me wouldn't read the book in the first place." Which is true. All I can say is I hope so, even though the So-N-So Steven referred to isn't *technically* the whole inspiration for the character (though bad experiences involving him definitely worked themselves out in the book, as they tend to.) Truthfully I hope every guy who has ever Eli'd me sees themselves in the book, because they're all represented in every nasty thing Eli said or did. I threw it all into an Asshole Bouillabaisse as my way of saying, "How you treated me was not okay, and I only wish I had had Carly's ovarian fortitude to tell you that." Everything Eli did or said to piss you off has happened to me at some point, just like it has probably happened to many, many women of size reading the book. Typically these were the things I accepted and excused when I was too stupid to recognize my own value, and this was my way to rewrite things, to let someone else know that it isn't okay of if someone treats them this way. Stand up for yourself. You can. And if the guy is worth having, he'll cowboy the fuck up. (Many don't, but that's okay. If they can't see your worth, they don't deserve you anyway. Trite, but true.) Honestly, it gives me great satisfaction when I hear that people hate Eli. I wanted you to. I wanted you to see how unacceptable this behavior is, so that we learn to nip that shit in the bud in real life. He is the voice of our media... he's the voice of our society. It's *our* job to stop agreeing with it, and demand the respect and human courtesy we deserve.
5. Eli's and Carly's story isn't over.
For everyone who wanted an epilogue, to see what happens with this couple beyond any kind of HEA (or HFN, you don't know,) there's a reason I didn't include one. Their story isn't over, and you WILL see them again. FFF releases this November, and will focus on all THREE of the owners of the club, Carly included. Oh, and Caz hasn't gone away either... so this should be all KINDS of angsty fun.
Have you read GLITTER? Tell me what you thought!