Firstly, I’d like to thank Dianne for having me! Dianne has been really supportive and encouraging during my journey to publication, so I’m thrilled to be able to feature on her blog today after having once been featured in First Impressions!
To begin, I’ll share the blurb of WAITING FOR APRIL so you’ll know what I’m talking about!
April Fletcher has died nineteen times… but she doesn’t know it.
As far as April is concerned, she’s just a normal seventeen-year-old, looking forward to spending spring break with her friends and going to college in the fall. April doesn’t know she has never lived past her eighteenth birthday, nor does she realize that Scott Parker, her best friend, is actually her childhood sweetheart and fiancé from her very first life.
For nineteen-year-old Scott Parker, spending quality time with his soul mate has proved difficult ever since her tragic death in 1729. Since then he has lost her an additional eighteen times—each of her deaths more devastating than the last, and each of her births wiping the slate of her memory clean. Unable to save her but unwilling to give up, Scott has to hide the fact he’s immortal—and will be until April confesses her love again.
But this time, things have changed. April has denied her feelings for him, is dating someone else, and with her eighteenth birthday fast approaching, their friendship is falling to pieces. Fearing their souls are irrevocably drifting apart, Scott must race against the clock to win her heart and save her life — or risk losing her forever.
Because they freaked. Me. Out.
It all started when I called April’s horse Nutmeg. After deciding April and Scott originated in Connecticut, I thought it pretty coincidental upon further research that Connecticut was also known as the Nutmeg State. Funny, yes? It was definitely something that made me go, “Huh. It was meant to be.”
I didn’t realise the Powers That Be were only just getting started.
Now, as writers who don’t live anywhere near the settings of our stories, we rely heavily on Google Maps, amiright? Knowing that April and Scott came from Connecticut, I then chose Wallingford as their hometown. It had history, and it was right in the area I’d pictured them growing up together. Fast forward three hundred years, and I needed an area in or around Wallingford where a farm could still exist—perhaps in secret, in the present. I needed a wooded area that would provide Scott Parker some privacy.
I found such a place. It was wooded. It was large. It was surrounded by houses but accessible by road. It was perfect! There was a main road, not far, that one might travel to get there. It was called PARKER FARMS ROAD.
That sent some definite shivers down my spine. What were the chances?! So, yeah. That was … weird! It made me pause for a good couple of hours.
But again, that was just a warm-up.
Without giving the story away, I also researched the Salem witch trials. I’d discussed with my editor the things I could possibly touch upon in the novel to explain how it all started, and the witch trials were of interest to me because, well, how convenient that an event that had roots in the magical world (however misled) should occur not far from, and not long before, April and Scott’s births. So, I looked into it. And then I discovered that one of the women who was executed in the trials was married to someone with the exact same name as one of my characters. Not only that, the young girl who started the accusations shared the same last name as another one of my characters.
It was right about this time I considered turning my computer off and never opening my doc again, because seriously?! That was just TOO MUCH. I’d never researched the trials before. Ever! And not one character name was involved, but two? What was going on, here?!
But oh, there’s more.
Because April has been killed nineteen times, I had to get creative with her deaths, and murder was obviously an easy death to explain. Of course, one of the first things I do when I choose a name off the top of my head is Google that name to make sure I’m not using the name of someone relatively famous.
So, I came up with a name. I had my murderer. Easy, right? Then I Googled said name. And I found out it was the name of a murderer.
WHAT????!!! No. Just … no! I had never heard of this person before. The murders he committed occurred years ago! There was no way I could’ve known what his name was!
All of these events were starting to make me question just how fictional my novel was—before I remembered it was about reincarnation and immortality, and laughed it off because April and Scott couldn’t possibly exist in real life. Could they?!
I guess we’ll never know. Scott is pretty good at hiding his unnatural state. 😉
So, I want to leave you with a question today. What eerie similarities have you stumbled across when researching your own novel? Have places and names turned out to be not-so-fictional for anyone else out there? Please tell me I’m not alone! J
Jaime Loren spends her days chasing her two young children, and her nights writing or reading. So, basically, she doesn’t sleep. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia, but dreams of returning to her small hometown where she can give her children the same upbringing she had: exploring bushland, playing every sport under the sun, riding horses, and waking to the sight of kangaroos outside. WAITING FOR APRIL is Jaime’s debut novel.
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