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Moments of a Writer's Life, #101


The Moment An Idea In One Book Became An Idea For Another Book: In one of my earlier unsold adult novels, eight of ten characters die in spectacular ways, one of which is a novelist getting crushed to death by a stack of her own books when the freight elevator on a truck malfunctions during a publicity stunt. That image stayed with me and it became the inciting action for a new YA book, only in this case it’s the main character/teen’s novelist mother who gets crushed to death but not with a stack of her own books; instead it’s with a stack of Harry Potter books. After that, her father moves her from Manhattan to suburban Connecticut where, despite her fish-out-of-water status, she becomes involved in trying to prevent an online sex predator from going after the cool girl in school, who also happens to be her new enemy. It’s a comedy/drama/mystery and originally it was titled Ren D’Arc, after the plucky main character, but the publisher thought that readers would be confused – what does it mean? how do you pronounce the second part? Despite me stating what I thought was the obvious, that the second part was pronounced like Joan of Arc but in French, they persisted. So I came up with a new title: How Harry Potter Killed My Mother.