A busy week is finally at an end. Do you have a weekend of page-turning excitement awaiting you? No? Then maybe uncovering the backstory of the latest suspense-driven book by David Morrell is just what you need to get into the mood. In the vein of Where Does He Get Those Ideas? MJ Rose’s Backstory has bestselling author David Morrell writing a tell-all about CREEPERS.
What about you? Do you have an interesting backstory for your book idea? The genesis of my latest teen novel, VIDEO MAGIC, came about many years ago after a three-week stint working for a local independent film company. An actress/makeup artist friend had been hired, and she invited me along. She thought perhaps I could do some production assistant work. I went for one day and stayed for three weeks. I went to help out in any way I could and ended up being part of the camera crew. I carried twenty-pound sandbags needed to stabilize the camera equipment up floor after floor of a downtown building–the elevator was kaput–for a fight scene on the roof top that would end with an actor dropping onto the air mattress on the ground far below. I stood on a trailer and helped steady the camera as we followed a car barreling down a country air strip. I worked 16-20 hour days–no days off–and had the best time ever as the August sun bore down resulting in a daily sweat bath that led to my shedding at least fifteen pounds. Meanwhile, my actress-friend grew a tad jealous as she watched me do all these activities–things she’d never had the opportunity to do.
That experience stayed with me and nestled deep into the crevices of my mind. With time it stretched and rolled, going round and round, collecting layers, until it finally burst forth as an idea for a novel. The story went through several formations and finally evolved into a young adult novel. I entered the manuscript in the annual Romance Writers of America Golden Heart Contest and won the Golden Heart for Best Young Adult Novel. It was a lot of fun attending the national RWA conference in St. Louis that year. They flashed my name and photo on two huge screens as they called out the list of nominees. The presenter said my name and as I struggled to walk–not run–onto the stage to accept my award in front of the two thousand banquet attendees, the band played "St. Louis Woman." After my brief thank-you speech, I was whisked off to a nearby "green room" for an interview with one the local media.
The St. Louis experience is probably about as close to an Academy Award moment as I’ll ever have. As things in publishing so often go, a publisher did not pick up the story and and the manuscript gathered dust. DIVIDED LOYALTIES, my second teen novel written, became my first teen novel published. A few weeks ago I received my author copy of VIDEO MAGIC and it was a real thrill to finally see the title on a real live book instead of looming large a big screen in St. Louis or flashing on the billboard of my imagination.
Did the movie ever get finished? I don’t know. But in VIDEO MAGIC it has a second life.