When I finished writing my first novel six years ago, I wondered if I’d be able to write something that long again. Sure I could write a novel length book once, but could it happen a second time? I put that book away and eventually started on the book that is now known as Playing by the Rules. Even after I finished that book, I wondered if I could do it again. As I’m releasing my sixth book, I still often wonder where all the words are coming from. What I’ve come to realize it that it helps to have an overactive imagination. It also helps to be able to draw ideas from anywhere and everywhere. In interviews I’m often asked where I get my ideas from. I always answer that I get my ideas from everything around me. I also say if you spend any time around me at all, there’s a good chance that something you’ve said or done is going to end up in a book of mine. So I want to take some time today and tell you some fun facts about Encore.
In my last post
I talked about how a song inspired the overall story to be written. I won’t go back over that. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can check it out. What I didn’t talk about where some of the particulars. That’s what I want to do in this post. Often times I will read a book and think, “why that place” or “what made them decide on that?” So here I’m picking a couple and letting you know just what I was thinking. If you have any other questions or want to know about something specific, just leave a comment. I’m more than happy to let you know.
First off, if you’ve read my Portwood Brothers Series, you know that I used real places. For this series, I use a mix of real places and places I made up. The guys in the band live in L.A. The hotel that Austin puts his family up in is in Kearney, Nebraska. Both of those are real. What isn’t real is the town of Horace, Nebraska. At least it isn’t where I have it located. I knew when I started this book that I was going to destroy the town with a tornado. I didn’t want to do that to a real town, so I needed to make up a fake town. I’m horrible at coming up with names, so I used the name Horace after a town in Kansas. I’m so happy I used a fake town too because not long after I wrote the scene where the town is hit, the area where I envisioned the town was actually hit by a tornado.
Another fact about this book is that a lot of the characters names changed. Austin King is the hero in this book, but he didn’t start off as Austin King. He had another last name. I found out really quick that I couldn’t use the last name I had planned, so it was changed. One of the secondary characters, Bren O’Neil, her last name changed as well. Shelby’s boyfriend, you guessed it. That name changed. I had named another character that only shows up in the headlines Poppy Davenport. I realized later that I had read that name in another book. So long to that name. Finally, remember how I said I changed Austin’s last name? I never mention his dad’s name all through the book until the end. I go to write it out, and I realize that Steve King wasn’t going to fly either, so his name needed to be changed too. It was like the cherry on top of the name changing book.
When you read Encore, you might notice all the headlines. Where did I get the idea to start each chapter with headlines? I wish I could say it was some lightbulb moment, but it came from all the gossip headlines I listened to in the car. When I first started writing the series, I would take my kids to school in the morning, and the DJ on the radio would always tease me with some juicy bit before going to break. I’d then have to sit in my car for the next fifteen minutes waiting for them to come back on and fill me in on what was happening. One day I realized it might make a fun addition to my book, so I tried it out. Now I have an excuse to listen and read all the gossip I want. I always say it’s for research, but that’s only half true.
Anyway, I hope you’ve enjoyed getting some insider information on Encore. You’ll have to let me know if you want to know anything specific to the series. Until then, happy reading!