Before I go any further, congratulations are due to the winner of the Pinterest board contest for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU: Way to go, Caroline T.! She wins the YA book of her choice. Thanks to all who entered, though — and the Pinterest will remain up (and I’ll keep pinning to it) so you can keep getting sneak peeks within the many worlds Marguerite travels to in her journeys. And speaking of her journeys through the dimensions, and how I would up writing them at all —
I’ve blogged before about how the idea for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU was born, but I’ll briefly recap. Two years ago, I went on back-to-back tours of the US and Australia. In the US, I was traveling along with fellow authors (and all around good eggs) Lauren Oliver and Dan Wells. Our schedule had us leapfrogging across the country — Utah one day, Miami the next, then Minneapolis,then LA. It seemed to me as if I were awakening in a different world every day, but with the same people. The pattern continued in Australia with my then-publicist there, Jordan Weaver; there I REALLY felt as if I’d gone someplace truly different, with fields of pink cockatoos flying around. Same people; different worlds. And through whatever creative alchemy exists in our minds, within a few days I’d come up with the idea of traveling into different dimensions, some similar and others profoundly new, but always finding the same people near you.
So that’s how I came up with the plot. It’s NOT why I wrote the story.
Why, then? Because these characters came alive for me faster and more completely than any others I’d ever thought of. Within hours I knew Marguerite was a painter, and that Paul’s family had emigrated from Russia. (It did take me a couple of days to be sure of their names, I admit — but I knew who they were.) The first time I wrote a line of dialogue for Theo, he was already completely, totally, 100% himself. Their lives filled my thoughts with more detail than I could share with you if the FIREBIRD series were going to be 300 books rather than 3. I knew their rooms, their jokes, who they were before the story began, and who they’ll be long after it’s over. I could describe the shoes in their closets. Basically, I *fell in love,* in the kind of dizzying rush that usually has more to do with romance than even the most splendid writing experiences.
And you know how people are when they’re in love. They want to talk about it. They never want to shut up.
Back before I knew if my publisher would buy this series, I had already told my agent that if we got no traditional-publishing offer, I’d self-pub this. A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU needed to be in the world, because otherwise, how would I ever be able to talk with anyone about these people in my head?
That’s it. That’s the whole reason. I don’t give a damn if the book doesn’t list or doesn’t sell — well. I care a little, I hope not to have wait tables again anytime soon and I assure you as potential restaurant customers, who do not want that either. But really I am just hoping to find some readers, even if it’s just a handful, who come to care about these characters as deeply as I have. And then, at last, I can talk with you about them.
There’s a term called “a book of the heart.” Most writers love all their books, as do I. But every once in a while a story just takes root for you in a way that makes you passionate and protective and maybe a little bit bonkers, in the best possible way. It’s a dangerous thing, putting a book of the heart out into the world, because if it doesn’t sell, or no one cares, the pain is so much worse. (And trust me, that hurts no matter what.) So I have this tremendous sense of trepidation about ATPOY getting out there into the world.
But I couldn’t have held back for anything. Marguerite, Paul, Theo and the rest had to get out of my head and go into the world, and all the countless worlds I can imagine for them. Aside from anything else that may happen with A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, I hope some of you love it enough to come and talk about it with me. I can’t imagine anything that would make me happier as a writer. Does that sound selfish? Not if you fall for ATPOY as much as I have. Then we’re just sharing the joy. 😀
So there you have it: A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU exists because I fell in love with a story. Hope some of you will love it too.
**Coming soon — the announcement of the pre-order promotion for A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU! (Hint: Here be posters.)