Jolyn Palliata - Connected
Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? Or part of one? How did you get it out? Did you avoid the song at all costs in the blind hope it would stop hammering you into submission? Or did you listen to the song over, and over, and over, until you were so obsessed that all you could think about was that delicious, devilish little laugh….er, what was I saying? (Right. Song stuck in my head. Ahh...I mean, your head.) Now, I know this has happened to every person reading this post, so I’m hoping you’ll relate to my little story here.
Let me give you some background. In October, I released Connected (Twists of Fate #1), and here’s a brief description of the story: A rock group’s rhythm guitarist, Rhys Alexander, dies and finds himself bound inside the body of a woman he’s never met. Can she help him move on to the other side, or will he end up finding the love of his life…after his has already ended?.
For a time, I had this for free on Wattpad (where I posted as I wrote it). And several readers asked me how in the world I came up with the concept. The short answer was ‘By taking the longest route possible.’ The more involved answer is this…
It all started with a song—Imagine that, huh?—which began with a synthesized-sounding guitar and a sinful, maniacal laugh that made my gut quiver. (Yes, I do realize this may be an issue I need to fully address later.) It was Disturbed’s “Inside The Fire”. Add a little Framing Hanley (with that oh-so-sexy voice), and Tavion, lead singer of the band Persevere, was born. And what kind of woman would knock a strapping rock star to his knees? Why, a best-selling author, of course.
So here I had two people who worked in the entertainment industry, but were worlds apart. What could possibly bring them together? The answer seemed so simple, really: Fate. Then my next though was “What if Fate was a living, sometimes-breathing, entity? What an interesting point-of-view that would be!” And it spiraled from there. I dug deep into the protag, Devan (the name of the girl in Disturbed’s song), and put pieces of me and my personality into the mix. Naturally, then I had to mock myself and my works along the way. (i.e., Suddenly Impending Reprisals became Devan’s masterpiece, and guess what…it made it all the way to the NYT Bestsellers list! Way to go, Devan!!).
Now, the question was ‘What inspired me to write Connected’, and so far, I’m telling you how I started writing Twisted (Book 2). Yeah, well, I’m getting there. (Remember how I said it was the longest route possible?).
So there I was, writing Twisted and having a hell of a time. And then the unthinkable happened (insert suspenseful music here)…I got writer’s block. I’m talking a stint of writer’s block that could only have originated from the deepest, most vile and sulfuric, bowels of Hell. And, man, was it stubborn! Over a year went by before I picked it up again, and even then it wasn’t because I came up with a grand master plan, or that my head was swimming with ideas. No. It was simply because I missed my characters. So I started to reread/revise/edit the 30K words I had written, hoping it would shake something loose. Enter: two new inspirations..
The first was the Demonica series by Larissa Ione. In the series, paired up mates can sense each other’s emotions and I got to wondering “What would that be like?”.
The next piece of inspiration came from Avenged Sevenfold (A7X). I was studying up on rock bands for Twisted (and can A7X ever ROCK!!), and checking out the band members (*drool*) and it inspired a new character—Rhys..
From Ione and A7X blossomed Connected (finally!) where Rhys’ spirit was stuck inside Addison (my protag), and they could sense each other’s emotions..
But I had one problem. I absolutely REFUSED to walk away from Twisted again. Soooo…how could I use this? Well, first of all, Rhys couldn’t be a lead singer since that’s what Tavion is. And secondly, I wanted this to be a fast-hitting novella used to compliment Twisted’s story. What I needed was a supporting member of the band... Hello, Rhys, my luscious rhythm guitarist!.
But then I had another problem. (Because I needed more, right?) I couldn’t picture Rhys in Tavion’s band, Persevere, which is a more mature, established group. No, he belonged with some just-making-it-big band that wasn’t afraid to play with the formula, to take chances, and was just enjoying the ride and what life had to offer. He belonged with the guys of Black Codex.
Then problem #3: How did Black Codex and Persevere tie in to each other? I mean, if Connected leads into Twisted, they have to know each other somehow, right? Well, as luck would have it, they’re all friends. (Who knew?!) Eh, okay, so actually two members from Black Codex are brothers and they grew up with a guy from Persevere, so, by association, they became friends. (It’s all in the details, right?) ;)
All right. Now what? I didn’t want to introduce Fate (my sassy, capricious entity) in Connected even though he’s definitely hard at work behind the scenes. It would’ve been too distracting from the plot, and I had plenty to maneuver already! (Hello…dead rock star stuck in some chicks head!!) So what I did was plot Connected so it all occurs during the same timeframe as the first half of Twisted. Perfect! Then when people read Twisted, they’ll get all the behind-the-scenes-extras that were going on in Connected that either 1) I didn’t have time for, or 2) I couldn’t smoothly transition in.
At the end of my long-ass journey, not only did I have Connected, but I shook myself loose on Twisted…aaand came up with storylines for the other eight band members. (I’ll spare you the details on those. LOL) Thusly, the Twists of Fate series was born.
So, let me ask you again: Did you ever get a song stuck in your head…?
Donna here...I bought Jolyn's book Connected and while not finished with it yet, her concept is brilliant and I don't know how she's going to get out of the corner she's painted herself in...it's a great read and I wholly recommend it.
For more information on the Twists of Fate series:
To purchase Connected (Twists of Fate #1):