“Deep down, I knew that you were too good to be true
But every piece and part of me wanted to believe in you
But now it’s happily ever never”
The words played over my car speakers as I sat in traffic. I’d been listening to “Peter Pan” by Kelsea Ballerini on repeat for weeks now. I’d crank it as loud as my Camry would allow and sing along at the top of my lungs (horribly, sorry fellow commuters).
On this particular day, sometime in early 2017, I heard those two lines a little louder than normal. I started the song over and listened again. The wheels in my brain started turning; a story was unfolding. Who was this girl and how had she fallen for this Peter Pan? How had she ignored the voice that nagged at her?
I sat in traffic and pictured this girl, a girl I’d now named Janna, and the boy, whom I called Ryan. What was their story and how did it fall apart (no spoilers here folks, the book is called Happily Ever Never, you know it’s coming), and more importantly, how does Janna grow?
As I pulled into the parking garage at work, I had a good idea of their story. I pulled out my phone and started making notes as I walked to the elevator and then through downtown Nashville. Their story was so perfectly clear.
When an idea or story comes to me, usually as snipers of scenes or conversations and, almost always inspired by a song, it consumes me (more apologies to those around me) until I get their stories out. The characters nag and nag, filling my brain with dialogue and backstories.
To some, this idea may seem foreign. But, to my fellow imagineers, this is the process. For so long, I ignored these stories or simplified them into short lyrics or stories I told myself and then let fly away. Every once in a while, these stories become too big to stay in my brain and I start writing. And writing. And writing.
That’s what happened with Happily Ever Never. It happened when I wrote it in early 2017 and again now as I’m editing it to share with you.
When I was trying to decide which book to publish next, I’d initially chosen a different manuscript. I had it printed, started editing and stopped. I didn’t love the characters, they didn’t speak to me anymore. Janna kept nagging. I opened the preface that I wrote and started reading. Then chapter one, two, three … you get the idea. She pulled me right back into her story and I knew this was the book I had to share. I’ve now read it four times in the editing and revision process. Four times in a month and I still love it.
My plan is to release in October, so be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get early access to the first three chapters (starting 9/21, I’ll be sharing the first three chapters exclusively with my subscribers).
Stay tuned 💗