Pitch Wars: Why I Wrote My Book

As part of a fun Pitch Wars 2014 blog hop, a question was asked of all the mentors’ picks: Why did you write this book?

In the spring of 2010 I did something I thought I would be too terrified to do: I studied abroad for four months in London. And it was terrifying. It was one of the most memorable periods of my life peppered with great memories, but the chaos of public transport and the panic-inducing necessity of interacting with strangers ALL THE TIME took its toll.

But there are these little moments I have, snapshots in my memory, that transcend all the anxiety and confusion I felt. One of those moments is seeing Big Ben for the first time, and the handful of times I managed to see it after.

It is absolutely beautiful. Not quite as big as I thought it would be, but still pretty big, and the details in the tower are insane. I don’t know why, but whenever I spotted it in the distance, or stared at it across the Thames when I went to the Embankment, I felt calm. That clock tower centered me. It fascinated the hell out of me.

A few years later, jump to 2013. There was a contest going on at that time for unconventional love stories. So I thought, well, why not? As I was driving to work, I thought about the little golden keychain I have of Big Ben, which I bought when I was in London. And then I got the idea for a book.

What if the world relied on clock towers like Big Ben to run time? What if there are mechanics who have to maintain these towers? And what if one of these mechanics meets the physical embodiment of a clock tower? And–here it is–they fall in love?

Oh yeah, and they’re both boys. In Victorian England.

I couldn’t concentrate on work the entire day. I ran back home and started writing the first scene immediately. It’s a story that was bizarre to me, a category and genre I’ve never written before. But I really, really liked it. And then I loved it.

After some big revisions, I entered TIMEKEEPER into Pitch Wars without much hope. It’s a weird story, and maybe I’m so used to writing adult novels that my YA voice sucks. Then my mentor, Elizabeth Briggs, wrote me and said she loved it. I ended up becoming her alternate, but due to some good news received by her first mentee, I graduated to her mentee instead. Thanks to her, I’ve made some awesome revisions to the book that help make it more well-rounded and complete.

I’m ridiculously excited about this trilogy. My characters get to explore not only the well-trod yet always fascinating Victorian London, but also India during the rule of the British Raj. It’s a diverse YA book with a gay main character, but focusing more on his adventures rather than the fact that he’s gay. Book Three is (slowly) coming along, so while I continuously work on Book One, I’m still chipping out the sculpture of this story. Pitch Wars has been so helpful in that regard, and I’m really proud to be a part of it!

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