On New Year’s Eve 2015, I was on a year-long road trip with my cousin, and we were camping in The-Middle-of-Nowhere, Georgia. After too many weeks of sleeping in my Honda Civic, we’d been excited about this opportunity to spread out; but it had been a freakishly cold winter in the South, and instead, we ended up huddled close to our bonfire, warming our hands, as dinner (a stale bagel, a can of tuna, and a packet of Taco Bell Fire Sauce) grilled over the open flame.
Even with the freedom of the past four months on the road, there was something in my chest that felt tight, antsy almost, and I didn’t know how to explain it. All I knew was that I needed something to write. I needed characters, a world, and a society that wasn’t my own. I needed to say something, but I didn’t know what.
As we dug into our scavenged sandwiches (best meal of the road trip, by the way) I told my cousin everything. She assured me that the ideas would come, one way or another.
I hoped she was right.
With no cell service or Walmart lights to keep us awake until midnight, we let the fire die down, wished each other a Happy New Year, and climbed into our sleeping bags. But as I lay in bed, listening to the noises of the forest around us, I sent a wish into the void.
Give me something, anything to write, and I promise, I’ll make sure it finds a place in the world.
I’m not sure who or what was listening to my thoughts that night, but when I awoke in the morning, a new character, Grey Alcott, was stuck in my head; and she had one hell of a story to tell.
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