“What is your book about?”
Knowing the answer to this question is of supreme importance when you’re writing a book, and yet it’s one I usually dread. Attempting to sum up an entire book, especially one that’s still being written, in one sentence generally leads to incoherent babbling on my part. I need pen, paper and at least half an hour to come up with an answer, but I’ll never be satisfied that I’ve got it quite right.
You can imagine my surprise when I was writing an email to my critique partner somewhere near the beginning of the development of Lost of Amber and I was able to tell her exactly where the book was coming from and why I knew these two apparently mismatched people could end up falling in love and not drive each other crazy. I knew it was possible because by then I had realised both Amber and Lincoln’s main character traits were channelled directly from my own warped psyche. In its earliest form, Lost in Amber was essentially my way of exploring two disparate parts of myself.
Lincoln is the minimalist part of me that doesn’t like to be surrounded by too much stuff, hates the thought of wasting Earth’s resources and wants to live a simple, mindful life. He’s also the part of me that hates being overly busy and will never thrive on stress.
Amber, on the other hand, is the girly part of me that adores pretty dresses and wonderful food served in fancy restaurants. She loves getting dressed up and dancing the night away, but still wants to spend Sunday afternoons chilling on the couch binging on chips and Supernatural marathons (Jensen Ackles makes me happy).
It’s true, these two parts of me don’t always get along. Especially when Amber wants that new Review dress but Lincoln is convinced I have more clothes than I could possibly need. Or when Lincoln plants a new vegetable garden convinced this time there will be a bountiful harvest, until Amber lets all the plants die from neglect. There are days when I’m not sure the two of them can continue sharing my brain without threat of a minor implosion.
But approaching the book from these two different angles allowed me to speak from a place of truth no matter which point of view I was writing in. I was able to agree wholeheartedly with Amber or with Lincoln, as long as I activated the right brain cells first. And it was fun to explore my own opinions in a little more depth than I normally would.
So, despite the many differences between Princess Amber and her favourite dirty gardener, I always knew they would live happily ever after in the end. After all, if the many parts of me can (usually) get along well enough, why couldn’t they?