Thursday, 16 June 2011

Teenage Fantasies and "Where did you get that idea?"

Author and book converter extraordinaire Moriah Jovan joins us today. I don't know about you, but I may not be sharing those fantasies either. (g)

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It's a question a lot of people ask writers, but they aren't interested in the sausage-making details. They think surely there must have been one inciting thing that triggered your book (all 736 pages of it). Well, there probably was, but I couldn't pinpoint it for you. Ideas come from a lifetime of experience, learning, and random informational input--all mixed up together in a witch's cauldron. I usually just laugh and say, "Oh, hell, I don't know," because, well, that's mostly the truth.

But my first book--the one I started when I was 14 or 15 or thereabouts--I remember precisely when, where, and how I got the idea. And I remember the first time I was asked that question.

It was 1982 or 1983, I think. I had pulled together some vague teenage-fantasy visions of moonlight and nighttime adventure, a 1976 Stingray (electric blue) (with a T-top), my BFF (who happened to be a boy) (you know how that goes), my far-off acquisition of a driver's license, a lifetime of being the only girl in on the cool boys' real-life adventures--

And a Reader's Digest article on child pornography.

It was the shocking new thing and, the article coming from Reader's Digest, was short and not detailed enough to be sleazy, but it was detailed enough to give me the germ of the idea to pull all the above together into a plot.

I know. I was so ahead of my time. It was brilliant. To this day, I think it was brilliant.

The problem is, I don't know if it was brilliant because it's gone.

My dad found my first attempt at a query letter. (That was brilliant, too. I was 14-15 and knew what a query letter was and how to write one. Thank you again, Reader's Digest.)

He was furious. Child pornography?!

Well, Dad, it's fiction. Do we not get the idea of fiction? (I didn't say that part.)

(In retrospect, no, he didn't "get" fiction. His portion of the library was strictly reference and nonfiction. Mom's fiction was strictly from the library, and though she read a lot of it, it didn't stay on our shelves.)

Where did you get that idea?!

Reader's Digest.

He was speechless for a few minutes, visibly stunned, unable to process it. How could this innocuous little magazine spawn such an idea? Was I demented? Sick?

(Yes. I was a writer. Sick and demented comes with the territory.)

He demanded to read it or I could burn it. I chose burning, without hesitation.

You see, it wasn't the plot I was ashamed of; it was all the girlish fantasies I'd used to decorate it. I knew that if he read it, he would have fodder with which to ridicule me for months, if not years.

So I burned it.

Funny. I would have been willing to put it out for public consumption, but I wasn't willing to allow my dad access to the tender underbelly of my soul. After all, that's what pen names are for.

Seventy-five painstakingly typed pages, up in flames.

I'm still grieving.

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Moriah Jovan is the pen name for Elizabeth Beeton, who created B10 Mediaworx to publish herself. Since then, she's put out three books of her own, The Proviso, Stay, and Magdalene, and assisted in the publication of Peculiar Pages titles The Fob Bible and Out of the Mount, with three more Peculiar Pages titles are coming in June, August, and October. She has since parlayed her self-publishing adventure into a thriving ebook formatting business (amongst other things).

At the moment, she's busy wading through Burke's Peerage to figure out the proper address of an Earl, devouring books on the American Revolution, and getting all tangled up in masts, sails, and rigging.


Blurb for The Proviso:

Knox Hilliard's uncle killed his father to marry his mother and gain control of the family's Fortune 100 company. Knox is set to inherit it on his 40th birthday, provided he has a wife and an heir.

Then, after his bride is murdered on their wedding day, Knox refuses to fulfill the proviso at all. When a brilliant law student catches his attention, he knows must wait until after his 40th birthday to pursue her--but he may not be able to resist her that long.

Sebastian Taight, eccentric financier, steps between Knox and his uncle by initiating a hostile takeover. When Sebastian is appointed trustee of a company in receivership, he falls hard for its beautiful CEO. She has secrets that involve his uncle, but his secret could destroy any chance he has with her.

Giselle Cox exposed the affair that set her uncle's plot in motion--twenty years ago. He's burned Giselle's bookstore and had her shot because it is she who holds his life in her hands. Then she runs into a much bigger problem: A man who takes her breath away, who can match and dominate her, whose soul is as scarred as his body.

Knox, Sebastian, and Giselle: Three cousins at war with an uncle who will stop at nothing to keep Knox's inheritance. Never do they expect to find allies--and love--on the battlefield.

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Purchase Links:


Anthology Authors said...

I had many teenage fantasies that never saw the light in my diary. There is no way I would have shared them with anyone, family or otherwise. I am surprised you wrote it down at all. (g)


Moriah Jovan said...

I wove it in well enough. A stranger wouldn't have known--hell, my MOTHER wouldn't have--but my dad would have been able to figure out my most tender spots and skewer me with them.

Anthology Authors said...

Nice father. (g) My dad would have done the same, if only to tease me. LOL

Faith said...

I can really relate to your post, Moriah. I'm a minister's dau. It's not my dad whose the problem. It's the community. They'll watch spicy, erotic stuff on their tv, and read it in their homes, but oh, how they love to point fingers and chastize others.

Cassie Exline said...

I would have picked burning too but it makes me ache and it was your story. So glad it didn't stop you from writing though.

Jaime Samms said...

Moriah, You know what, I can still, at forty, understand. This past week, I finally gave one of my sisters (the one with the University English Literature degree, no less) and the sister I respect immensely for her strength to admit her weaknesses and fears because that makes her human to me in a way many of my other siblings are not, my pen name. What she will do with that information, I have no idea. How she will feel about the stories she finds when she looks it up, I also don't have any idea. But I chose to share the information with her because of all eight of my siblings, she is the one I trust the most to respect the vulnerability of letting her see a little bit of what is most important to me. Others might poke fun at me for it. That's one thing she will never do. I fully understand your decision to light it up. :)