Ciara Knight offered to let me guest blog, so I went back and read over an interview she graciously agreed to back when I still was sleeping. I don’t sleep any more. One of the hazards of the published author’s life. I don’t sleep, but I get to pen my dreams.
Only I write on a keyboard. Rats. I don’t even get to pen my dreams.
Anyway, reading the interview, I remembered we were both plagued by huge imaginations. Yes, I used the word plagued.
One of my favorite stories about big imaginations comes from Jodi Thomas, a wonderful romance writer who tells a story about the night she realized she was different, a freak of nature, not of this world. She was trying to get her kids to bed, but they wouldn’t go down, and yeah, trying to get kids to sleep is the most exhausting thing in the world. I’d rather mine coal. Anyway, Jodi finally got so frustrated, she said to them, “If you can’t sleep, just do what everyone does. Tell yourself a story.” Well, her husband heard this, pulled her aside, and said, “Jodi, not everyone tells themselves stories before they go to sleep.”
Right then, Jodi Thomas knew she was in trouble. Or blessed. Depending on the day.
I was the same way, and I think Ciara was, too—tortured by the huge imagination crammed into our skulls. For example, I always had to clean up my room before I went to sleep. Yes, my whole life. My mother’s friends would look at my room, scratch their heads, and whisper to my mom, “Your son, his room, it’s so clean. It’s not natural. Is he worshipping Cthulhu?”
No, I wasn’t worshipping the Devil. I simply had no choice. If I didn’t clean my room, I’d wake up in the middle of the night, and I would see things. Vile things. Horrible things. My shoes would morph into zombie rats from hell. Jeans left on a chair would slouch into a corpse, or a demon, or the actor Liev Schreiber. I love Liev Schreiber, but not in my room at night, on my chair. So my wonderful imagination forced me to clean up my room every night.
I also have to avoid haunted hotels. I can’t stay in quaint little hotels with a “history.” Because I will be awake all night wondering what kind of horror will come out of the darkness to eat me.
Thank you very much, big imagination.
But like Ciara wrote in the interview, when I write novels, I get to throw my big imagination something to chew on. And it goes to town. Like a rottweiler at a weenie roast.
Back in 2010, I was talking with a literary agent, and she suggested I write an angel book. Vampires were out. Angels were in. But I was iffy on angels. I mean, that whole hierarchy thing, and fallen angels, and blah, blah, blah.
But then, boom, my head latches onto an idea. I get a scene. I get another scene. I know, I’ll put my story in a small, dying Colorado town. And my heroine, a damaged girl, well, she has to run drugs after her parents are killed. And she has a little brother who wakes her up every morning at 4:45 to ask where his mommy and daddy are.
Oh, the heartbreak. And then an angel and a demon come to her, but she can’t tell the difference, even though she is falling in love with one, in lust with the other. And the angel? He’s an atheist.
I loved that. My angel is an atheist. That’s so freakin’ cool. I love my debut novel The Never Prayer. Ain’t gonna read many books like it, my friends.
So little by little, this side-show-freak-show head I have, gets a story, gets characters, and I put together a book.
It’s been said that the mind is a wonderful slave, but a terrible master. And that is true. If I don’t give my head something to chew on, it will chew on me.
So I throw my rottweiler-mind stories, and while the dog of my imagination crunches, slurps, crunches on the bones of a story, I get to rest. To sleep, perchance to dream.
For more about me and The Never Prayer, you can visit us both at www.aaronmritchey.com. And of course, I’m on Facebook, as is the book at http://www.facebook.com/TheNeverPrayer. And I tweet – @aaronmritchey. If you are at all curious about the novel, our friends at Amazon.com would love for you to visit them!
Thanks again, Ciara Knight!
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I wanted to thank the following people for making the A-Z challenge such a success for 2012.