Edmund asked me to write a few words, an essay of sorts to let IGMS readers know what was going on in my head as I wrote The Price of Love, where I got my ideas, inspiration from… and I immediately panicked. Write about myself? Where I get my ideas? Heck, if I knew that, I’d set up a pail or some other large vessel to catch the steady drip-drip of ideas, and never turn a wrench at my day job again.
The genesis of this story is actually two stories that merged into one. One half came in the late summer of 2005. I had just finished what I hoped was the final rewrite of my second novel, Shifters, and I looked for a way to not lose my writing “steam.” I had always struggled with short stories, because my brain works so quickly when I get a new idea, that before I ever put pen to paper the little acorn has blossomed into the mighty oak of a novel.
I had just read a collection of science fiction short stories that I’d picked up at a local Dollar General for… yeah; you got me… a buck. It had some interesting things in it, by some famous authors, and some I’d never heard of. The theme of the collection though, is what inspired me to pick it up; fairy tales had inspired all of the stories.
What a marvelous idea, I thought. Surely, after getting an idea of how these writers did it, I could find a way to craft a decent short story. And since none of the stories contained within directly referenced Pinocchio, I would try my literary hand at reconfiguring that tale.
The other part of the story began not quite two years before, when I discovered that despite all my best intentions and better judgment, I had fallen in love with a woman (and she with me) whom I had been friends with for several months. Her situation at home closely paralleled that of Valerie Hinson in my story, and the relationship between her and I closely paralleled that of Valerie and Alvin. Unlike stories though, real life is much more complicated; there’s no author to magically whip up a deus ex machina to make everything okay and bring about a happy ending.
As we drew closer to what we both knew would be the logical parting of ways, I found I needed some kind of catharsis, some way convince my heart that level heads knew best, this time.
These two unrelated situations, coupled with that old writer’s maxim “Write what you know” collided like a supernova in my head. I worked through the loss of my best friend by trying to capture the spirit of what we had in this tale of becoming human, learning to live, to love, and learning what the true worth of love is. That it’s not always knowing when to hold on, but when to let go.