AOM Guestblog: Bree Despain
Posted December 19, 2009on:
Hi all! Harmony asked me to blog about something from my teen years that has had an impacted my writing. While there are many things in my teen years that have helped create the person and writer I am today, I thought I’d explore one of my 9th grade memories that was the kernel of inspiration for THE DARK DIVINE.
I got the idea for my novel when a storm of ideas, thoughts, and memories that had been brewing in my mind finally all came together while I was riding in a car on a dark January night in 2005. It was shortly after I’d read the book Speak, watched the show Buffy the Vampire Slayer for the first time, listened to the song “Such Great Heights” by the Postal Service over and over again, and was asked to teach a lesson on grace at my church. I was thinking about all of these things, along with a random memory from the 9th grade, when we stopped at red light and I looked up at a billboard in the dark and suddenly this conversation between a brother and a sister popped into my head. The brother was warning his sister to stay away from their former best friend. “He’s dangerous. He isn’t the person he used to be. You have to promise to stay away from him.”
By the next day, the random 9th grade memory I’d been thinking about had transformed into the first scene in chapter one (except my main character is in the 11th grade), and the conversation between the brother and the sister had become the third scene in the chapter.
Okay, so what’s this 9th grade memory I keep mentioning ?
Well, I remember going into my history class one afternoon and noticing this kind of scary looking guy sitting at the desk behind mine. He had long dirty hair, was drug-addict skinny, and his clothes were a mess, but I couldn’t see his face. In my very conservative, middle-class neighborhood, this was the kind of guy that definitely stood out—and definitely made me a little uneasy. As soon as I sat down in front of him, this guy started goading me and being a real jerk. After about a minute, I turned around and snapped, “Who the hell do you think you are?” The guy looked up at me and said, “So you don’t recognize me?”
I looked at his eyes, the only part of him that was still recognizable, and realized that he was my childhood friend who had moved away many years before. He looked so different, and so completely messed up, all I could say back to him was his name. Class started and he ended up getting kicked out by the teacher before it was over, so I didn’t get the chance to ask him any questions. The next day I waited for him to come to class, watched for him everywhere I went, but he didn’t show. I found out a few days later that he had been expelled from school, and I NEVER saw him again.
That memory has always haunted me—especially the way his eyes looked when he looked up at me—and I always wondered what would have happened if he hadn’t disappeared. I knew he was messed up and needed help, but could I have really helped him? And what would have been my family’s reaction to all of this? THA DARK DIVINE is kind of a cathartic exploration of what could have happened after that day—with a fun paranormal twist . . . and, of course, a really hot guy.
Thanks, Bree! To read the first chapter of The Dark Divine, click here.