Several people have asked me: “Where did you come up with the idea for your novel?”
It’s a fair question. To answer it, I have to take a step back and explain a few things about myself.
The Blessing and Curse of a Strong Imagination
I have an overactive imagination–always have, still do. When I first started going to elementary school (primary school for the non-US based audience), I used to construct elaborate scenarios to liven up my otherwise normal life. Some of the most recurrent were:
- I would be kidnapped from school and have to evade or escape the kidnappers.
- Our car would go flying off a mountain resulting in a horrible wreck, and perhaps death.
- A mysterious portal would open and I would enter a different world, perhaps one with animated characters like in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.
Later, when I was coming into my teenage years, I continued using my imagination to write short snippets of stories, either with a pencil and paper or sometimes with my parents’ typewriter. I also kept a journal. These were healthy expressions of all the images, scenes, and scenarios in my head.
Unhealthily, I was also preoccupied by fears of being bullied and most of my days were organized around getting safely from Point A to Point B without getting harassed by classmates. I dreaded days when I didn’t have a ride home from school because that meant taking the bus (perfect for verbal harassment) or walking home (good for a beating). Every day, I would imagine how I might be threatened, attacked, or ambushed and I imagined how I would respond.
Now that I’m older, bigger, and more secure in my own skin, I have less anxiety and fewer dark predictions for my own future. However, on any given day I’m probably doing one thing and fantasizing about another. It’s just how my brain works. I’m always kind of half here and half somewhere else. Over time, I’ve learned to control this urge and to be more present in the moment. But now I also have an outlet for my imagination: writing.
Drops of “Victor’s Blood” (the original, now-defunct series name)
Which brings me back to the question: “Where did the idea for Broken Mirror come from?”
I had several false starts with writing professionally, some of which informed my first novel.
Back in 2003, I spent many hours during a vacation in Australia writing “The Marshall Chronicles,” which was a story about a young man with either a personality disorder or an actual evil twin. I’m sure I was inspired by both “Fight Club” and “Youth in Revolt.” This draft was lost during a desktop computer meltdown not long thereafter. But maybe Marshall is resurfacing in Victor?
Sometime in the mid-2000’s, I started seriously plotting a screenplay called “Sharpshooters.” I can’t give away too much of the plot, but there are certainly scenes from those notes the I’ve brought into “Broken Mirror” and that I will use for the sequels too. Here is the premise:
Sharphooters Premise: a rogue network of international research labs, the Super Human Abilities Research Program – SHARP, is targeted by the U.S. government.
It wasn’t terribly compelling and it certainly lacked much in the way of character driven story. But the settings and scenarios that I envisioned are finding their way into my writing.
Timeline for Writing Broken Mirror
I started writing in the winter of 2011. But I didn’t complete more than thirty pages. Only a few of those words made it into the current manuscript, but the characters and plot elements remain: the story begins with the death of Victor’s grandfather and his attempts to uncover the hidden family history.
It would be most accurate to say “Broken Mirror” was “born” in August 2012 when I decided to switch careers and to begin writing in earnest. The first draft was completed January 29, 2013, and the long editing process was completed toward the end of 2015.