I bet most of you are wondering why a grown ass horror writer was listening to Demi Lovato on repeat last night. Let me explain.
Like every other writer out there, I have family. Specifically two nieces (age 12 and 13) who love MG and YA horror. One day I saw a call for leprechaun stories from a small press. While I have no intention of subbing this story to them, I wanted to give leprechauns a try. My very first thought was to write a female leprechaun because I haven’t really seen many, if at all. My second thought was to take both of my nieces and smash them into one character. To be honest, this story came together fairly quickly, like it was there the whole time waiting for this moment of birth.
Nope, not this kind of leprechaun.
Nope, not this kind either.
I wanted this story to represent my nieces, their struggles as mixed race teens, their passions, their hopes, dreams, and fears. I asked one of them for a first name and the other for a last name. They came up with Sasha Callaborne…and I love it.
Sasha is bummed because she’s moving from the big city, and the only home she’s ever known, to a more rural setting. She’s nervous and scared because she’s out of her comfort zone and isn’t sure she’ll fit in. She loves anime, plays the French horn, loves to read, and loves music. Two traits from each niece.
One of the singers my nieces really like is Demi Lovato. I wanted to try and capture some of Demi’s spark for my character so…I listened to one of my niece’s favorite songs, over and over and over again. Seriously, like fifty times. I think it really helped during the editing process. The song even makes two appearances in the story (not lyrically, that would infringe upon copyright laws!).
Listening to my niece sing in her room the other night reminded me that music holds power. When we’re feeling happy, we sing upbeat songs to share that happiness. When we’re feeling down we seek music to soothe our aches and pains. No matter how we feel, music helps. I wanted to try and bring some of that power to my story. The antagonist uses music for a not so nice purpose, while Sasha discovers that music can also be used to counter the not so nice purpose. The chorus to Really Don’t Care, specifically, gives her courage to fight. It made for the most unique conflict I think I’ve ever written.
My nieces haven’t read the story yet. I’ve got one final round of edits before they get their hands on it. I’m excited for them to read it and give me feedback. While this isn’t my first YA story, it is the first time teen readers will give me their personal feedback. I’m both excited and a little nervous, even if I have no clue what I’m going to do with this story.
Keep in mind I had no intention of writing a story like Leprechaun’s Clearing. Creative lightning zapped me. No matter what anyone else thinks of this story, it’ll always be special to me. Two of the most important people in my life helped inspire and shape it. And just like my two nieces, I’ll always love it.
The next time you’re stuck in a writing rut, look around. Inspiration is everywhere. All you have to do is open up to it.
Elevator pitch: A fifteen-year-old girl stumbles upon an ancient evil and must outwit and outsing her way from the snare that is leprechaun’s clearing or lose her family and soul forever.
Here’s the song that helped inspire the story. Keep doing your thing, Demi. I know two girls who can’t wait for your next song.