Four years ago, I packed up a rental car with 2 giant suitcases, my comforter, and my bike, and drove all the way from my Florida hometown to Washington D.C. I had recently graduated undergrad and was moving to the home of American government for the foreseeable future. I made the drive up alone–my then-boyfriend (now husband) had already flown up the month before to find us an apartment.
Driving for thirteen hours straight with no one to talk to gives a person time to think. Music was blasting from the CD player, and as the notes swirled around my brain a vague story started to coalesce. Inspired by the soaring refrains and intense lyrics of Muse’s latest album, the story was grand and sweeping and dramatic. An epic tale of romance and betrayal. Politics and religion. A city on the brink.
When I stopped off at the next rest area, I jotted down a few notes into my journal. “Mad Men meets Ancient Rome meets War and Peace,” the notes read. “Star Wars meets Gone With the Wind.”
I was only a slightly ambitious.
Well. Life happened. And three years, two cities and two complete manuscripts later, I finally decided to sit down and write the epic story dreamed up during that long, lonely drive. I drafted an outline, crafted a cast of characters, and invented a world of grandeur and glamour. I pounded out around twenty thousand words. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately), I hated it.
Absolutely. Could not. Stand it.
I wanted to chuck it in the trash and then set it on fire. But somewhere in the process of writing that awful story, I found the beginnings of another story.
A slightly less ambitious story than the one before, but a good story nonetheless.
A story blending Prohibition culture with futurism, Greek mythology, and dark fantasy. Intrigue. Romance. Surrealism.
Reverie is the story of a city where dreams are forbidden. A city where the citizens are trapped beneath an impenetrable dome, unable to make contact with the outside world. A city where a lonely, motherless girl craves adventure and excitement, but looks for them in all the wrong places. A city where the only thing more dangerous than dreaming…is falling in love.
Reverie isn’t the book I meant to write. But it’s the book that insisted I write it. And now I can’t imagine never having written it!
A huge thank you to Lori Goldstein for being my amazing mentor, Brenda Drake for running this incredible contest year after year, and Dee Romito for hosting the alternate showcase! This extraordinary experience has taught me so much about myself and my book, and allowed me to meet some incredible writers and other industry professionals! And last but not least, a big thanks to Carlee Karanovic for organizing this blog hop!
Be sure to check out the other contestants “Why I Wrote My Book” posts, listed below!
Tracie Martin: WILD IS THE WIND