“Twilight has been on the top of the bestseller list for months?” they say. “Then I’m going to write a paranormal romance! The Hunger Games is selling like hotcakes in a land gripped by famine? Then I’m going to write a YA dystopian! No, I’m going to write a YA dystopian trilogy!”
Me? I’m allergic to mold.
So far, I’ve written seven novels, and every one of them has been different. They’re not just different from what’s already out there; they’re different from each other. I like trying new things. I might like cereal, but that doesn’t mean I’d like to eat nothing but cereal for the rest of your life. I feel that way about writing too.
I want to write books that fit a purpose, not a trend. And I don’t see any purpose in writing the same story twice. I know some writers find a formula and then just churn out books that use it. That’s not me. The way I see it, if something has already been written, why write it again?
The strange thing is that I don’t write romance. Unless it’s funny, I don’t even read it. But Ride of Your Life is the most romantic book I’ve ever written, and it just might be the most romantic book you’ll ever read. It’s a story about love being the only thing that connects us, not just here in the world of the living, but from here to the afterlife, and from the afterlife to here. In the book, the ghosts feel the love of the people they’ve left behind and those who have continued the journey into the light. They can also touch the living with their love. In the end, love is the only thing that matters, the only thing that truly lasts forever.
So how does a writer who doesn’t like romance end up creating something this romantic?
Ride of Your Life started out as a story in my head when I was still a teenager. I wrote it after the Great Adventure Haunted Castle fire that killed eight teenagers in 1984. I wrote it because I knew Great Adventure‑‑my family used to have a season pass there‑‑I was a teenager just like the ones who had died, and I wanted to give their story a happy ending. No, I needed to give it a happy ending.
I didn’t set out to write a romance. I set out to write a story about how something good can come out of something unimaginably tragic. I wrote it, because I needed to believe it. And that was its purpose. Then I decided to share it with the world, because I realized that there are so many unimaginable tragedies, and maybe this story could help comfort others the way it comforted me. That was its purpose.
Some people have assumed that the next book I’m publishing is also a romance. The previous one was, so why shouldn’t the next one be too? Plus, it has the word “love” in the title. Others have assumed that it’s just “another vampire novel,” because the main characters are a beautiful vampire girl and the super geek she’s just turned into a vampire.
But I’m not a big fan of assumptions. When I see one, I feel the need to break it.
Now, I don’t hate vampires or vampire novels. I enjoyed Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice, and I love Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends trilogy, which I didn’t read until one reviewer pointed out during the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards contest (where it was a quarterfinalist) that Why My Love Life Sucks is a bit like a nerdy YA version of it. I also found Hotel Transylvania very funny. But I hate melodrama, clichés, girls who need guys to rescue and protect them, and anything that takes itself too seriously.
Hmm, let me think, what might I be referring to . . . ?
I am a geek, and I’m proud of it. We geeks are not just reading lots of books, playing lots of video games, watching lots of science fiction and fantasy movies, or buying lots of gadgets. We’re creating them. Geeks are designing new technologies, making new discoveries, and experimenting with new art forms. Geeks take chances; while the cooler kids do everything they can to fit the smelly old mold.
I wanted to create a character who encompasses all the things that I think make geeks great, and so Gilbert Garfinkle, otherwise known as Gilbert the Fixer, was born. He loves Star Wars and Star Trek, plays Dungeons & Dragons, and tinkers with the Lablet he’s trying to turn into a quantum computer. He has an obsessive need to take things apart, figure them out, and fix them—and his ultimate goal is to fix the world.
But a hero is only as great as the challenge he has to overcome, and the challenge has to fit the particular character. Eventually, I realized that I had to give him something he couldn’t take apart, figure out, or fix.
And that’s why Amber entered his story.
After all, it frustrated me no end that the vampires in these stories didn’t make any sense. If that frustrated me, imagine the challenge they would present to the always logical Gilbert. Amber couldn’t just walk into his life, flash her fangs, and then walk out. She had to do something that could never make any sense to Gilbert. She had to choose him. She had to turn him into a vampire, and she had to do it because she wanted him to be her platonic best friend forever. In other words, she had to become the ultimate geek guy’s gorgeous ultimate nightmare with a killer smile.
Now you might be thinking that Gilbert and Amber end up together in some sort of romantic relationship. Lots of people do. But the name of this particular book is Why My Love Life Sucks, so believe me when I tell you that‑‑in this particular book‑‑Gilbert’s love life does suck.
This is, however, only the first book in the Gilbert the Fixer series, and things may change. After all, I like to write books that fit a purpose, and I don’t see any purpose in writing the same book twice.
But there is one thing I think you’ll find in all of my books: I never get tired of happy endings.
You can find Shevi on Amazon.com, Facebook and Twitter, and you can follow her blog athttp://shevi.blogspot.com