Having no idea what I was getting myself into, I decided to write a novel late last year. I began putting words on the screen in November. They weren’t very good words at first. That was Lesson #1.
People ask what my book is about and I’m supposed to get good at explaining it quickly and succinctly, so people don’t start dreaming up ways to get away from me. My book is about Claire, a 39 year-old single mom. She’s a music writer and she lives in Chapel Hill because that’s where I live. I don’t like the idea of writing about places you haven’t been. When Claire was a teenager, she was obsessed with a British band called Banks Forest and their young buck of a guitar player, Christopher Penman. She did all of the normal stuff teenage girls do when they’re pining for a pop star—stare at posters of him on the wall, listen to his music endlessly, imagine what it would be like to be his girlfriend. More than twenty years later, Chris is a bit of a media disaster and tabloid regular with a solo career that could use some serious help. Claire gets an assignment to interview him, with direct orders to drag his closely held secrets out of him. After that, well, I can’t tell you that—read the book!
I actually started writing Bring Me Back for the first time three years ago although the idea for Chris and Claire came years before that. I didn’t get very far with writing it the first time. The title comes from the Plimsouls song “A Million Miles Away”, which I thought was appropriate given that Banks Forest was huge in the 80s.
In June of 2008, we lost our house to a fire. People talk about their lives being turned upside down—we felt like ours was turned inside out. Once things were back to the new normal, with a new house, stuff to put in it, and kids happy, I made the decision to do something for myself. I started the book a few days later. I stopped sleeping much and although it sounds so incredibly clichéd, the story spilled out of me. I’m not going to say it was easy because I don’t think my brain has worked so hard in my entire life.
I’ve only let a small circle of people in on this life event, and those people have all been burdened, I mean blessed, with the task of reading and giving feedback. Now that it’s finished and I’m looking for an agent, I thought it was time to tell the rest of the world.