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My Only Blog Tour and Guest Post with N.K. Smith

November 25, 2012
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Please Welcome N.K. Smith to the blog!

One of the things I find most fascinating about reading or listening to other authors is hearing about how they came up with their story and characters, and how they write. With this in mind, it’s probably appropriate to talk about the characters, themes, and inspiration of My Only.

Almost all of the stories I’ve written and probably will write start with characters talking in my head. My Only began as a scene. It started with a boy trying to do his homework, but becoming distracted by the girl across the street. As he looked up from his books, he saw a girl with long hair dancing as if she didn’t have a care in the world.

Out of that scene, the girl, Olivia, was fully developed as soon as she appeared through Adam’s and my eyes. She is a character that I never needed to think much about in terms of who she was. Her attitude, her reactions, her happiness and pain were all things that were there before I even put her on the page.

Adam took a little longer to develop because I needed to provide an opposite for Olivia, but he could not be an exact opposite. He couldn’t just be misery to her happiness, couldn’t be a complete solitary introvert to her social extrovert. He needed to be a complementary opposite.

And that was how Aaron was born as well. Adam needed someone he compared himself to before Olivia’s arrival; someone he thought was in a completely different social league than him. Unlike with Olivia, Adam allows his differences to separate him from his brother, even though there will always be the thread of something even deeper than brotherhood between them.

I could have made Aaron just a brother to Adam, but making him a twin was a way to make the contrast and comparison of the two even sharper. Adam feels a little more defunct knowing there’s someone almost identical out there, but who is better in all the ways Adam thinks matters. Plus, I’m interested in the dynamics of twins. My father is a twin, and I’ve grown up thinking about the differences that set him and my uncle apart, rather than their similarities.

Once I saw the scene of Adam watching Olivia dance in my head and the characters showed themselves to me, it was apparent what the theme of the novel would be. I knew I wanted to create something about first love, about the weight of someone’s first real crush. I translated that very innocent theme of love’s first crush into a story of loss and hope. It’s safe to say most people who will read this book have experienced that first crush, that first love, that first heartbreak. I’ve tried to capture what that’s like, including overwhelming self-doubt, blind devotion, and a little bit of awkwardness.

With the characters, an important scene, and a theme above taken care of, the last thing that needed to happen was to actually write it. I’ve had a drive to tell stories since I was a little girl. Back then, I didn’t know I could write the stories in my head down and share them, so instead, I developed them over years, keeping them for myself only. I’m a relatively secretive person, only secretive seems like it’s a negative thing, so let’s just say I keep my inner thoughts to myself for the most part. In college, I started writing down short stories. Some of them very, very short. Then I wrote more stories. And more. I even won a little award. I won’t disclose what it was, but it was pretty significant (at least to me).

So with My Only, the writing wasn’t hard, it was finding the time. My life’s obviously changed since college. I couldn’t devote eight hours a day to dictating dialogue from those characters in my head anymore. Instead, I woke up early and went to sleep late. At the time I wrote this novel, I worked at my day job (which is a day and night job, actually) for 50+ hours a week. So to say I was a bit sleep deprived is an understatement.

But it was worth it. Writing is always worth the sacrifice, at least for me.

Usually the words flow, but when they don’t, I push myself to write just a little further, past what feels comfortable. I know I can always revise, so the real challenge is to get the initial words on the paper. I just push through the scene or section because I know there’s another one that’s going to be easier, but more than that, I push through because it’s important for me to get the stories out of my head. It clears out space for new stories to blossom.

I’d write even if I wasn’t going to be published. I’d write even if I didn’t share it with anyone because it’s a way for me to emote, process, and recharge. I feel lucky that even one person picks up any of my books to read it, and I feel doubly lucky when people say they enjoyed what they read. It gives me just enough incentive to stop hoarding the characters in my head and share them with whoever wants to meet them.

Here’s one last Fun Fact about me: I love connecting with people who love to read, so come visit me on Facebook  ( www.facebook.com/NKSmithAuthor ), on Twitter (@NKSmithWrites), and on GoodReads ( www.goodreads.com/author/show/5358547.N_K_Smith )

Thank you so much for visiting me today!

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