If an interviewer happened to ask me just the right questions, they would discover some interesting tidbits of information. Here’s how that interview might go:

Where did you come up with the name Reed for your main character?

I was looking for a name that sounded modern and strong, and I wanted a one-syllable name that someone could shout easily. I had a feeling plenty of people in my book would be shouting his name. A couple of years ago, I was taking my kids to swimming lessons during the summer and there were camps running at the pool. I saw a list of camp counsellors with photos, and when I spied a teenage guy with the name Reed, I knew that was the one!

What major changes did you make to the book during the editing stage?

The part of my book that changed the most was definitely the first chapter. Originally, the novel started with a prologue, and then I learned prologues are apparently passé. I scrapped the prologue and started straight into the action. Then I received feedback that although scary and crazy things were happening, the reader didn’t care about the characters enough. I added several pages of introductory information, sort of a day-in-the-life of Reed. Then I heard lots of advice that you shouldn’t do that either, especially in young adult fiction; you have to jump right into the action and get the reader to come to care for your characters over time. So I cut out the day-in-the-life part. Sarah also started out as a cop, then became a private investigator, then went back to being a cop. I’ve finally realized that sometimes you need to trust your instincts and do what you want with the story because you can’t please everyone.

Describe something quirky about your book

The last two words in many books are “The End,” so I thought it would be fun to make the last two words of my book “the beginning.” That’s the kind of thing I amuse myself with. Anyway, go check it out . . . those are indeed the last two words of Welcome to the Darkness.

Are there any scenes in the book that you based on real-life experiences?

There are tons of little things sprinkled throughout my book that I took from real life. My aunt once said out of the blue, “Did you know cow’s tongues are rough like cats’?” I knew I had to use that somewhere in my book. One of the more difficult scenes to write in my novel was also based on my personal life; Reed spots a girl who looks exactly like his late sister and of course this upsets him. I experienced this scenario about a year ago when I saw a woman who was the spitting image of my late best friend.

Are there any movies you love so much that you incorporated references to this movie in your book?

You bet! I’m a big Star Wars geek, and there are several things from Star Wars that made it into my book; everything from the mentor-like relationship between Reed and Nathaniel (Luke and Obi-Wan) to direct quotes like, “This deal is getting worse all the time.” Bonus points to anyone who knows which character said that in The Empire Strikes Back. :)

This guest post was originally featured here on Share My Destiny’s Blog.