With a week to go before Hometown is published, I've been thinking a fair bit about where my story came from and the funny thing is, I can't really narrow it down to a precise point. I did write a pretty awful book fifteen or sixteen years ago about a group of kids in their last year of school - those characters grew up to be the characters in Hometown - but the actual story idea...nope. All I can really be sure of is ten years after that first book is wondering about what the people in it might be up to now. Obviously their schooldays were long ago; they'd have jobs and partners and the usual life troubles that everyone goes through at some point. And maybe they were going through a bit more than usual problems.
Maybe ghosts and monsters and all that good shit.
That's more or less where the book came from. Characters who'd stayed with me for over a decade, sleeping in the back of my head while I grew older and (hopefully) became a better writer than the guy who'd created their first tale as directionless and rambling as it was. Characters ready for another story in a world that is not nice or kind. Characters who need to face that unkind world or die trying. So I came up with a rough outline and started writing. If I remember correctly, I wrote the opening 20k in a week off work which is a decent speed and rate for me and although the first draft was just as messy as most of my firsts, it definitely had something. Some potential, and it was only while working on the other drafts and edits that I realised that the something came from telling an honest story. I didn't try to say anything important about friendship or grief and how regret might be one of the worst things in the world; I just told my tale without any crap getting in the way. And now we have the result.
Ghosts and monsters and all that good shit.