I’m here spilling secrets about my book Imaginary Girls. As the cover says, “Secrets never stay below the surface.” I guess not, because here’s another one bubbling up now…
Secret #8: Music shaped Imaginary Girls more than you know.
Sometime ago, I was listening to a CD my sister told me I’d love: You Are Free by Cat Power. I was staring at a blank page, headphones in, willing words to come. Suddenly they did, and those words were the opening paragraphs of the story that would become the novel you now know as Imaginary Girls. There was something about a particular song—a favorite of my sister’s that I made into her ringtone on my cell phone whenever she called or texted me—that gave me ideas about the plot. In “Fool,” Chan Marshall sings this:
Come along, fool
A direct hit to the senses, you’re disconnected
It’s not that it’s bad, it’s not that it’s death
It’s just on the tip of your tongue, and you’re so silent
The last two lines, especially, found their way into my story. And this wasn’t the only time music my little sister introduced me to informed the book. She sent me a song called “Hanging High” by Lykke Li, an artist I’d never heard of before, and the idea of what happens when Chloe returns home after two years away can be found in these lyrics:
Oh I’m hanging high
Oh won’t you let me down
Back where I started at
You know I’m a little lost
Clearly my sister is an inspiration for Imaginary Girls—and not just her, her music. Thankfully I don’t quote these lyrics in the book (or I’d have to pay permission fees to music companies), but I am absolutely sure the book wouldn’t be what it is without them, even if the connection is obvious only to me.
* * *
Here are links to the songs, if wanted, from YouTube:
“Fool” by Cat Power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBE1uxe8j2c
“Hanging High” by Lykke Li: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qsoDSGMRFI
Chloe's older sister, Ruby, is the girl everyone looks to and longs for, who can't be captured or caged. When a night with Ruby's friends goes horribly wrong and Chloe discovers the dead body of her classmate London Hayes left floating in the reservoir, Chloe is sent away from town and away from Ruby.
But Ruby will do anything to get her sister back, and when Chloe returns to town two years later, deadly surprises await. As Chloe flirts with the truth that Ruby has hidden deeply away, the fragile line between life and death is redrawn by the complex bonds of sisterhood.
With palpable drama and delicious craft, Nova Ren Suma bursts onto the YA scene with the story that everyone will be talking about.
You can read an IMAGINARY GIRLS sampler here.
I have one (1) signed finished copy of IMAGINARY GIRLS to giveaway to a winner in the US. To enter, fill out this form. Open to entries until July 8th, 2011.