I very clearly remember the day I started writing the story. It was October of my freshman year of high school, a Wednesday I think. A friend had come home from school with me, but her mother had picked her up. I went inside and sat on the orange sofa in our family room and picked up a piece of paper and a clipboard. Then with my Eraser-mate pen, Brady Bunch playing in the background, I wrote the first sentence.
“More kids were trickling into the brick building.”
It was a story about a girl at a boarding school. The girl’s name was Casey and she was (in my own words) “extremely rich, extremely pretty, and extremely friendly.”
During the course of the story Casey rescued a small child from a burning building and was temporarily blinded. She got better.
The story ran about thirty pages. I typed it up and showed it to my friends. And to a person they all said. “It can’t end there. That’s not a good place to end the story.”
(I can’t find the original short story so I don’t recall exactly what was so horrible about the ending)
So, I didn’t end it there. I kept writing—all through high school. I graduated and so did Casey.
The story went through many (and I mean many) permutations until one day, many years later, I was working on a version that involved a love triangle with Casey (now called Meg) and her ex-boyfriend and a new boyfriend and it all centered around the school play.
A friend of mine—the same one who had been at my house the day I started the story—said to me “Don’t kill me, but I think you can take out this whole triangle thing and have a separate story—it’s more than just a subplot—it can be its own book.”
She’s a very smart friend. She even pulled the scenes out and put them all together in one document so I could see what she meant. I changed the character’s names and Meg became Emma and Jim became Mike and I changed a few other things around as well. My friend read it and suggested I call it When Mike Kissed Emma.
And I did.
Thank you for all the support you've given the Climbing Rose Young Adult line of The Wild Rose Press. Our stories are still available on The Wild Rose Press website, however, since we aren't publishing new stories, our blog is no longer active. We thank you again for the time you spent with us and invite you to visit our Climbing Rose bookstore.
OK, WMKE sounds like a radio station, I know, but it's really When Mike Kissed Emma which is an awesome title for a book but way too long for a blog post title! Anyway, Christine Marciniak, author of WMKE, is off on a fab vacation this week, so I'll be posting her thoughts as we countdown to the release of WMKE on Friday. So here's her take on how WMKE got started:
Great story, Christine! I can't wait for everybody to read WMKE!