How my life inspired Lands End
Goddess, I’ve been putting this off for waaay too long, but whatevs. It seems to be the perfect time because “Tenderness” by General Public came on the tribe’s playlist. Yes! The tribe is very real and based on my amazing group of strong female friends. This book is actually inspired by the opening scene--aka--chapter one—the conversation in the car, the jam-packed traffic. Since I’ve lived in the bay area my entire life, I know tons of different shortcuts, so I can make record time pretty much anywhere I go. However, that night traffic was AWFUL! There were like five different accidents, even the shortcuts were backed up since everyone’s GPS rerouted them. That holiday party was by far one of the most fun parties I’ve gone to in my entire life. My sis and I talk about it all the time. And now it lives on in this book.
While Eileen and Alta’s are fictional characters, and their romance is all fantasy derived from my brain, I put a lot of myself into their world. The New Year’s Eve party was based on classic get-togethers with the tribe and me. Yes, we call our group the “tribe.” Eileen has quite a few of my traits. How she speaks, acts, reacts. The unconditional love she holds for Alta.
All relationships have their issues. What I always bring to my books, no matter the genre, are realistic aspects when it comes to relationships. Look, I’m a romantic just like everyone else. However, I do believe in being realistic and find something magical in people being able to survive the hard times together. To me, when a couple can make it overall their issues and come out the other side stronger than ever and more in love… Ugh, that is so romantic.
Those of you that have read all of my books know that I likes the drama. Just look at The Secret Life Series--LOL! When I wrote that series, I literally thought to myself, “I want to write the most dysfunctional couple and make their love something actually desirable.” Well, fictionally desirable. Would I want that in my real life? Hell No!
As many know, I looooves music. This book was heavily inspired by 80s and 90s hits. My writing process, with pretty much anything I work on, is to sit down and listen to music that fits in the scene. I mean, I think of my life as a soundtrack. For example, I made a soundtrack explaining the last three months of my life it would consist of the following songs:
“One Less Bell To Answer,” The Fifth Dimensions
“Baby Love,” The Supremes
“Walk On By,” Dionne Warwick (and) “Walk On By,” Isaac Hayes (THE TWELVE MINUTE ONE. While based on the same song, they offer two totally different experiences.)
“I Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely,” Marcia Griffiths
“Just Sayin/I Tried,” The Internet
“Yes I’m Changing,” Tame Impala
“Boogie Wonderland,” Earth Wind and Fire (This one is always a part of my life. Sometimes you just need to forget life and dance. I mean just look at those lyrics. So powerful!)
Okay, so based on those songs I just listed, I bet anyone could figure out what I’ve been going through. I’m sure you can come up with a billion different stories of what my life has looked like just by those songs alone. That’s pretty much how I create my art.
My novels are my art. I am an artist just like anyone else that sits down and writes or paints or makes a movie, etc. What I love about this book is that I was able to really convey parts of myself that are written between the lines. All of my novels have a bit of me in them. A Trip to Paris, my next book I have coming out explores aspects of my spirituality and what I faced when trying to become a model years ago. I’ll eventually make a blog about that.
Alta, on the other hand, is probably my polar opposite. Her character was inspired when I substituted at a Jewish school. It was an amazing and eye-opening experience for me. Made me want to learn more about the Jewish faith and what their prayers translated to. When I worked at the school, they started the day off with prayer. It was so beautiful to listen to. I found myself arriving early just so I could hear it. The kiddos I worked with were so sweet. The people were beyond welcoming and made me instantly feel at home. Overall, it was a lovely experience that opened my eyes to things I was ignorant of. Like Alta, I wanted to open her eyes to things she was ignorant of as well, which you read about in the book.
The inspiration for this book is so personal to me, which is most likely why it took me so long to write this out. This is also why it was written in the first person. I love writing in first-person because I can create a train of consciousness that--in my personal opinion--makes it easier to understand the character’s personality. I always say, if you see something that is not grammatically correct, really look at the context in how it was written. Who is saying it? Is it said multiple times by the same person? If so, then it is most likely a character trait. How that person talks and thinks. Or it could just be a grammatical mistake. I personally don’t mind them that much and enjoy reading things that aren’t perfect, which is why I leave mistakes that I catch or put them in on purpose… i.e., The Secret Life of a Housewife. However, sometimes it even bothers me, i.e., Audra: Vol. 1. I wrote that in a month and didn’t think everything through. Based on a dream, I wanted it to have a dreamy feel. I wanted it to make the reader unsure of certain things. However, I’m in the process of changing a few grammatical things.
One of my favorite authors said that their books go through many different changes. As an author, I now understand exactly what they meant by that. As for now, I believe Lands End--also notice how I spelled the title. It is not the grammatically correct way to spell it, and there is a reason for that… Anyways, as for now, I love Lands Ends the story it portrays and the message it sends out.
-Mariah R. Embry