The question almost every writer is asked at one time or another: where do you get your ideas? I listen to a lot of music, so quite often a phrase from a song will really resonate with me and set my creative mind whirling. That’s how I got the title for my novel, from the Jann Arden song “Will You Remember Me?”
In it she sings, “I’ve got a junkie heart in a cage of bone”. I came up with the title CAGE OF BONE before I even had a character in mind. At first, I thought I’d write about someone with anorexia, an obvious connection to a cage of bone being an emaciated body. Instead, I ended up writing about anger and grief and suicide. My book was turned out very autobiographical (shhhh…I know everybody’s first novel is autobiographical).
My father died when I was 18 from alcoholism, a slow form of suicide, I suppose. I thought I had gotten over his death but I found myself stalling over and over again while writing and I couldn’t figure out why. It wasn’t until I worked with a creativity coach and followed her suggestion to write about my father’s death and drudge up all that grief that I could get back to my novel. I needed to feel all those negative emotions again in order to write my character’s story but I didn’t want to–I resisted my work for so long because I didn’t want to hurt again.
It did hurt though and I cried while writing the ending of my book because I knew exactly how my character was feeling. Her pain was my pain too. While some people might say autobiographical novels are tired, I needed to write this book to close the door on a sad part of my life. And I expect I’m not the only writer to have done this.
The happy part of writing this book is that I show teens that grieving is healthy and any emotions you feel while going through the process are normal. Best of all, you can move on and it doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten the one who has died. They always live on in your memories.