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How Katy Perry inspired YA novel One Little Spell

My YA novels have undergone a revamp this month with new covers and new titles, and one novel even has a new chapter at the end. One Little Spell was originally released as Little Red Gem. But not enough people were reading the novel to get the reference to the title so I retitled it to One Little Spell.

In the book, leading up to to the climax, the main character, Ruby Parker, is sitting in the car and having a moment where she reflects on her behaviour and prepares for the future. She has just gone on an incredible journey that has taken 250 pages and over 65,000 words to tell. To sum up her situation, the boy she loves has broken her heart and now she is having wondering if it was worth it. She must have learned something on this incredible journey. But what? The feelings inside are all mixed up as if someone has tossed them out a window and left them to the mercy of the wind. Her thoughts are like a Geiger counter machine in the middle of an earthquake.

Thousands of miles away, I'm sitting in my study and I have been led on this incredible journey that has taken 250 pages and over 65,000 words to hear. But Ruby has left it up to me to sum up the story. So I’m staring at the chapter that will lead to the climax, the ending, and I feel Ruby's broken heart. And my first thought is that this must be what songwriters do when they write songs.

It's easy to imagine that thousands of miles away, Katy Perry is sitting on a sofa writing a song about love lost and found. Or she may be lying on a bed. Or taking a walk. Okay, I’m not entirely sure where she is but I picture her at home on a sofa amidst a wad of tissues and empty chocolate wrappers. Her tears must be the result of an incredible journey. Maybe her tears are the result of a broken heart. Like Ruby, maybe the feelings inside Katy are all mixed up as if someone has tossed them out a window and left them to the mercy of the wind. Like Ruby, maybe Katy’s thoughts are as erratic as a Geiger counter machine in the middle of an earthquake. But Katy Perry is experienced with words, so after she’s done crying she gets up off the sofa and tosses the wads of tissues and empty wrappers in the bin. Then she walks into her study and wraps her broken heart in layers of sticky tape...

The song in particular was "Roar" and it really summed up how I wanted Ruby Parker to act. I wanted her to come out of this situation roaring and ready for a fight. The book does have a happily ever after, but I think it's also crucial that young women are prepared to stand up for themselves.

In that moment, while that song was playing, Ruby, Katy, and I were connected by the need to express our feelings. Both in words but there are other ways to express feelings. What songs have connected with you? Or have you found other ways of connection such as art, paintings, TV shows, movie characters? Maybe it was a poem.

I'd love to hear your story.




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