I never made a conscious decision to write a Young Adult novel. The idea for Glamour actually came from a friend of mine who suggested years ago that we write a teen-movie script about “a girl who worked in an ice cream store who was an ambidextrous scooper.” It was a little bit Porky’s, a little bit Little Darlings.
I wrote Scoops as a screenplay in 2004. It was pretty dreadful. Because I am not actually a comedy writer (unless I’m not trying to be funny; then everything comes out absolutely hilarious) I decided to make it less a horny teen comedy and more of a psychological thriller, with a lot of madness and identity shifting and Hitchcockian/Highsmithian doppleganger stuff. Interestingly enough, I even included a scene where the girls take a ghost tour, which is pretty funny in light of what my future career would be.
Anyway, I shelved the fairly terrible script and moved on to other screenplays and, eventually, short stories, but I couldn’t get the characters of Reese and Christina out of my head. They kept floating around in there, and eventually I decided to revisit the script when I took a re-writing seminar with Pilar Alessandra. It was at this point that I realized Christina was actually the main character in the story. I also realized I needed a slightly better hook than an ambidextrous scooper who wins an ice cream scooping contest! I’ve always been obsessed with witches and witchcraft, and maybe something about all those women brewing up special concoctions put the idea in my head, because I thought, hell why not make the ice cream store a front for a coven?
Then Scoops became Widdershins, which was what I originally called the witchy version of the script. It actually came out pretty well, much better than the original, but I was still stuck with a script on my hands that featured two female leads (one of whom isn’t around for 85% of the movie) and a lot of costly special effects. How many producers out there would jump at the chance to option a script like that? Especially from an unknown writer?
There is a blog by John August, a screenwriter. He once advised a fellow writer that it is actually easier to write and sell a novel than it is a script: “If you’re looking to put your story out into the world, paper beats film, hands down.”
After I read that, I then re-wrote the entire thing again as a novel. This was around 2010 or 2011, I think. I changed the name to Glamour because someone else had already written a book called Widdershins, but I ended up liking the new title a lot. I sold it to World Weaver Press and here we are, just ten short years later and it’s a YA book now!
So the whole YA thing was an accident. I’m not sure if I’ll write a YA novel again. To be honest, I’m not in love with the YA label. People are people, no matter their age. Teenage girls can be miserable or dazzling or profound, just like adult women. So why do they have to be YA necessarily? Do we think of Katniss Everdeen as a teen, or as a person? Lisbeth Salander as a “New Adult” (she’s twenty-three, after all!) or a human? If I ever do write another book with a young protagonist, it’ll be because that’s the right person for the right story for the right time. Or because someone will finally have paid me to write the remake of Little Darlings.