Pinterest makes a great place to collect my inspiration for some of the story moments. The initial spur for me came when I got the first line, so I knew I had to have the “great outfit” clearly described. I initially had them all downloaded to my computer, and then when I discovered Pinterest, it got so much easier. My pinterest page is here, but you really don’t want to look at it if you haven’t finished the story. It will spoil a number of super secret plot elements.
So I’ll research a topic like crazy, even a place I know as well as I know San Antonio. It’s much easier to pull up a photo when you want to write a scene than to drive over there to make sure you got the details right. And even if it’s just the briefest mentions of something, something you would only notice in passing, I need the details to be right.
It works, because a number of readers have told me they liked the descriptions of San Antonio so much they want to visit there now. I need to send the tourist & visitor center a bill.
I’ll admit that a number of scenes of pure description from the story ended up cut because I get so caught up in describing the scene that the story lags. But at the same time, I want my stories to be very grounded in real places, very sensory in nature, and for that to happen, the reader wants to know what the couch looks like, what the food tastes like, what songs might be playing on the PA system. So when I get stuck, I’ll go look at an image. Why? Because that’s the kind of story I want to read. I hate it when authors leave everything up to your imagination. I want to know what color the shirt is! And sometimes, I want to find out later that the shirt being red meant something special.
One scene in the novel, where Meg is trapped in one of the “bad” ghost’s lair, I knew I wanted the bad ghost to have a series of collectibles, magic-items that she used to ensnare other ghosts. So I googled something like “antique nick nacks” and found this amazing picture of a dresser covered in items like silver brushes, jewelry boxes, scarves, feathers. One of the items ended up being the focus-item in one element of Meg’s magic, a kind of talisman, until she could figure it out on her own, without the help.
Other things, like the snow globe of San Antonio—I actually used to own one of those. My son broke it a couple of years ago which drives me nuts because they’re super rare and collectible now. You just can’t find it on the internet anymore. But I have a pin of it because I had stuck the image on my hard drive, back in the day, and it helped me visualize what I wanted to do with that particular scene, a scene which moves the narrative into the home stretch towards the big conflict finale.
Another pin that I have is of a video by a band called CocoRosie, for their song “Gallows.” They really get this very spooky, madwoman haunting and scaring, otherworldly vibe in the video, and the song is just creepy and weird. I listened to the song about 100 times on repeat while I was writing several of the scenes. I know that when Renata, the audiobook narrator, wanted some information on how to voice characters, I told her about the video and with one of the major baddies, you can really hear the influence of this song.
The story really is grounded in the city, and the fantasy peeks through in elements like the mural (which is a major player on the cover, too) and the descriptions of the ghosts that make up a major part of Meg’s quest. I love being able to share the files with people, too, because then they go “OH WOW! That’s totally how I pictured Martha!” Also, there won’t be any confusion when Hollywood decides to cast the movie. :D
Children of Mariposa
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Magic Realism
Publisher: Daydreams Dandelions Publications
Date of Publication: December 24, 2014
Number of pages: 293 pages
Word Count: 106,993
Cover Artist: Lawrence Mann
What if the best night of your life was also your last?
On the eve of a much-anticipated proposal, Meg is happier than she could have ever imagined. The future she sees for herself on that magical night is bright, one that’s full of love and laughter and dreams finally realized.
That is, until one random act of violence changes everything…
Consumed by fate and forces she can’t comprehend, Meg finds herself at the center of a spectral conflict that transcends life and death.
Her very soul is up for grabs in this war, and what’s worse… she’s not the only one.
Now, she’s fighting not just for the love she lost, but the daughter she would have called her own. She must fight the battle of her life, for the sake of her friends and family, and find out for herself if love can indeed be stronger than death.
Intertwined with true-ghost stories, some heart-warming, some heart-breaking, this love-note to San Antonio combines history, myth, and vivid description.
This is the full story of Meg & Amelinda's quest-journey, what author Laura Metzger calls "A beautifully written story with compelling characters that reach between the universe of the living and the dead to embrace their mutual destiny" and author Elena E. Giorgi calls "A beautiful tale of love and redemption."
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/u8wWa70P7ck
Meg: Vanilla and Lavender
On the day I died, I was wearing a great outfit. This is important to know because it turns out that your default look for eternity as a ghost is what you’re wearing when you die. I mean, seriously. Who knew? If I’d have known that, I wouldn’t have risked any days in mediocre clothes. In that respect, I was lucky I was on a date when I was killed, but of course, if I hadn’t been on a date, on that date, maybe things would have turned out differently.
Not everyone gets to be a ghost. In fact, some people disappear immediately, and I don’t know what happens. But they just wink right out of existence, only out of their bodies for a few seconds. Maybe it has something to do with intent, or their last actions, or their own belief systems. I hope the good people go somewhere good, no matter what they did in the last moments of life, that there is a way for them to make up for those Big Mistakes.
Some people, people who haven’t Figured Things Out, people like me, linger for a while. We hang around those we love and sometimes try to influence their choices, trying to keep loved ones from making Big Mistakes.
My grandmother had been my ghost–I was not surprised when it came right down to it. Back when I was alive, I used to smell her perfume in the apartment we shared, vanilla and lavender. I could never figure out what actual perfume brand she wore to get that scent, and believe me, I tried. I loved it and wanted that for my signature perfume. I haunted the local drugstores, especially the old ones, and vintage stores, looking for an old- fashioned perfume that featured those fragrance notes, but never found anything that smelled even remotely like hers.
I guess it was just her individual magic that combined the scents that way. It seemed to linger in our apartment, long after she had been gone. Especially at certain important moments. I wouldn’t know those moments were important ‘til later, but looking back, it’s obvious.
I’m getting ahead of myself, moving way too fast for normal people. First, you probably want to know more about me, right? You can’t just start in the middle of the story; you have to work up to these big deals. I made it 23 years on the planet before checking out. I guess you’d say I was pretty, although I was never very stylish or together. I thought that would come with maturity, but I never got to find that out. When I died, I had shoulder length wavy copper colored hair, cut in a bob that was always tickling my chin and sometimes made me want to cut it all off. I certainly never had the patience to grow it all out. It was “in between” hair, lack of decision hair. My eyes were basic gray, nothing exciting, although I desperately wanted the “limpid blue” or “decisive green” eyes of a romance heroine. A light plague of freckles scattered across the bridge of my nose showed my Irish- Scottish mutt background, and I had fair redhead’s skin that burned, rather than tanned, which kept me indoors most of the time or slathered in sunscreen. 5’8’, skinny without being too skinny. I did have my family’s big butt, which we will not discuss.
Why I have to go through eternity with that butt is beyond me. I tended to prefer jeans and a comfortable cotton shirt, paired with flat old- fashioned Converse tennis shoes as my daily outfit, but I could clean up pretty nice when I had to.
About the Author:
Kim wrote her first critically acclaimed (if you call her fourth grade teacher a critic, and she does) short story when she was 9 years old. It was about Christmas in a Cave, and it featured such topical, ground-breaking subjects as homelessness & cave dwelling. She's been writing ever since. The state of publication depends on who you ask.
She has a Ph.D. in Literature, with specialties in American Lit, Women Writers, Feminism, Sci-Fi/Fantasy & Film Studies but please don't hold any of that against her. She teaches academic writing and how to read literature at a university in her hometown and tries to convince college students that it really is cool to like poetry.
She lives in the South, has twin children (one girl, one boy) and a husband who is the model for all her best romantic heroes. She also has two cats-- one black and sassy, one stripey and fat, and also kinda sassy.
Find her on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/kimwellswrites
Twitter here: https://twitter.com/dandeliondreams