Writers never stop thinking. Everything catches our eye and our imagination and when something sticks, we have the tendency to lose ourselves in it – until we re-find ourselves in a world where that new thing plays a vital role.
This was no different when Losing Brave was birthed. One thought, one memory, one word, one truth, all came together and created the initial concept for the story. These ideas/concepts were what I took to Bailee and asked if she’d be interested in joining me in making them come to life on paper. Luckily, she said “yes”!
Here’s our list of things that inspired Losing Brave.
1. A car.
I don’t want to give too much away, but when I was in high school my parents gave me a completely restored VW Bug for my sixteenth birthday. I loved that thing like a grown woman loves her children. It was my pride and joy. I obviously drove it everywhere and it was even in my high school homecoming parade.
Sadly, something tragic happened to that car (identical to what happens in the novel) and I felt like a part of me was gone. The memory has stuck with me for years. Even my high school friends still bring it up on Facebook all of these years later. When I stared thinking about writing a new book, this memory came to the forefront of my mind. I felt like it was a great catalyst for rebirth.
You’ll find out what that looks like once you read the novel and in a way you’ll be reading about a moment that happened in my life WAY back in 1986.
The first whispers of Losing Brave started to percolate well over four years ago. I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it but I was crazy about the word BRAVE and all of the power behind it. I knew I wanted to write about a character that was brave in her own way and I believe that Bailee and I found a way to do that through Payton.
3. A Brave
Once the word “brave” was stuck in my head, I played around on the internet. When I searched the word, the image of a 1972 Winnebago Brave appeared on my screen and I was in love. Like, a ga-ga kind of love. I knew, that I knew, that I knew the amazing piece of garbage needed to appear in the novel, and I am so glad that Bailee and our editor agreed.
Writers often (if not always) use themselves as material. We dive into a story and put characters into situations that force them to work through issues that we also need to work through. Being true to self is always a battle we will face.
Wrangling with what I wanted to accomplish in the world while also staying true to myself brought on a desire to write a character fighting the same battle. And for Bailee, who also feels the tug of staying true to herself in the midst of the “Hollywood life”, this was one of the areas of the story that she felt most passionate about.
We wanted to create characters who make the choice to remain true to themselves no matter the consequences. No matter the losses. In the world of social media and constant scrutiny, being authentic is a form of bravery all its own, and Bailee and I were excited to explore it throughout the story of Payton and her friends.
5. An elderly woman
Just weeks before the idea of Losing Brave started to form, a friend of mine told me the story of an elderly woman she met when she volunteered at a retirement home.
The woman would wake up every morning, get dressed in her finest clothes, put on a full face of makeup and walk out to the patio. There she would… well, you’ll have to read the novel.
Nana, a character in Losing Brave, was inspired by this woman who didn’t remember where she was, but she was waiting for something… and her story will stick with me forever.
So there you have it! A behind the scenes peek at some things that inspired the story that Bailee and I loved writing. It’s a personal story. Fiction, but oh so personal. We hope you love it!