One of the questions all writer’s undoubtedly receive is “where do you get your inspiration?” Sometimes there is a great lightbulb moment—a tragedy, a blessing, a unique childhood—that breathes life into an idea. For Rebel Song, I attribute it to a childhood obsession with tragic love stories, with fantasy tales of kings and queens, with gallant heroes sacrificing all.
When I describe the plot of Rebel Song to people, but tell them it’s contemporary, they often say, “Wait, it’s about a princess and
a rebellion and star-crossed love? Sounds a little Medieval.” And it
does sound like a plot of old. But it’s also a reality of today…Let me
explain a bit of history about its inspiration.
The very first incarnation of Rebel Song came about 22 years ago—no
joke! When I was 12—possibly suffering some unrequited love of my own—I
actually wrote this short book about a princess who falls in love with a
spy from another country and she betrays her kingdom for him. In the
end she jumps off a cliff and kills herself so in retrospect it wasn’t a
very uplifting story (I was a strange 12 year old, I admit). But I
never forgot that tale and I’ve maintained this affinity for the
star-crossed lovers since.
So fast forward a couple decades. I’m in Madrid, Spain, reading about the turmoil of Spain’s 20th
century—from a monarchy to a dictator to back to a monarchy. And I
realized that, while it’s strange to the Americans, royalty is alive and
well in much of Europe. Additionally, many countries in Europe have
undergone rebellions, dictators, civil war and more in the last fifty
years alone. Sometimes there’s even a juicy love story thrown in there. I
was fascinated by the history there and I suddenly knew I had to bring
Rogan and Elyra’s story to life in a fresh new way.
And while the story is set in “modern-day,” I admit, the specific
time period for the story is purposefully a little vague because I’m
trying to avoid talking about real world events—it’s hard to talk about
20th century Europe and not discuss post WWII Communism, for
example. I want the Rogan and Elyra’s story to just exist within itself
and for the reader to not have to think about the outside world.
So once you have this great novel that you love more than your own mortal soul, what do you do with it?
After I’d finished and perfected Rebel Song to the best of my
ability, I had to learn how to publish it! Writers today are living in
the best of times. There are more ways than ever to reach millions of
hungry readers. But with more choices, it can be daunting to decide the
best way to go. I opted to Independently publish and I couldn’t be
happier with my choice. It’s a lot of work—no denying that. As an Indie
author, you’re responsible for every aspect of the process—from finding
the cover design, getting a professional editor, finding beta readers
and then doing the marketing. It was a long process, I stumbled a lot,
made some mistakes, learned a TON and was excited to do it all again.
The second installment, Rebel Rising, is due out this September and I’m so excited to continue the saga with my readers.
About the Author
J. Clay is a writing YA and Adult fiction from Dallas, TX. A Northern
California native, she had a fantastic time studying English and
Journalism at Chico State University and then a very serious time
slaving away for a Master’s degree in Communications from California
State University, Fullerton. When she’s not staring at a computer
screen, she spends most of her spare time on some new fitness addiction
and plotting world adventures.
Her latest book is the young adult novel, Rebel Song.