How An Idea Became A Novel
My debut novel, True Love Way, is about friendship at its core. There are romances and a main love story, but the basis of all of it is friendship. Initially, I knew I wanted to write a novel about friendship. Specifically, childhood friendships turned into adult friendships and how they transitioned and changed throughout the years. I wanted to see what would happen if there was something that was holding two childhood friends together, something that would force them to work out whatever obstacles came their way. I knew that the main character would be stuck in the past because the story would essentially be about how she finally moves forward with her life. I wanted to give her a huge obstacle that would be the ultimate test of friendship and forgiveness. Before writing anything, I always outline the story and figure out exactly who the characters are so that I have a clear vision of where the story will go. True Love Way changed along the way as I wrote since new elements were added and deleted, but the original idea remained the same from start to finish.
Marlo Spencer is the main character, and the book begins when her past and her present collide. She has felt a void in her life since her high school boyfriend, Josh, left the country right after they graduated and cut all ties with her. Up until he left, Marlo and Josh were inseparable since they were four years old. Marlo remained friends with her other childhood best friend, Savannah, and even became much closer to Savannah’s older brother, Nik, in recent years. When Josh returns, Marlo, Savannah, and Nik must confront the past and truly be honest with each other. I knew that the stakes had to be high and the secrets had to be heartbreaking in order for Marlo to really see her friendships and relationships for what they actually were, not only how she idealized them. Marlo tends to put those who are dear to her on pedestals and always wants to see the good in them, but the reality is that no one is perfect. If Marlo can accept her closest friends’ flaws and mistakes, then maybe she can finally accept and deal with her own.
Once I had the basic idea for True Love Way, it took a few weeks to outline the story and for everything to come together. When I began writing, the storyline took shape naturally. It took me a year to write True Love Way, and it has been over two years since I first came up with the concept for it. I’m extremely proud of how it turned out, and so happy to see my idea come to life on the pages of True Love Way.