1. My husband named Jesse’s band – about twenty years ago. Yellow #5 was originally the name of a band in an unpublished novel of mine (titled Before Girl.) I always loved that name so when I was trying to think of one for Jesse’s band, it was a no-brainer.
2. My husband plays guitar, and some of the band stuff was inspired by real life. (Especially the egos and bickering, but shhh, don’t tell him I said that!)
3. Out of all the characters I have ever written, Madison is the one I have the least in common with, but I loved writing her! I envy her confidence and her no BS attitude.
4. Madison’s original last name was Parker. Apparently there is a porn star with the same name, so in one of the final edits I changed it to Pryce. I had to search through The Promise of Amazing to make sure I hadn’t mentioned her last name because she was always Parker to me. It’s weird how one small change can matter to a writer, but now I think of her as Madison Pryce.
5. Sacred Heart is based on my old high school, Holy Family Academy.
6. I actually took the trip Madison and Jesse take to Fallingwater in the book. It’s a FIVE HOUR DRIVE from where they are supposed to live. I rounded up my son and his friends to go on the trek with me and observed their reactions on the house tour, which helped make the scene come to life. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside of Fallingwater so I had to take extensive notes. It’s a really cool place, off the beaten path but worth a trip if you are interested in architecture.
7. Although they certainly could have made the trip in a day even thought it's quite a ride, I thought it would be better for Madison and Jesse to stay over night – away from other distractions so they could really get to know each other. I was originally going to have them stay at a motel, instead of Jesse’s aunt’s house, but there were a lot of issues that came up with that- Would they lie in order to stay overnight? Would they stay in the same room? Could they even get a room at their age? How far did I want them to go if they did stay in a motel? The “aunt in PA” was my solution.
8. I had the cover very early in the writing process so I incorporated the bracelets the boy is wearing into the story. Jesse's infinity bracelet came to represent him holding onto the past.
9. Clair de Lune by Debussy is one of my favorite classical pieces. I wanted Madison to see another side of Jesse as he played something classical on his guitar. It’s such an intimate experience to see someone get caught up in playing music – I really love that scene!
10. The Mexican hot chocolate that Jesse makes Mads was inspired by the Oaxaca sipping chocolate drink at The Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC. I’ve also found a great at-home version from Lake Champlain chocolates – Spicy Aztec hot chocolate. Or you know, I guess you could sprinkle cayenne and cinnamon into your Swiss Miss ;) or try this recipe from Food Network.