As the diehard Selectioners know, this Wednesday, February 26, is America’s birthday. Woot woot! To celebrate both her birthday and the final book in the trilogy coming out soon, I thought it might be fun to spend this week looking back. I want to take you to the start, to 2008, when I really started working on America’s story. I’d write bits and pieces, but when I needed to pause (or was forced to by a heroine who took her sweet time letting me get to know her), I’d work on the world surrounding her.
Up in my office, I have a book. My inspiration book. And before Pinterest was a thing, this was how I held onto all the little scraps and images that helped me visualize Illéa and the people and places in it. Some of this, you’ve already seen. You have the complete list of the Selected girls, and you’ve seen my HIDEOUS drawing of what I dreamed the original cover should look like. But there are other things in there, and this week (which I’m calling Inspiration Week) I’ll be showing you a little of it.
Now, there are lots of details I’m holding back because of have to, and plenty of the book is just girls in pretty dresses. So as far as actual things worth sharing… it’s limited. And there might not actually be much to say. But still, this is part of where it all came from. So let’s go back to day one, page one. Let’s go to America’s house.
The first part of The Selection takes place in America’s home, and while I had the vibe of where she lived in my head almost instantly, the thing that I actually had to work on for the sake of writing out a scene was the floor plan. This is America’s house:
In the front left is Shalom and Magda’s room, the "big" one. Beside it is May’s room, which she used to share with America before Kenna moved out. In the back left is Kenna’s old room (now America’s), which you can see has a pretty clear view of the tree house. Next to her room is Gerad’s room, which he shared with Kota before he left.
Note there is one bathroom for the five kids. That sucked. The sketched out TV is big, and I kind of imagined it looked that way in real life. Think pre-flat screen, that’s what the Singers have. I also pictured the carpeting and general style to be sort of 70s-ish. But like, 70s if you grew up in the 80s. Carpet that used to be shaggy now worn down and basically hard in the places everyone travels, colors that are orangey and amber, warm wood tones. Not necessarily that whole style in the kids’ rooms, but in the living area for sure.
There’s a driveway up to the garage, which is never opened because they don’t have a car, and that space is where America’s dad and May (and formerly Kota) do their work. It’s cold in the winter and hot in the summer. They really suffer for their art. It’s got an industrial feel in there, with shelves of supplies they buy in bulk because who knows when they’ll need what, and it’s cheaper that way. Occasionally, they hire a Six (cough cough) to make sure that everything is stocked up correctly and to get an idea of what they’ve burned through. Not all artists are good businessmen.
I think about America’s front door a lot, especially lately. Since they’re artists, I keep wanting to put a color on it, but I’m pretty sure it’s black. Their front yard is small but clean, and they live on the edge of town where the houses end, just before it turns into a mass of apartment buildings. In the other direction, they have to walk a ways before the homes give way to an open space of shops and restaurants, plus the Province Services Office.
The Singer family mostly keeps to their home. It’s old and outdated, but it’s cozy. And despite the occasional wave of tension, there’s a lot of love there.
That’s it for today. Hope you enjoyed day one of Inspiration Week. More tomorrow!