Welcome back; this is a series where I will be talking about my new romantic YA- LGBTQ+ drama which is out now. I’ll be revealing first-class information about my upcoming novel, so, I encourage you to stick around as I’ll be giving out goodies along with teasers from the actual story. So, let's get the show on the road.
Inspiration is all around me, from absorbing other forms of fiction to music to the gradual observation of day-to-day life. ACOJ has a few scenes inspired by other creators, scenes I observed on the street, and by the most powerful conductor, the wanderlust of examination. Many of my thoughts start off with a brief inclination of awe. This is when I begin questioning why it seems like a good idea that my mind gets up and running. As in this great self-actualization, I piece together the basis of all my stories. Only by asking questions.
The first scene in A Case of Jitters revolves around a young boy attempting to reach out to his crush with a pink post-it note, asking if he will be his boyfriend. I was initially inspired by the idea from a video with two straight boys’ on TikTok gay-baiting the LGBTQ+ community. I gather, they didn’t mean harm, as they got an overwhelmingly positive response, and perhaps like the attention. However, a little montage they compiled showed the basis of a sickening puppy love situation. It was insanely cute. I just knew I had to use it. Of the entire video, this moment was about three seconds. After seeing it, I knew I had the basis of the formula problem I lacked from the original attempt to complete the story.
Many of the bullying taking place in my novel, drew inspiration from films such as the Swedish vampire classic Let The Right One In. One of my all-time favorites and a Danish movie called My Good Enemy. I had never seen a film quite like it before, and it has some of the sickest, and humiliating bullying I’ve ever seen in fiction. Though in all, I really enjoyed the tone they set, and I wanted to incorporate it into my work.
In ACOJ, I briefly touch on the concept of school shootings. Although one does not happen in the book, it would be a juvenile error not to include it in today’s American society as it is an inherent problem. I chose to add a heavy topic like this because I feel not many other authors are talking about the emotional aspects behind such a scope. In my eye, schools are meant to be a safe location for people to learn, and in today’s age, it’s not. It has grown so prevalent that you hear about a shooting or bombing on average once a month in America. So, it seems like the most logical conclusion to draw that it has become a natural part of life in teenagers’ day-to-day activities. Therefore, talking about it and doing active shooter drills was used as the foresight to a bigger problem, where children should be learning, but instead, they are conducting primitive tests to stay alive. The catalyst for including this idea came from a French movie called L'heure De La sortie, regarding five or six teenagers who are part of a left-wing politics movement. The film is certainly odd, and as they go about different extremes of hazing, self-harm, and deliberately attempting to be outcasts, the film ends with an abrupt message. "We Are Damaging Our Kids." Earlier in the story, there is a classroom scene where a new substitute is brought in to teach these five or six special kids; who are the most intelligent in their grade. When an unrehearsed active shooter drill floods the building, the new teacher is directed by the students as he has no knowledge of this encounter. It has become an almost everyday occurrence. Throughout the scene, they bug down like zombies stuck on a loop and wait as the teachers are left in confusion.
At a scene toward the end, where August and Andrew are coming to terms with the scale of the situation in current circumstances. The idea of the two friends communicating without words was granted by a beautiful artsy video game called Concrete Genie.
The big date scene displayed on the front cover was loosely attributed to a brief mention in the series called The Secret Life of Billy Chase. I can’t remember whereabouts accurately in the gigantic compendium of a million words whereabouts, but, Comicality briefly mentions a location I liked, and I decided to expand upon the idea. Hence why it is on par with the playground scene in Even If We Tried.
Q. Do the characters live within any moral constraints or boundaries? Does the book give any indications of the basis for this morality? Are the boundaries portrayed in a negative and destructive light, or are they seen as positive and healthy?
A. The characters do have certain boundaries and circumstances holding them back, it is why Jacob feels utterly betrayed when the person he thought he could trust turns on him. Eventually, the outcome reaches its maximum, and the line is drawn that a character who is not violent turns to anger to justify how he feels. Yet on the upside, Jacob is showered with love and admiration from new friends and his family, but its the power of one person who is enough to drag his world down. There are consequences for all parties and repercussions of all the behaviors they exhibit. Even hardened criminals have soft spots. For instance, someone who cares less about humans might be soft with animals. Humans are complicated.
Q. What was your favorite scene? A. I have two favorite scenes, one taking part later on in the book after the pivotal showdown, where Jacob is taken away by Andrew and a new friend he meets along the way to try and cheer him up. To me, it’s one of the most human scenes in the entire book, and it really has an excellent message to teenagers who are being bullied. That there is light at the end of the tunnel and that you can always make new friends. It’s like they are in their own little world and nothing is interfering with them just having fun. My absolute favorite scene, however, has to be the dating scene, where Andrew and Jacob take off Q. What was your favorite scene?
Q. How long has it taken you to write your current book?
A. Well, ACOJ has been an open project since mid-2018. I’ll disregard that as my actual starting point because I only wrote two chapters and shelved it. Therefore, when I set out to complete the book this time around, I started in the middle of February 2020 and completed it around the end of May. Marking it, officially the quickest project I have ever finished with Chasing Christmas coming in at three and a half months. Some novels take longer to write, others it’s like you automatically know what needs to happen. A Case of Jitters was one of those; the story wrote itself without having to beg for it to come.