#1: A tale of many titles
People love to know how titles come about and The Dead and Buried has had many of them. I started writing the book under the name Shimmer (at the end of Chapter 1, Colby originally said “shimmers” instead of “glimmers”). Then another book sold with that title, so I changed it to Glimmer. The book sold as Glimmer in 2010. Yay! Then another book sold with the same title. I’d been thinking we should have a longer one anyway because another one word title might make people mistake it for Clarity #3. We bandied about some ideas and went with The Murder House, which I loved. Then after a few months it had to change again and we tossed a lot of ideas around. I believe the person who suggested The Dead and Buried was my editor and I immediately liked it. More trivia: In the UK, it will be called The Killing of Kayla Sloane.
#2: How World Cup soccer changed a main character’s name
Donovan’s name was originally Wes. I wrote the first several chapters of the book during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. That month, I would often be typing away while my husband and son watched soccer games (LOUDLY) in the background. The announcer kept saying Landon Donovan, Landon Donovan, Landon Donovan, over and over, and one time I made a typo and wrote Donovan instead of Wes. Then I realized I kind of liked it. So I changed it throughout and Wes’s first name became Donovan.
#3: A confession
Just like the teens in The Dead and Buried, I played with a Ouija board. Fortunately, it didn’t turn out like that scene in the book, but here’s my confession. My best friend and I took her board to my neighbor’s house and made him play in an attic bedroom. He was a year younger than us and my friend and I had already agreed beforehand that we’d take turns pushing the planchette. Long story short, by the end of the afternoon, we had him convinced that his house was haunted and he was in grave danger. But we did confess the truth…eventually. ;)
#4: An ironic difference
My main character, Jade, is obsessed with gemstones. Her mother was a jewelry designer and Jade has a box full of various gems and knows all their supposed meanings. She wears a piece each day--earrings or a pendant, etc. You’d think I gave my main character this hobby because it’s something I’m also interested in. Well…I own almost no real jewelry. I’m allergic to gold and nickel. I don’t even have my ears pierced. All I wear is a cheap (but sentimental) Mickey Mouse watch and my engagement and wedding rings, which I have to have coated with rhodium every six months for my allergies. I can wear cheap beaded bracelets and necklaces, but not expensive jewelry. My husband is not upset about this. But, even though I can't wear much jewelry, I had fun doing the research for the book!