Top 10 Inspirations
by Lydia Albano
Okay, let me see. Ten things might be really hard!
1. I know next to nothing about the Steampunk genre, but I’ve read a lot of Victorian literature and some combination of the two definitely inspired the setting for Finding You. Lots of cobblestones and hook-and-eye boots and lace and steam engines. In my head it felt like something out of a Charles Dickens novel colliding with a video game my brother used to play.
2. It feels really weird to say, but Isla herself was I guess inspired a lot by myself, at least by certain ways I act or think. In my head she looks like Astrid Bergès-Frisbey (I do not) but her outlook on life, the strength she’s only slowly coming to grasp- those are a lot like me. It was really cool to grow with her as I wrote.
3. There were a number of movies that either directly or indirectly influenced the pace or the subject matter of Finding You; one of those was definitely Sucker Punch. I love the questions the movie leaves you with, but also the awesome story that it is of girls in a horrible situation rising up to fight for themselves. It wasn’t until after I finished the first draft and rewatched it that I realized it had probably inspired me a lot.
4. There’s this quote I saw on pinterest that says, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice” (I later found it it’s attributed to Bob Marley) and I think that sums up Isla’s story really well.
5. Actually, Pinterest in general has just been a game-changer for my writing. I have a handful of Finding You-related boards on there (they’re all public) and being able to visualize characters, settings, clothes, everything, has been the greatest asset to writing I could imagine.
6. Can David Anders just be his own entry here? I needed him in a book ever since I saw Alias and then Alistair Swain walked into my head looking just like him.
7. I’d actually tried to write this fantasy set in a place where your station in life was shown by various brands on your arm, and while the story never went anywhere, I think the idea of branding someone to mark them as your property or what have you really stuck with me and obviously ended up playing a part in Finding You.
8. Something that I find extremely inspiring and have been really moved by while writing this is the work that real men and women do to fight human trafficking. Before writing Finding You, I didn’t know a lot about the industry and the fight against it. I’d seen Taken and I knew of some organizations involved, but as the story took shape, I got opportunities to talk to friends who volunteer at safe-houses, to read personal testimonies of women who have escaped, and to come to a better understanding of all that goes into that kind of fight, and that was extremely inspiring.
9. Something that inspired me, I guess, in a backwards kind of way, is the number of stories I read growing up where even the most capable-seeming heroine ultimately needed someone else to rescue her, and that didn’t always sit well with me; I love a good rescue, don’t get me wrong, but I want girls like me to read books that tell them they’re strong and brave and can risk their lives for their friends as well as any knight in shining armor can. It was really important to me that as much as Tam is brave and protective, he’s not what Isla needs to save her. She’s what she needs, and what the other girls with her need.
10. Lastly, something that inspired me as I wrote (typically, because I don’t outline my books, they take me along for the ride and that’s why I’m struggling to think of ten things that inspired me, when really they just all happened) was the cast of characters. I really grew to love Isla, and to root for her. I got my own crush on Tam, and on Des for different reasons; I could fill books with Marion and Phoebe and Valentina’s stories, and the other girls in the cell, the ones who don’t talk as much or whose lives you don’t hear about as much. I loved that in my head they all felt equally real, no matter how much “screen time” they had. And that kind of inspired me, in the sense that I had this whole cast of characters with lives of their own, and I was getting to discover pieces of them as I wrote. In the end, I think I was writing the story more for all of their sakes than for my own.
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: September 19th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Taken from home and family, all they have is each other.
Isla is kidnapped from a train platform in broad daylight, and thrust into a nightmare when she is sold to a sadistic aristocrat. Locked in a dungeon with a dozen other girls, Isla’s only comfort is a locket and the memory of the boy she loves. But as days pass and more girls disappear, she realizes that help is not coming… If they’re going to survive, they’ll have to escape on their own.
Swoon Reads is proud to present Lydia Albano’s debut novel, a powerful story of a teen girl finding strength and hope in even the worst circumstances.
Lydia Albano is a (self-proclaimed) Bunburyist living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she promotes Oxford commas, spends her money on musical theater, and demands the Myers-Briggs letters of everyone she meets. Her debut novel, Finding You, will be released in September, 2017, with SwoonReads/Macmillan.
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