How I Came to Write SECOND VERSE by author Jennifer Walkup


Novel ideas often appear out of nowhere, as if by magic. Yet others are inspired by chance things that cross my path and set my mind reeling.

For Second Verse, it was the December 2010 issue of Rolling Stone – it was the thirtieth anniversary of John Lennon’s death, and the magazine featured a never-before-published interview that had been recorded just days before his murder. The interview, along with the sidebar article by Yoko Ono, struck me on a variety of emotional planes, but it also planted a kernel of an idea. Although it had nothing really to do with the article itself, a what if scenario – about love, death, the blueprint of person, and the ways these things might fit together – began to burrow into me, and it quickly grew into a plot. Within days there were characters and a setting and a mystery brewing. Weeks later the plot was completely different, some characters had changed, others were introduced, and still others had been removed. Nothing stayed the same in that first draft – the genre shifted, the mystery bobbed and weaved as it unraveled, and little paranormal elements bubbled to the surface. After a few more months, I had a very rough draft that would change countless times and in extreme ways over the course of the following year. But at its heart, the same early ideas and ideals, the basic what if questions, had been woven into Lange’s and Vaughn’s story and were very much still present.

It should be said that Second Verse has absolutely nothing to do with John Lennon, Yoko Ono, or the murder of a famous rock star. But, there was something in that article, some quote or line or small detail, that opened a certain emotional well and thought stream that led me down the road of telling the story that would eventually be Second Verse.


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