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  • Cherié Summers

Anatomy of a Novel - Eternally Wild

People often ask me how I get ideas for stories. Authors are inspired by many things as we write and that was definitely the case for my new novel, Eternally Wild. The novel was inspired by a dream I had about meeting the ghost of Michael Hutchence, and his influence is definitely felt throughout the book. But a lot of other "stories'' and ''experiences'' went into making this great story about the love between a ghost, a woman with a tragic past, and the ghost's best friend who's dealing with his own demons. Here's a few examples.

Vanilla oil - This is a running story line. That idea came from an oil I used to wear from The Body Shop. I'd be in a room and people would say, "someone's baking cookies." It was me. I once met Fabio and he commented on how wonderful I smelled. It's in the first sentence of the book. I can almost imagine Michael Hutchence wearing something as sensual as vanilla oil.

Caesar's scar - this bit of story comes from Jason Momoa who was also scarred across the eyebrow by a beer bottle.

Atlanta - it's become one of my favorite places to visit. The botanical gardens, the zoo, a music festival...these are all places I've gone to in ATL. And I did once have an UBER driver who worked at a hospital, and he had an accent.

Vintage dress styles - Melanie discovers this style and falls in love. Thank my daughter, Kayla, for this one!

Johnnie's addiction - I'm no expert on addiction. And when I began writing Johnnie's character, I almost abandoned a lot of his story line because he drove me crazy with the pulling Melanie in, then pushing her away. His behavior at times is very childish and hurtful. Then it occurred to me that I once dated an alcoholic and he acted exactly the same way. Once I remembered some of those experiences, I realized I was creating a very realistic addict who is wrestling demons and trying hard to not love anyone, but also in desperate need to be shown the love his dad never showed him.

Johnnie's rock - There's a beach about an hour from where I live that has rocks on the beach. It's rare in these parts so to see them is very cool, and I love doing photos shoots there.

Dolphins - Seeing dolphins is always an exhilarating experience for anyone, even those of us who grew up near beaches.

Melanie's writing - It's what I always wanted to do from a young age as well. That part of her story is definitely drawn from my own goals and dreams.

The ginger kitten - Melanie was always going to get a kitten. I decided on orange because of a feral kitten that was born while I was writing this book.

The INXS Easter Eggs - I hid quite a few of them. Even the way Caesar died is straight from a song lyric. I think you'd have to be a HUGE fan of INXS to even catch them. Of course my muse for Caesar is Michael. My muse for Johnnie, is Jon Farris. BUT I swear, I had no idea Jon dated a woman named Melanie AFTER Michael died. Nor did I know he turned to drugs and alcohol to cope. After writing Eternally Wild, I read the INXS autobiography "Story to Story" and learned of these things. It was surprising to say the least and further proof to me that Michael's spirit was with me during the writing of this book. He led the way, I just wrote. And in the end, I believe we created a beautiful story together.

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