Early last year, I began work on a new young adult novel, a contemporary mystery/thriller, The Secrets We Keep. (The original working title of the project was Out of Body Experience.) As is always the case with a shiny, new project, a flood of ideas poured into my head and my fingers could barely type fast enough. Early on, I knew I wanted Lyndsay, the main character of this book, to be a kickass heroine who has to travel the treacherous path from fear to bravery. She would have to be brave enough not only to face a dangerous adversary in this thriller, but also brave enough to stop avoiding conflict and stand up for herself, brave enough to say what she wants to say and be heard, and brave enough to believe in herself and follow her dreams.
Around the same time I started writing the book, a new song came on the radio and on my radar – “Brave” by Sara Bareilles. I fell in love with it immediately – it was as if Sara Bareilles had written the perfect theme song for my main character. In many ways, the song and its message helped me to shape Lyndsay and her story.
You can listen to the song and see the lyrics here:
The song embodies exactly what my character is facing – she’s an outcast, the backlash of somebody’s lack of love and she has to learn how to be brave, in more ways than one. “Brave” quickly became the theme song for my book and actually for me as a writer, as well. I would start each writing session by listening to the song and letting it inspire me. I can honestly say the song helped me write this book and carried me forward to finishing it.
Now, I have to admit, at first I didn’t know much about Sara Bareilles, the artist. Sure, I knew she had some hits on the radio, but I didn’t know much more than that. But since the song was proving to be such an inspiration for me, one day out of curiosity I decided to Google her. What I found was nothing short of amazing. Turns out, I’m not the only one inspired by this fine artist and her incredible song. Watch this video posted by the patients and staff members of the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital:
I also had no idea there was an “I Am Brave Enough Campaign” which you can read about here: http://sarabfans.com/brave/
I have to say now that not only have I fallen in love with the song, but I am now a huge fan of Sara, too. She’s a talented artist and a class act, as she shows in this video from Dec 15th when she brought a young cancer patient, Joshua Chambers, on stage to sing with her at the House of Blues in Orlando:
A few weeks ago and just a day before her birthday (December 7th), Sara Bareilles received the amazing news that she had been nominated for two Grammy Awards – Album of the Year for The Blessed Unrest and Best Pop Solo Performance. Incredibly well deserved and I hope she wins both!
So, show me how BIG your brave is – what have you been brave enough to overcome this past year? Or, fill in the blank, “I am brave enough to ____________” and share something you will be brave about this upcoming year. (You can even tweet it under the hashtag #IAmBraveEnough)
Or, just leave a comment to say hi 🙂