Where the ideas come from...

May 29, 2018 by Tiffany Brooks

Guest Post from Tiffany Brooks, Author of Reality Gold
Where the idea came from
And how the theme plays into the idea and story

People always ask me if the characters in my book are real, or if any of the events happened to me, and the answer is no—but I always add even though I’m not “in” the book, my fingerprints are all over it. I live in San Francisco, and Riley, the main character, lives there, too. Riley’s got a big internal life filled with worries about how she comes across to people and that’s me, too—more so when I was younger, but I can still relate to that feeling. Another aspect from my own life that made its way into the book in a big way is that I’m constantly wondering about how things can be interpreted depending on a person’s viewpoint. What makes something true? Is anything ever really true, or will every situation always be colored by a participant’s personal lens? There was a time I was obsessed with the book Rashomon, a story told through in separate parts through the point of view of each participant, so this kind of thing was something I often thought about. Over the past few years, though, with the term “fake news” becoming an important issue, I thought about this concept even more—what is news, and what is perception? Who gets to decide? I had all those things on my mind when I started writing Reality Gold, and I wanted to see if Riley would start looking at her situation differently if she was exposed to a different experience that made her think about herself differently. I think we all think of ourselves in a certain way, and I wanted to see what it would be like for this girl to wonder if she’d been looking at herself all wrong, and realize that she was making her own situation worse by holding views of herself that might not be accurate. In the beginning of the book, she feels wronged and shamed and feels like the entire world is against her, but I wanted her to open her eyes a bit and think about what if none of those things were actually “true,” but she had focused on them so much that they’d become her truth. For the first few drafts I tried desperately to bring in a Rashomon effect and the story unfolded through different viewpoints of some of the main characters, but it kept falling apart and eventually I realized this was Riley’s story to tell.