About 13 years ago, or so, I wrote a humor piece called State Dates. It was about dating service that romantically matched states -- Missouri and North Dakota, Florida and Colorado, and so forth.
I've always loved matchmaker stories (despite how unsuccessfully those stories play out when I try my own hand at it). And I've always enjoyed odd love stories, too.
With this in mind, I wanted to expand my humor piece and write a book about landmarks in love -- the Gateway Arch and the Trevi Fountain, say -- but these landmarks sadly couldn't be together because of where they were permanently installed. I also added a task force of matchmaking humans to help the landmarks get together.
Entire continents falling in love also piqued my interest.
But I kept coming back to the humans. I found, with obvious reason, that I felt closer to them than to inanimate buildings, and I wanted to know their stories.
Over the years, this sort of grand-scale idea became braided, in my mind, with the other book I wanted to write. That one was about a girl living in a hotel, an idea that matched my own life more closely than landmarks being in love.
But I still look at State Dates and my other humor pieces as Wilfair seeds. I like magic realism and I like inanimate things made animate and I like unusual love stories and I like the whole world as a setting, all things that play into the current books.
Hotels can hold much of the world, or representatives of various places, in a single night. And while Fair and Gomery have a pretty traditional love story, in a lot of ways, the books, to me, are also a love story between Fair and the rest of her life. There's the less usual love story I wanted to write.
And inanimate things made animate? The books have a touch of that, yes, but, again, I think of inanimate things being made animate as human lives that had been previously quiet being goosed into something more lively.
The upshot? I'm not sure we ever truly move past those themes we're most interested in, but they do change and evolve over our lives. My themes include friendship, love, the world, parents and children, art, science, travel, hotels, and those puzzle pieces of our life -- memory, association, choices, decisions, mistakes, risk, helping others, and goals -- that all jostle around inside our heads and hearts.
I'm quite sure that, even at age 90, I'll be revisiting these ideas, somehow. Interpretative modern dance pieces? Yes. I hope that's what I'll be doing.
What are your themes?
cr: Horia Varlan