Some book ideas come in a flash of inspiration, or in a middle-of-the-night dream, or a bolt from the blue. The initial idea for Save the Date came from Twitter.
It was an unrelated Twitter exchange, but it sparked an idea, just when I was least looking for one. I was, after all, meant to be working on final revisions for The Unexpected Everything. I wasn’t supposed to be thinking about new, shiny ideas that didn’t yet have anything wrong with them.
But I found I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea—of a family, of a comic strip, of growing up knowing America was reading a fictionalized version of your life over breakfast every morning. I started by just scribbling down notes, not even sure who I was writing about yet—but knowing I wanted to write about a big, bustling family, the kind I’d always wanted to be a part of, the kind I loved to watch movies and read books about.
I also wanted to try to shake things up a little with this book. My last three novels had all taken place over an entire summer, and I wanted to challenge myself to try something new. I wanted this book to take place over a single weekend, and I wanted it to feel fun and chaotic—like it would if a wedding were taking place in your house, with too many relatives and things going wrong.
And on a more personal note, I wanted to explore with Charlie, the heroine, something that I’d experienced when I was seventeen and about to graduate high school. I, unlike my friends, was not excited about going to college. I knew everything was going to change—my friends, my house, my life in Connecticut that I really liked—and I tried my best to put off the inevitable. I wanted to give some of these traits to Charlie, since it was what I’d gone through, and I hadn’t seen it reflected very much in fiction. I also wanted Charlie to learn what I eventually learned—that life moves only forward, and that holding on to the past keeps you from experiencing the future—or even seeing the present clearly.
And just for fun, I wanted to write a book that had kissing on the very first page. So many readers get frustrated with me because the only kissing in my books is at the end. I wasn’t sure how I was going to achieve this when I started to think about this book—but never fear, I figured it out. ☺