At first, I believed my quirky unicorn tale, The Bright One, came out of nowhere. I mean, who thinks to throw a unicorn in a park bathroom and build a whole story around that? However, upon further reflection, I’ve realized quite the opposite. This story is the culmination of many things I loved as a kid, starting when I was five years old.
I can’t recall a time when I wasn’t obsessed with horses. From my first My Little Pony to owning an actual pony at six years old, I loved every incarnation. Naturally, that love spread to magical horses, like the unicorn. Unicorns filled my childhood writings and drawings. I was obsessed with the animated version of Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn, watching the VHS version over and over again until I memorized all the songs and lines. There was a particular unicorn anthology in my elementary school library I must have checked out at least three or four times. Unicorns covered my bedroom walls, bedsheets, notebooks, sketchbooks, and class folders.
Over the years, I consumed what unicorn movies and books I could find until I hit the wise old age of 14 and grew obsessed with vampires.
Now, you may be wondering, “what do vampires have to do with unicorns?” When Buffy the Vampire Slayer came out as a television series in 1997, I was obsessed. Much like Buffy Summers, I was an awkward sixteen-year-old who had difficulty navigating the strange world of high school. While she battled actual demons in high school, I also fought my own demons, only from within. As a lifelong sufferer of depression, Buffy was a wonderful means of escape every Monday at 7 pm.
And this is how we arrive, many, many years later, at my novel, The Bright One.
I had finished my first novel—a story long ago tossed into the trash heap—and needed a new project. After writing that first novel, I worried I would never have a good idea again. One Sunday afternoon, as I prepared to head off to the gym, I wondered, “what would you do if you found a unicorn trapped in a bathroom?” I wrote down the idea, mulled it further as I pushed through another round of cardio, and returned home with the kernel of something new and exciting.
The story developed quickly. Why not combine my love of magical horses with angsty, quippy teenagers? I’m the type of writer who outlines a manuscript, gets to know my characters and has a sense of where we’re trying to go before writing anything. My awkward, shy MC quickly took shape, along with her lovable best friend, Mateo. The unicorn, Una, was the one character who changed the most. It began as a beautiful, benevolent being, then grew into an imperious, annoyed beast from another world looking for any way to get home.
Fold-in a little grunge music, a monster, and a Honda Civic, and you have The Bright One.
The Bright One is YA but will appeal to ages fourteen and up. The book will attract fans of Neil Gaiman, The Last Unicorn, or anyone who wants to escape from reality for a little while. I’m currently working on the sequel, but there is no projected publishing date. Thank you, Artist’s Lounge, for giving me this opportunity to share my unique unicorn tale.