By Michael Griffo
It all started with a name.A few years ago I was watching a DVD of an old TV show, one of those supernatural anthology series from the ‘70s, and in one episode there was a character named Dominy. I frantically searched for the remote, hit the pause button, and then ran around my apartment looking for a pen and a piece of paper to memorialize the moment. Looking at the name printed on a post-it® in black magic marker, I knew this was the beginning of something. What that something was I had no idea. I filed the post-it® away in my file of new ideas (yes, I have such a file!) and waited for inspiration to hit. I waited a few weeks and then waited some more. Obviously, Dominy wanted to be left alone for a while.After I submitted the manuscript for UNAFRAID, the final book in The Archangel Academy Series, I knew I wanted to write another young adult supernatural trilogy. I love the genre and the freedom that comes with writing for an audience that embraces risk and experimentation and fantasy. For a writer, such creative freedom is a Godsend, but I was stuck. I wasn’t suffering from complete writer’s block; I just didn’t feel any of the ideas I was coming up with were worth pursuing until I remembered that post-it®.Once again the name Dominy resonated with me. It was equal parts mysterious, unique, and whimsical, and this time she had a last name – Robineau – the perfect counterpart. Whatever the reason, I could now see beyond the post-it® to see what Dominy looked like: voluminous red hair, pale skin, and blue-gray eyes. She was beautiful, feisty, and cursed…which was unlucky for Dominy, but very lucky for me because now The Darkborn Legacy had finally come to life.Immediately the series began to take shape. The plot came first, all the wild, supernatural stuff, the curse that befalls Dominy and its origin, and the devastating aftermath. Then came Dominy’s personality, her love of clothes and make-up, her penchant to make up new words, and her downright hatred for all things mathematical. By the time I started to know who her friends were, I knew exactly what I wanted to explore with these books: the theme of friendship.At first it was such a simple concept I almost let it slide by, but thankfully I held onto it and when I examined it with a closer lens realized how exciting a concept it was. In The Archangel Academy Series, I wrote a somewhat revolutionary, same-sex love story between Michael and Ronan, two teenage boys at an English boarding school. It was a big, sweeping, love at first sight with all the hyper-sensational feelings that come along with it. Initially I thought examining the friendship between two girls through a supernatural filter might be boring.Boy was I wrong.Dominy and Jess are best friends at the starting gate on the journey of their lives, a journey they are both confident they’ll take together. But without warning, tragedy strikes and Jess’ journey is cut short. Left behind, Dominy is heartbroken and wonders what could have become of their friendship. What does become of it is truly amazing and it surprised me as much as I hope it will surprise readers.Against all odds and despite obvious reasons that should permanently end their friendship, Dominy and Jess’ bond not only grows, but gets stronger. They quickly understand and acknowledge it is the most important relationship of their lives. Dominy has a strong connection to her father and brother, a healthy relationship with her boyfriend, Caleb, and is very close to her other friends, Archie and Arla, but no one can replace her best friend Jess, not in her heart. Because Jess feels the same way about Dominy, they defy seemingly insurmountable odds to remain in each other’s lives.That’s the crux of the story, something that simple, and that’s why I think MOONGLOW turned out to be so rewarding for me to write. Of course there are supernatural elements, breathtaking surprises, and incredible plot twists – it is a YA trilogy after all – but the root of the story is grounded in reality. It’s personal, timeless and honest. It’s about the importance of friendship, and there’s no better legacy than that.
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