For better or worse, I am a very prolific writer, which is how I came to write over 70 books in my long, semi-illustrious (well, nearly semi) career. And the way you get to be prolific is by being able to come up with ideas easily.
I used to take great pride in my ability to come up with ideas. I felt (although I don't remember ever putting this theory to the test) that if someone challenged me to come up with an idea, I could on the spot.
One afternoon, I decided to challenge myself. I have a vague memory of cleaning my front porch (which I did maybe once a year), and saying, "Okay, Pfeffer, come up with an idea. I challenge you." Or something like that.
But I couldn't come up with an idea. No matter how I dusted and swept, no idea came to mind. I was almost concerned about the lack of ideas. Self-confidence was rapidly waning.
The next morning I woke up, still idealess. But sometime during the course of the day, I came up not with one idea, but five.
I love family saga novels, which makes sense because I love families. And I thought, why not write a family saga novel for teenagers?
The immediate problem was that family saga novels tend to be very long, and this was in the pre-Harry Potter days, when a YA novel was supposed to be 200 pages or less. Now that I think about it, writing such short books no doubt helped my prolificness along.
So I decided to divide my family saga novel into five books, four about sisters, when each one was sixteen, and the final one about their mother, when she was sixteen.
I had an enormous amount of fun creating the family. The girls were the Sebastian sisters, Evvie, Thea, Claire and Sybil, each very different from the other. Their parents, Nicky and Megs adored each other. Nicky was the kind of guy who made and lost fortunes. Megs came from old money, but sadly, no longer had any.
I loved the idea. My editor loved the idea. I loved the books. My editor loved the books. I remember her calling me after seeing the Woody Allen movie, Hannah And Her Sisters, to say the Sebastian sisters were better sisters than Hannah and hers.
Even the reviewers loved the books. My favorite review maybe of all time was the School Library Journal review of Sybil At Sixteen:
The Sebastians continue to be some of the most complicated, intriguing people in contemporary YA literature; their saga demands that readers confront the true essence of family.
Evvie At Sixteen is now available at Kindle and at Nook. It's the second of my books that I've put up there.
My hope is enough people will be interested in Evvie that I can put her sisters and mother there as well!