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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday Spotlight: Jax Cassidy

Inspired by reality

Readers and interviewers often ask me where I get my ideas from and what inspires me. I can say I leave myself open to everything. Sometimes an idea pops into my head during a conversation, while I’m brainstorming with friends, or when I come across a news article or radio piece. It amazes me that I can literally think of an entire storyline in a matter of seconds based on one simple concept. Most of my stories are inspired by true life whether it’s a personal experience or plucked from a news story.

For instance, ART OF SENSUALITY was born when I watched a 2007 documentary called “My Kid Could Paint That” about a child artist prodigy who had been embroiled in a scandal. Art experts and media were vicious in their efforts to uncover whether the girl actually created her paintings or if her parents had a hand in art direction or tweaking of her artwork. Unfortunately, this ordeal was something the girl was never able to recover from and the truth is still unresolved.

Imagine being that child whose paintings were sold for over a million dollars and then in a matter of seconds was reduced to snide remarks and fodder for journalists. The story was so engaging I thought it would be a great premise to incorporate into my storyline about an artist. I guess I related to the girl because I never had formal art training, other than the occasional high school drawing courses. So, it was easy for me to imagine what it would be like if I were an art prodigy. I decided that it would be interesting to crawl into her head. I started to come up with questions to fill the holes in my story. I wondered: What if the artist felt exploited and confused and wanted to generate a little white lie to solve her problems without understanding there would be severe consequences? How would she overcome the bad press after realizing there would be no simple fixes? What if she had a nervous breakdown and how would she recover? How would she react to meeting a hero who understood her and accepted all her idiosyncrasies? The questions continued and during the process of writing the story I was able to tell a tale that was happy with and hoped my writers would be too. Of course, it’s one of those stories that either readers loved or hated if they couldn’t open their mind to the possibility.

Many of my past and future projects are inspired by the news and I think that it makes for a more deeper, compelling story. I find that when you can turn reality into fiction and execute it well, it’s a true test that you can tackle any challenging storyline.

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