by Timothy Pike
Sometimes inspiration can strike in the most unexpected places, and in the most roundabout ways.When I interview authors, I always like to find out where they get their ideas.
For Jennifer Anne Gordon, award-winning author of Pretty/Ugly, it happened at one of her local shops, where the woman working there was afflicted with a severe skin condition. “It caused a lot of swelling,” Jennifer says, “and it was obvious her skin was cracked open and it looked very painful.”
As a teen, Jennifer had dealt with this condition herself, and knew it wasn’t contagious. But that’s when her imagination kicked in. “I started wondering about what if something like that would be contagious,” she tells me. “How would that affect the world, our world where people rely so much on their outward appearances for everything?”
Inspiration had struck. “So that was when the original idea popped into my head,” she says. “My characters Omelia, the damaged and heartbroken Instagram influencer who spends her life hoping for clicks and likes. And Sam, my failed politician who may or may not be haunted by the ghost of his twin sister.”
And then—in a pre-pandemic world, mind you—she imagined a scenario that would have seemed far fetched at the time. “I wondered what would happen to people like that if the world was ending due to a ‘flesh eating’ type of virus,” she says. “A virus that even if you live, you are left physically scarred.”
This inspiration led to her latest novel, Pretty/Ugly—and it’s yours to discover!