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Behind the Scenes (or why I wrote about a family dealing with spina bifida)

This time around, I wanted to introduce you guys to Lizzie.

Lizzie's the daughter of a friend of mine, and the inspiration behind one of the characters in Hotel Between. In fact, she inspired both my main character, Cameron, and his sister, Cass.

Lizzie's an amazing little girl. She talks and talks. Whenever I'm at my friend's house, she wants to show me EVERYTHING. She makes silly jokes, giggles constantly, and loves her guinea pig. And she loves people more than almost anyone I know. She's empathetic, engaging, and unstoppable. But Lizzie was also born with a serious condition that presents lots of complications, and will continue to pose difficulties for her the rest of her life. Even now she and her family are preparing for a serious surgery in the coming months that will lay her out flat for a long time.

In Hotel Between, the main character's twin sister has the same condition Lizzie does, and he's grown into this idea that he's responsible for "taking care" of her, regardless of what she says she wants or needs. It's a source of tension between them, but also a core of who our protagonist is and where he needs to grow. For better or worse, he believes he knows what's best for her and feels like it's his responsibility to take care of it all. I've watched Lizzie's family grow and change since since before she was born, and I'm always humbled by their love for each other. I wanted to write Cass into this book so she could see a character like her go to some amazing places. And while the first book in Hotel Between focuses so much on her brother, I'm excited to see where this story world takes a girl like her, and where a spitfire like her can take a story like this when she's got the whole world at her fingertips.

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