I was fourteen when I wrote the first draft of this book. It was one of the most joyous experiences of my life, because there was so much creative freedom and discovery. The words simply flowed from my head, down my arm, through the pen, and onto the page. It was wonderful, exhilerating, and when I finished, I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
I had started books before this one, but none ever went anywhere. I lacked discipline and focus, which are key factors in writing books. Ever since I could form comprehensible thoughts, I had been coming up with stories in my head, usually just to entertain myself, but whenever I would attempt to put anything down on paper, it just never went anywhere.
By the time eighth grade hit, I was ready and determined to hash out a complete novel. And I wanted to do it from scratch, instead of using one of the many, many ideas I had previously developed. So, with the help of a friend, I came up with a start to a plot, deciding I would build on it later.
However, after I had penned the first one or two pages, I found that I couldn't remember what my basic idea had been. No matter how much I wracked my brain, I couldn't recall it.
Frustrated, but resolved not to abandon the project, I decided to go in an entirely different direction. I don't remember exactly where the idea for an island came from, but I do know that I had just fell deeply in love with hip-hop, and attitude was on my mind.
I was also thinking about how heroines turned victems to the overpowering affection of "jungle men" were so timid and fragile. They were both human, though their languages were different, so understanding each other was out of the question, but the intentions were still made well known through actions. Such as the man caressing the cheek of the woman and standing way too close.
Generally, the woman's response to such advancements are embarrassment and fear, but always underlined with a sense of generosity and curiosity. It bugged me. Where were the girls with attitude? Where were the sassy ladies whose main language was sarcasm? This concept intrigued me, and struck me as very funny. Lo and behold, Milo Hestler was born.