As some of you may know, my second novel is called “What Dante Didn’t Tell You.” It’s about a girl whose life essentially does a steep downward spiral after her brother is killed. As you might infer from the title, there’s a strong theme of “hell” throughout the book, and the many things that happen to and around her as she tries to get her life back on track.
Circle #9: Betrayal. Amber’s brother Matt gets himself killed, leaving her alone with their socialite parents. With nobody to look out for her.
Circle #8: Frauds. At school, she’s pretending like she didn’t try to kill herself, and that she hasn’t been talking to her dead brother for months. As luck would have it, she meets L.J, who has secrets of his own, and is also pretending to be someone he’s not.
Circle #7: Suicides. When Matt suggests that Amber’s well enough to finish the journey on her own, she pulls out a razor-blade–a threat, and a promise.
Circle #6: Heretics. Searching for explanations, Amber wonders if Matt’s appearances are a sign from above, or proof of her own insanity.
Circle #5: The Battle on the River Styx. The art building goes up in a freak explosion, and Amber’s trapped inside. She won’t fight to keep herself alive, but someone else is willing to brave the flames to pull her out.
Circle #4: Waste. Recovering in the hospital, Amber gets a phone call from her mother–who clearly can’t be bothered enough to push aside her Very Important Event.
Circle #3: Gluttony. Melissa’s battle with bulimia can’t be ignored any longer, but is Amber really the person to stage an intervention?
Circle #2: Lust. After all Amber and Finn have been through together, are they destined for romance? Or do they know far too much about each other’s demons?
Circle #1: Questions of Faith. Amber spills all her secrets to Finn. Every last one.
My dilema now becomes– What about her binge-drinking? And the coke she does? What about all the other things that Dante never made room for in HIS version of hell? Do I dance with the line of blasphemy and include my own circles of hell? Or do I stick to Dante’s time-honored model?