The Larks are happy to welcome Sarah Wylie to the nest today. We are honored to be part of the official All These Lives blog tour. She's got some goodies for our readers - a guest post & a giveaway! You can also check out my review of All These Lives in the post directly beneath this one.
"9 Things to Love About All These Lives"
Thing #2: Nine Lives Mythos
By: Sarah Wylie
How it began
It started with Jena. Dani followed, and the cats were next.
It started with a sick teenage girl, who might have been the protagonist or the sister or the friend; she almost wasn’t even a girl. But then she had to be, because it turned out Jena was a sister.
I hate to be dramatic, but from the minute I “heard” her voice, I knew the story was about Dani, and all the things she’d do to make her sister better.
So, about cats…
The idea of cats having nine lives has been around for a long time. By most accounts, this myth goes way back to early Egyptian times. Like most people, I’d heard of the nine lives/cat myth. But as someone who’s been known to spend hours nurturing an ongoing (and inexplicable) fascination with hammer pants, it’s kind of surprising that I’d never spent any time pondering one of life’s deeper questions: “So, DO, cats have nine lives?” Spoiler Alert: According to Experts, they do not. What they DO have, however, is an impressive knack for automatically twisting their bodies during a fall to lessen the impact on landing. This often means they land on their feet, but it does not mean they escape uninjured.
After some research into the origin of the myth, I was intrigued by the concept of cats with nine lives. But more than that, I was intrigued by the concept of a girl who believed that she had nine lives. I was compelled but overwhelmed by the idea of this girl struggling to accept the mortality, the finiteness of her sister’s life, while wrestling with the perpetuity of her own. It sounded like a stretch at first. A girl with nine lives? How would I tell that story? Who would believe that story?
It seemed too farfetched. But in the days between getting the idea and writing the first line, I remembered something. At sixteen, I’d been convinced of my immortality. Some days, I still am. Yet, I don’t know how to make sure all the people I love wake up tomorrow, I don’t know how to protect them from illness or sadness or the piercing wail of those sirens that I swerve into the shoulder lane too often to let through. And I knew right away, I knew how to tell that story.
Dani discovers a theory stating that cats with multiple lives may share some of their extra lives with others, and this propels her belief that she can help Jena. I’ve never come across this particular theory, but one of the very best things about writing fiction is that if you want something to be true, you can make it so.
A Fun Fact (and a song)…
The title of the book and, in fact, the idea that Dani would have nine lives to begin with came from the title of a song. I’d spent an entire afternoon brainstorming how it was exactly that Dani would try to help her sister and was getting nowhere. So I decided to
procrastinate make a playlist. While rifling through the songs on my iPod, I came
across “All These Lives” by Daughtry, which has nothing to do with having multiple
lives. But it was the closest I’ve come to having a lightbulb moment – suddenly, Dani had
multiple lives. I was looking up cats. And the rest is, as they say, history. All this to say: I
knew all that procrastinating would work out for me one day. Also, I always did like that