Swoon Author Shani Petroff: Based on Another True Story
I love taking something that happened to me, twisting it around, adding new elements, taking out a bunch of others, and turning it into a brand new story. It’s how a few of my books came into existence.
Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over also had an inciting incident.
I was headed back to NYC from Florida. There were major issues with the airlines. I had delays, cancellations, a ridiculous reroute to Michigan. There were super long lines at every counter, there were rude people cutting those lines and going straight to the front, there were numerous calls to and from my airline, family and friends—and a moment that made my whole body go numb.
I saw him.
My most recent ex.
The ex who in the six or so weeks since things ended for us was already in a new relationship. An ex who had spent the previous day working on his wedding invitation. (I learned that one through a Facebook post that popped up in my feed. It’s how I learned he was engaged, too—yet, despite these painful (for me) posts, I couldn’t bring myself to unfriend or block him—so they kept coming.)
Then I saw him in the airport.
I ducked (because sometimes I’m very mature).
Only, it turned out it wasn’t him.
I was relieved, but it got me thinking—it would have been such a better story to tell if it had been him! The idea made me laugh. I pulled out my phone and started jotting down story notes.
I had A LOT of time to waste in the airport, so my idea got pretty fleshed out. I changed the relationship, the characters, etc., and my book was born.
I knew it was what I was going to write next!
To be clear—Sari is definitely NOT me, and Zev is definitely NOT my ex—the story is fiction, but it was that real life situation of getting stuck at the airport that sparked the idea.
You never know when or where inspiration will hit! And sometimes a bad situation (flight delays, a breakup, etc.) can turn into something great. I’m over the guy (in fact, by the time the edits for this book came around, I had met an incredible new one), and the airport delays are just a memory. None of that seemed possible that day at the airport.
But the experiences not only helped me learn more about myself and what I want, but they led to my next book(s)! For that, I will always be thankful!