I posted earlier this week about the thought process behind the time period we used for Code 45 in terms of how it impacted the narrative. It’s also tempting to view the decision to set the book in the year 2000 as a paean to nostalgia. After all, it’s the year I turned 20, and now that I’m facing down double that number of candles on the cake it would seem easy to put on the rose-colored glasses and return to what has traditionally been depicted in media as a ‘simpler’ time in one’s life.
Except for me, it wasn’t. I’m honestly not sure it ever was for anyone else, either. My late teens / early 20s were tumultuous at best, especially as I found myself dealing with a new city, exploring my first real adult relationships, and struggling to keep my head above water financially as I (briefly) balanced full-time work and school. I had very little life experience, and I was about to get dunked on, hard, by the world.
I didn’t know that at the time, of course. I was headstrong, so sure of what I knew that I didn’t stop to consider that what I didn’t know was of much greater value. I was full of energy, willing to take risks without necessarily understanding the consequences, and rapidly accumulating experiences that were outside the reach of my small town upbringing.
It’s probably fair to say that there’s more of myself at that time of my life in the supporting cast than there is in Vanessa, the hero of Code 45, because this story really isn’t about me. It’s taken me this many years to be able to get out of my own perspective, and I was able to channel my own experiences into the characters surrounding her while preserving her unique perspective as the bridge between the reader and the story as both try to figure out what’s real, and what’s not, in the world that surrounds them.