The Boy Who Steals Houses is 6 months old today!
They…they grow up so fast and I am not READY. 😫💛 Although I could swear this book has been out forever and no time at all? Being an author is basically throwing away the concept of time awareness, I swear.
To celebrate this little milestone of my second son, I wanted to spill some secrets! I did a post like this for A Thousand Perfect Notes (my debut which came out in 2018!). I’m going to talk more about WHY I chose to write certain aspects of The Boy Who Steals Houses! Because some things are utterly full of meaning…and other things happened because I was very, very lazy.
so here we go…
secret meaning and inspirations behind things in The Boy Who Steals Houses 👀
1. Almost everyone had a name change.
Because TBWSH stars a big family, I obviously had a lot of names going on and some just didn’t end up working. I changed a few. My editor wanted a few changed. Some of the characters I still refer to as their previous names because I haven’t got a working memory at all.
➢ Sam and Avery Lou were the ONLY main characters who stayed exactly the same!
➢ Moxie used to be Maxine/Max.
➢ Dash’s name stayed the same, but she used to be a younger brother.
➢ Jeremy was always Jeremy (but named after a Kookaburra children’s book my nephew used to read…yup), but Jack used to be Bram. (My editor changed Bram/Max actually.)
➢ Grady used to be Swaney, then Colin.
➢ Toby used to be Sparrow, then Mitty! I scrapped Mitty because it was too similar to Moxie.
➢ Vin used to be like…oh wow I don’t even remember?! It started with an E. 😂
And also The Baby? People keep asking me if the baby has a name and he does. I promise. Maybe I will reveal it one day. 😏
And unlike ATPN, where all the names had meanings, I just picked this lot because I liked them! Sam miiiiight be a nod to Supernatural. Shhh. And I picked De Lainey literally because I was staring at my bookshelf for inspiration and saw an author named DeLacey.
2. The glitter scene was inspired (again) by my niblings.
I wrote this rather soon after ATPN sold. I was about 21 and babysat my 3yo niece a lot, who was obsessed with glitter crafts. She still is. It’s terrible. So while Beck in ATPN speaks low and bitterly about glitter, I decided to go all out and just throw like 3kgs of glitter in Sam’s face.
Because the stuff never leaves!!! They are still picking glitter out of Sam’s hair in the last chapter!!! It is the best way to catch a thief!!!
3. The reason they eat so much brownie is because…I was.
I wrote the first draft during NaNoWriMo and my family were away. Basically it was just me, clattering around our empty house, supposedly “cooking for myself”…hahhahaha. I made a lot of brownie. I made Moxie’s brownie caramel to pretend I was being thoughtful instead of heckin’ lazy and just writing about whatever I was eating at the time.
4. SPEAKING of lazy…it’s set in summer because it was summer for me.
Literally all my books are like this!! Look at the book’s season = you know when I wrote it.
“Cait. where do u get your inspiration from??”
my wot now
5. Moxie’s sewing is actually a nod to a different fairy tale.
While TBWSH is a Goldilocks retelling (genderbent and contemporary), my original plan was to combine it with the Seven Wild Swans fairy tale. Basically that one is about a princess who has to sew shirts out of thistles to turn her enchanted swan brothers back to human. (There are a lot of variations. One has 12 brothers. I wasn’t going to do that lmaooo.)
I ended up abandoning that idea mostly, because I wanted Moxie to have at least one sister.😂And let’s be real: Moxie would not save her brothers if they turned into swans. She’d just let ’em go.
But that’s why she sews!
6. Originally there were no backstory scenes.
I didn’t want it to “be too tragic” like ATPN….ah haha hhah HHAHAHHHAH. Ahem. Anyway, my editor suggested (1) tone down some of the violence, and (2) add in backstory. So somehow I added in MORE VIOLENT BACKSTORY and idk I think they just went with it because they were exhausted from explaining that “backflash” was not a term. It is “flash back, Cait.”
(I made my editor cry though. I am proud.)
7. That scene where Sam gets very intense road rash?
From being [redacted]. Ya. Anyway. One time when I was 12, my friend (her, outdoor person) gave me a skateboard (me, an indoor person) and said “go down our super steep driveway it’s lots of fun.”
Least to say, I put my hands out onto the driveway cement to SLOW MYSELF DOWN.
I left the skin of my hands on the driveway and I did not slow down.
(Why do 12 year olds exist. I swear we do not have enough brains to be out there.)
8. Sam being very small and Vin eyeing him off to fit in windows was a total Oliver Twist moment.
Because I was obsessed with Oliver Twist as a kid too. Look I don’t even know why but half my books’ inspirations seems to come from random childhood things?!?
Little Bill Sykes/Oliver moment right then.
9. I wrangled the whole middle of the book to be able to use the “you can just stay for one night” trope.
Cue, the character staying foreverrrrrr.
I love love LOVE contradictions on page. If you look closely, they’re everywhere in my books. My characters will think on thing (“I am about to die”) and say another (“Yeah I’m fine thanks”). Moxie will be snarky and pointy, and loves beautiful soft things. Sam is super gentle and kind, but also hits people. Stealing the De Lainey’s house is the best thing that ever happened to Sam, and also the reason the entire traumatic ending happens.
Contradictions and contrasts are my favourite.
10. The fact that Sam can “get lost in a crowd” is also something that’s happened to me!!
DIRECTLY FROM MY LIFE. I spent my entire teenagerhood having people tell me what happened at events…that I was also…at. Look, I was quiet and small and nobody noticed me. I spent 4 years at a youth group to have my brother’s friends still go, “Uhh, what’s your sister’s name?”
DEATH, my naMe is DeAtH.
I think I vented a little in this book.😌Bless me.
Anyway, a few people were dubious about this concept when I first wrote the book. I can 100% guarantee it can happen. Stuff a house full of kids, especially one that’s used to the chaos, and people just go missing while being right in front of your eyes. They also steal your favourite food out of the fridge. If you have siblings, there is a 90% chance you’ve had to hide your favourite food in order to be able to eat it before someone else gets to it.
Big family culture is fascinating.
| what about you? |
hey feel free to ask any TBWSH related questions today!!! i will answer all in the comments. and tell me if you’re a writer and change your characters’ names a lot!
I also have a giveaway going on instagram for a signed copy!