1) While Eric Wright, in the Half-Vampire books, loves lots of real music, but also listens to the fictional head-banging band Narcissistic Sarcophiles (that band name makes me smile) and fictional pop singer Calliope, Pepper Kircy in Becoming Brigid is familiar with such fictional bands as Zunu, the Turd Apples, Tailfeathers, and -- her favorite -- Triskele.
2) The end of chapter fifteen in Becoming Brigid is absolutely haunting and poignant -- in my own humble opinion, of course.
3) The characters of Dougal, Evelyn, DC, Dr. Finnian, Charity, Morwen, Pete, Tonya, and Elaine are all ( rather vaguely) based on real people -- at least in looks. In fact, Evelyn is based on Evelyn Nesbit, who has been dead a very long time and cannot get uptight about this fact. No one else is really recognizable, and the real people would have a hard time realizing their connections to their fictional alter egos playing these roles.
The man who was the inspiration for Dougal has agreed to let me make this public, however, and I may do a post on him at some point.
Pepper, her father, her teachers, and the evil Zane are really and truly completely fiction. (Okay, I did steal Zane's hairstyle from a former student.) (No, Zane was not based on any members of One Direction. I'd created his character years before the group existed.)
4) The fictional North High School is having the fictional Drama Queen III filmed at the school with all the disturbances, fans, and tours that happened when the High School Musical movies were all filmed at the real East High School in Salt Lake City.
5) As any student who ever had me for 7th grade English would insist, poodles are always worked into my books somewhere. (It's a long-standing grammar joke. Some of my former students are whispering the phrase "small and dainty poodles" and laughing right this very second as they read this.) Poodles are mentioned twice in Becoming Brigid. (I have not yet worked them in to Nerissa MacKay or The Chocolate Smuggler's Notebook.)
6) Many of the places Pepper visits in the book are real. Thompson, Utah, really does have an abandoned motel in it. Sego, Utah is also real. The Stones of Stenness and the Ring of Brodgar really do exist in Orkney, Scotland. The barn is not in Old Deseret Village but used to stand in Heber City. It's gone now, replaced by a Wendy's. There really is a Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, and the pond in Deseret Village used to look exactly like it's described in the book -- until they put a stupid mini-train around it and built a dumb boat on the shore. Now it looks like Disney Land.
7) I had to do a LOT of research on Picts and Celts to write this book, as well as a lot of research on the ancient peoples who preceded them. I also had to do research on ghost hunting and urban exploring. Oh, and on ancient and modern celebrations of Samhuinn (the preferred Scots spelling of Samhain).
8) The whole concept of time's traveling at different speeds gave me a LOT of trouble in this book, and whole sections had to be re-written multiple times.
9) In the earliest incarnations of this story, Dr. Finnian was King Arthur and Robert the Saxon was Robin Hood. Those changed VERY early on.
10) The earliest idea for this book came from my noticing that a certain archetypal character showed up again and again in literature: Merlin, Gandalf, Dustfinger, Dumbledore, even Merrick in the original Buffy, the Vampire Slayer movie. There's always this dark man who knows more than he tells, and you can never quite be sure if he's a good guy or a bad guy -- or if he's just amoral altogether.
Then I asked myself, "What if it were really just all one guy, a guy who wandered from story to story? And why would he do that?"
That character, of course, became Dougal, who is the Dark Stranger.
And he's trying to kill Pepper.
Have I convinced you to read the book yet? ;)