The most frequent question that I've gotten about THE PORTAL, is where my ideas for the novel came from. I could say that I dreamt the first chapter, which is true, but that doesn't really tell the story. Besides, Stephenie Meyer already beat me to that one. The bulk of my inspiration actually came from Tori Amos, of all people.
I've never met her, but her debut album Little Earthquakes is a masterpiece, and, as a musician, I never say that lightly.
ME AND A GUN is a song from that album. I have to admit that it's not my favorite track, being that it's hard to listen to because Tori, singing a capella, chronicles her own rape at knife point.
Me and a gun,
And a man on my back,
But I haven't seen Barbados,
So I must get out of this.
During the year that I wrote THE PORTAL, I didn't know why those words repeated in my head, but they wouldn't quit. Only later did I realize the significance.
Although you could focus on the negatives of her struggle, apparently my subconscious couldn't. The true story for me, is that Tori Amos not only had the strength to record that song, but to get onstage in front of thousands of people and perform it. A message in a bottle for other survivors, so that they wouldn't feel so alone.
Tori's is a story of strength. Of taking control of your life, despite the horrible events and people that may slither in. Although my protagonist Vivian doesn't suffer a sexual assualt, I imagine that she feels that level of fear.
Looking back now, I like to think that Vivian has just a fraction of Tori Amos in her character. The world would be a better place if we all did.