Young Adult

Little Red Gem By D.L. Richardson

Sunday, October 27, 2013

How Katy Perry inspired the ending to Little Red Gem.

Ruby Parker is sitting in the car. She has just gone on an incredible journey that has taken 250 pages and over 65,000 words to tell. To sum up her situation, the boy she loves has broken her heart and now she is having a reflective moment. What went wrong? She must have learned something on this incredible journey. But what? The feelings inside are all mixed up as if someone has tossed them out a window and left them to the mercy of the wind. Her thoughts are like a Geiger counter machine in the middle of an earthquake. She knows what she wants to tell herself, but she’s seventeen and a bundle of hormones and emotions.

She switches on the car radio.


Thousands of miles away, I am sitting in my study. I have been led on this incredible journey that has taken 250 pages and over 65,000 words to hear. But Ruby has left it to me to sum it all up. I’m staring at the final page. Unlike the second chance Ruby is receiving, there is no second chance for me once the final paragraphs have been read and Ruby has left the room. There’s no opportunity for me to rush back into the room and scream, “Wait! I should have ended it like this.” When Ruby leaves the room her parting thoughts must be final. They must reflect her journey. And most importantly, they must be true to her heart. I know what Ruby feels isn’t really a broken heart, it’s more like the first time she comes to realise that this heart he’s breaking is connected to her. Yet, the way to capture this feeling and spread the words on the paper eludes me.

I switch on the stereo.

Thousands of miles away, Katy Perry is sitting on a sofa crying. Or she may be lying on a bed. Or taking a walk. Okay, I’m not entirely sure where she is but I picture her at home on a sofa amidst a wad of tissues and empty chocolate wrappers. Her tears must be the result of an incredible journey. Maybe her tears are the result of a broken heart. Like Ruby, maybe the feelings inside Katy are all mixed up as if someone has tossed them out a window and left them to the mercy of the wind. Like Ruby, maybe Katy’s thoughts are as erratic as a Geiger counter machine in the middle of an earthquake. But Katy Perry is experienced with words, so after she’s done crying she gets up off the sofa and tosses the wads of tissues and empty wrappers in the bin. Then she walks into her study and wraps her broken heart in layers of sticky tape.

She emerges from her study with lyrics to a song.

Ruby is sitting in the car. She hears Katy Perry on the radio.

“I got the eye of the tiger, the fire, Dancing through the fire,
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar.”

I am sitting in my study. I hear Katy Perry on the radio.

“Louder, louder than a lion,
'Cause I am a champion, and you're gonna hear me roar.”

In that moment, Ruby, Katy, and I are connected by these few lines in a song. In that moment, the words to the final paragraphs dance across the page. I know how to sum up Ruby’s story for her:


I got back into the Jeep and drove home. Tomorrow would see some changes. I didn’t know how or what those changes would be, and maybe most of these changes had to do with the way I viewed things, but two things were certain: whichever path I chose would be the one that was best for me; and if that journey was to be with Leo it would not be due to duty or obligation, but due to love.
My life.
My choice.
Maybe I wasn’t a quitter, which would work in Leo’s favor, but I was sometimes also crazy, desperate, impulsive, and irrational and that might work against. But I was madly in love, and that had to count for something, too.


When the premise to Little Red Gem is, “She needed to know how much he loved her no matter what. Not realizing that she only needed to love herself no matter what”, it stands to reason that there are going to be girl power songs which inspired many aspects of this teen paranormal romance. It’s fitting, too, that music is as inspiration because music features heavily in this book. Ruby Parker is a singer in an all-girl band. Her boyfriend, Leo Culver, is a musician. When all else fails, music is how Ruby communicates with Leo.

Ruby’s journey has ended for now. Yet, as she starts the engine to her car and drives off into the night, smiling to herself yet filled with dread nonetheless, she realizes what every girl who has ever been knocked down and gotten back up realizes – that the real journey has only just begun.

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D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three YA fiction novels published and one short story anthology. Her books are widely available through online retailers. You can read more about her work at her website www.dlrichardson.com.