Natalie’s world is shaken to its core when she discovers an old photo of a woman who looks like her. Could this woman be related to her birth mother, who put Natalie up for adoption as a baby? When she tracks down the person who dumped the photo album at her thrift shop, she’s shaken again. Especially when the gorgeous fire-fighting guitarist offers to help her find the owner. They quickly become friends – which is all they’ll be, as far as Natalie’s concerned. Her rebellious youth turned her off cheating men, and the new Natalie is looking for true love and a family of her own – something Casey isn’t willing to provide. But how long can Natalie ignore her undeniable attraction to the man with the Irish accent and the broken-down ’57 Chevy?
In Chelsey Krause’s second novel, friends become lovers over a whirlwind summer of rockabilly rhythms, twirling skirts, and a mystery that takes them hilariously far out of their element.
Real events from my life that made it into “All Shook Up”
As an author, I often wonder whether other writers use events from their real life as inspiration for their novels. Old jobs, bad dates, embarrassing moments, overheard conversations; these all make great scenes.
So, I’ll do this sometimes. I’ll take things that have actually happened either to me, or things I’ve heard about, and use them as a springboard for my book. I’ll change details, names, try to make it original. But, still, at the root of the scene, there is a kernel of real life to it.
I used to feel bad about doing this. I worried that perhaps I wasn’t a “real” writer because I didn’t invent everything out of thin air. I borrowed from my life and others, I borrowed from the jobs I’ve had, the movies I’ve watched, and so on.
That is, until I learned that every other writer does this. Even if you invent pure fantasy, your ideas come from somewhere.
So, I thought it would be fun to talk about 4 scenes from “All Shook Up” that were taken from my own life. (And it’s pretty hilarious.) Read on.
1) Guy with Snake Around His Neck
Natalie, the heroine of “All Shook Up” manages a thrift store. And though I LOVE buying second hand, I didn’t know a thing about how thrift stores are managed. So, I arranged a meeting with a local store. The manager gave me the grand tour, showed me the basement store rooms (I wish I could arrange private shopping tours down there), explained the day to day operations, etc.
And at some point during our visit, I asked her if she’d ever had any customers of note. And she told me about this guy who came in with a snake around his neck. He was young, maybe 17. Homeless. And looking for a fish tank for his snake. He had been keeping it in a cardboard box, but someone stole the box. She said they found him tank for his snake. She said he lit up, and seemed incredibly happy to finally have a space for his pet.
It was a bittersweet story that captured my imagination. I HAD to include it in this story, and you’ll find it in chapter 1.
2) Guy Stripping off His Shirt in the Middle of the Store
This really, truly did happen. I wouldn’t joke about half-naked men. Ok. I was walking through the mall one day, pushing my enormous double stroller along. And just as I passed one store (American Apparel, if you’re interested), out of the corner of my eye, I saw a guy at the cash register whip his shirt off. It took me off guard (I mean, come on! You don’t normally see people stripping at the mall). It seemed that he wanted to try a shirt on before he bought it, and figured that the cashier would appreciate it more than the private change room.
This seemed pretty funny to me, and thus, Casey, the hero of “All Shook Up” tries a shirt on in the middle of a store (see chapter 21). I make a small cameo in this scene too. The mom who was briskly walking by with her stroller in the background and pauses to watch the ripped guy take his shirt off in the mall is TOTALLY me, lol
3) The Beet Massacre
OOH! This was a fun chapter to write. It’s from chapter 22, where Natalie is hosting a dinner party to celebrate her best friend’s 30th birthday. Natalie wants to impress her friend (who is a bit of a foodie), and decides to make all these complicated, Martha-Stewart type dishes. For the first course, she wants to make a beet-carrot soup. And it goes disastrously wrong.
I got the idea for this scene from my own baking disaster. I wanted to make red-velvet cupcakes, but didn’t want to use so much red food dye. And I knew that beets were a dark red/purple color. I figured that if I added beet puree to my cake mix, I’d have healthy cupcakes that were delicious and healthy and natural and everyone would love me and compliment me on my genius. Well, that was the theory, anyway.
I cooked an enormous quantity of beets. I pureed them. The color was intense, and beautiful, and I felt pretty good about this little creative project. And then, it all went to shite.
I (for reasons still unknown to me) walked the bowl of beet puree across the kitchen. And I dropped it.
Beet. Puree. Everywhere. It was on me. On my fridge. On my cupboards. On my floor. On my table and chairs. Up the wall. And spattered all across my kitchen ceiling. It looked like I had a vendetta against root vegetables, and had taken my revenge.
And beet puree (especially steaming hot beet puree) doesn’t clean up easily. No, it mostly smears around and elicits a lot of “f” bombs.
But after a while, things did start to look normal. Everything except my kitchen ceiling. It has a popcorn style finish, and when I tried to clean the beets off, it just smeared around, making everything a striking shade of pink. After much debate (and wondering how the hell I was going to explain this to my husband), I decided to let it dry a bit, and then touch it up with white paint.
I didn’t tell him about it until years later. He had NO idea! Of course, in this version of the story, Casey comes up with the idea to paint the ceiling, and they’re in cahoots with each other. Though I don’t really like getting into awkward situations like that, in some ways, I look forward to it. It makes great books.
And as a side note, the cupcakes were horrible. They had an earthy taste to them, exactly what I figure eating dirt would taste like.
4) Dirty Song Lyrics
In chapter 8, I briefly allude to Casey changing song lyrics to make them funnier (usually by adding dirty words). This is 100% my husband. I love driving with him, because I never know what he’s going to come up with.
So there you have it! I could list more examples of where my own life inspired the events in “All Shook Up” but these are the most fun ones.
I hope you enjoy reading my book! And if you have an award / embarrassing / hilarious story that you’d like to share, please message me!
About the Author:
Chelsey Krause has a thing for thrift stores and used bookshops. A nurse, wife, Starbucks addict, and mom to two children, she can often be found repurposing other people’s junk or considering whether the library would let her move in. The rest of the time, she’s reviewing for Chicklit Club or writing. All Shook Up is her second novel.
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