Inspiration(s) for Picture Imperfect

 by author Jelsa Mepsey

It was Winter Break of my junior year in high school when I read Flash Burnout by L. K. Madigan. I was intrigued by the use of photography throughout the novel as well as the male narrator. At the time, I had also just finished wrapping up a 365-day challenge in which I wrote a short journal-entry like chapter for an entire year from one character’s point of view. Intrigued by the idea of combining all these elements, I scribbled the idea on a piece of paper and placed it in my Plot Bunnies folder, planning to table it for much later. Instead, the idea called my name, and even though I was writing many other projects at the time, I wound up beginning the first draft of Picture Imperfect.

The inspiration, of course, never stops at the beginning. Coming up with 365 days’ worth of pictures was a huge challenge. The fountain picture at the swimming pool came from a childhood memory with my brother, one of the first pictures I snapped on my flip phone in middle school. Even in my adulthood, my dad loves shooting pictures of the state capitol on my head or a tree halo, the inspiration for all the façade shots that Melly takes. Although I don’t remember who I saw making the COW pose that briefly makes an appearance, it stuck with me enough to write it into a photo. I referenced the Combined Gas Law in Max and Melly’s chemistry class because I wrote a parody about it to “Deck the Halls” as a sophomore in high school. The exact way the Jenga tower fell was from an actual game I played not long before I wrote the scene. In small ways, pieces of my life weave into my writing, especially in this piece—I needed all the inspiration I could get.

The list goes on and on. However, the core remains the same. Daily life is inspirational in so many ways. Really, it’s about how each of us chooses to view it: as something ordinary, or something absolutely extraordinary.



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Picture Imperfect by Jelsa Mepsey

Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: September 22nd 2015
Genres: Romance, Young Adult


Sixteen-year-old Max Prescott knows all too well the joys of cheating girlfriends and traitorous friends. He’s not eager to have his heart trampled again, but money and a fresh start can mean the difference between happiness and a dark path with his name on it.

So when Melly Hewson, a perky and enigmatic classmate, asks him to be her model for a year-long photography project, Max agrees. Melly Hewson is everything Max isn’t. She’s outgoing, witty and always knows the right words to say. And despite his best efforts, Max finds himself drawn to her.

Still, he isn’t stupid. He knows a girl like Melly will only use him and then never speak to him again. Besides, he’s been to that rodeo. As long as he keeps his feelings off the market, he won’t make the same mistakes as last time.

Yet underneath Melly’s sweet smiles lies a secret she’d rather kept hidden. And as the year goes on and the photos pile up, Max and Melly will find themselves developing through the negatives, a story that when told could push them to opposite ends of their world. But the only thing worst than the truth is, the facade that surrounds them.







$10 Amazon Gift Card + eBook copy of Picture Imperfect


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Jelsa Mepsey writes young adult contemporary romance fiction, drawing inspiration from daily life. With her work, she is dedicated to spurring people to think about what they have taken for granted and to shed light on the issues people avoid talking about. As an Asian-American in her 20s, she is excited to explore more of the human experience as she herself journeys through life. Writing, rock climbing 5.12 routes, and playing various instruments have resulted in the formation of many calluses on her hands over the years. When not engaging in her previously mentioned hobbies, Jelsa can be found at her local library with a stack of at least ten books, naming her various pens, or staring at her dog Waffles for inspiration.

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