Inspiration Behind Writing Windfall

Today on the MKB blog we have the wonderful Jennifer E. Smith here to share her inspiration behind her latest novel - the beautifully written and heart-warming Windfall.

Over to you, Jennifer!


I’ve always been obsessed with things like fate and timing and chance, and I love writing about moments in time that act as hinges – days where there’s a really clear split between a before and an after, where yesterday everything was one way, and tomorrow everything will be different. I’m not sure anything represents that quite so perfectly as winning the lottery. It’s the ultimate wish fulfilment, a fantasy pretty much everyone’s had at some point, and it creates this really seismic shift in people’s lives, which for me is always the most interesting place to start a story.

I don’t have much experience playing the lottery. The first time I ever bought a ticket was just last year, and I played the numbers from the book. (I figured it would be a pretty great publicity hook if I won, which…I did not.) But I’ve wanted to write about someone winning the jackpot for ages now – I just could never quite find my way into the story. Then one day, I was in line at a bodega behind this really young-looking guy who was buying a big stack of tickets. And just like that, I knew what the book would be. 

Like many of my other books, Windfall is definitely a love story at heart. But it’s also a story about change. Alice, the main character, has been through something heartbreakingly awful; when she was younger, she won the worst lottery possible when her parents died a year apart from each other. So she’s understandably wary of change, and when Teddy – her best friend, who she’s been in love with for three years – wins the lottery – off a ticket she bought for him! – it turns everything upside down. And it brings up a lot of big questions for her: If something bad happen to us, are we automatically due something good? And if something good happens, do we end up somehow paying a price for that? Does the world owe us anything, or is it entirely random?

Most of all, this is a book about luck, and the many different forms that it comes in. To be honest, Alice and Teddy are two of my favorite characters I’ve ever written, and I would’ve loved telling their story even if there hadn’t been a 140-million-dollar wrench thrown into it. So I hope readers will enjoy going on this journey with them too!

Have you read Windfall? Let us know what you think at @mykindabook and don't forget to share your #WindfallLuckyDay experiences!