First off, I’d like to thank the Powers That Be at Romance Junkies for inviting me here. Second, I’d like to thank all the junkies out there for making it possible to write romance. Without you, my inspirations would have nowhere to go!
Which brings me to my topic today: where the !@# do we authors get our ideas?
That’s one of the most popular questions people ask me. I not only get it from readers at speaking engagements, I get it from relatives at family celebrations.
Truth is, inspiration is everywhere. My last book, One Deadly Sin, started with a tourist book of the Midwest. Some of you may say…tourist? Midwest? Turns out there are plenty of interesting places in the heartland, and one in particular struck me: the legend of the black angel from Oakland cemetery in Iowa City.
Mind you, I wasn’t looking for inspiration. I was thumbing through a book at my brother’s house, waiting for dinner to be served. But there it was, the story of a man buried in a grave, a man who may or may not be guilty of a crime. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That little item formed the nugget around which the whole book was built. And, I’m proud to say, it’s just been nominated for an RT Reader’s Choice Award!
People can also start me thinking about books. I have a friend who is an Orientation and Mobility instructor at the Tennessee School for the Blind. As she puts it, “I teach blind kids to run in the streets.” Her work always fascinated me, and I wanted to learn more. I began exploring the idea of a blind cop, and that ended up being my fourth book, Blind Curve. While writing it, I kept thinking about the lyrics to an old Youngbloods song: “Darkness, darkness, be my pillow.” That image–of sinking into the darkness, the physical darkness of the blind, the darkness of despair and hopelessness–helped infuse the story.
My RITA-winning book, Blackout, was inspired by a character in a TV show. Or, I should say, several characters: Aeryn Sun from Farscape, Zoe Washburne from Firefly, and from the Terminator, Sarah Connor. I love those tough, take-no-prisoners women and wanted to write about someone who could share their world. The heroine of Blackout can’t remember exactly who she is, but when it comes to defending herself–with fists, knife, or gun–she’s an expert.
Truth is, inspiration can come when I least expect it and from the oddest places.It could be something as ordinary as making dinner or an exotic trip to Fiji. Either way, I never know who–or what–might start the next story rolling.
But that’s me. How about you? What are your inspirations?