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At every book signing, one of the questions I can always count on being asked is: “Where do you get the idea for your books?”.
My books, much to my publisher’s chagrin, do not follow the current popular trends. If they did, I would no doubt be a more successful author. Instead, I follow my heart. My characters all have a basis in reality. Some are even modeled after friends (names have been changed to protect the innocent, she says with a smile and a wink).
I also find inspiration for characters and situations in the news. The short story that recently ran on my website was about a man who worked on oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Currently, I am writing a story about a soldier on leave in Paris.
Inspiration can come from anywhere, if you let it. Anything from a song to a movie to the weather can be the spark for a story. Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein during a cold and dreary summer in Switzerland. Had the weather been better, would we have had one of the greatest monster in literature?
Imagination is also a contributor to creative inspiration. Without imagination, Jules Verne would not have pioneered the science fiction genre, and without science fiction would man have dreamed of going into space or exploring the oceans?
Over the years, there has been a mellowing toward certain characters as well. Anne Rice took the feared vampire and turned him into a tragic romantic figure. Stephanie Meyers took it a step further and made her character Edward Cullen a sex symbol.
So, my fellow writers, think for a moment. Where do you get the inspiration for your books? Share your thoughts here; inquiring minds want to know.
I have always enjoyed the late spring into early summer time best. The trees and flowers are in full bloom, and the air is warm and sweet.
A lot of times, I use the seasons to mirror the mood of the characters in my books. If everything is bright and sunny in the plot, then so is the weather. When things are not going well for the main characters, it is raining or snowing. I find this adds a little something extra to give the story depth. After all, who could be in a bad mood when the sun is shining and the air is filled with the scent of flowers! You can see this in action in my new novel Before the Applause, available now at Amazon and Barnes&Noble online.
I am not the only writer to use this ploy. Mary Shelley got the idea for her classic Frankenstein story from the unusually bad weather. I’m not sure that I could ever go so far as to write a horror story like that, but I will definitely keep using the weather as a (pardon the pun) barometer for my characters’ moods in the future.
Do you have a favorite season? Inquiring minds want to know!
Beauty, according to Disney
ONCE UPON A TIME …
Now there’s a good start for my memoirs. But seriously, it was once upon a time when a little girl with blonde hair and blue eyes (does it sound like a Disney movie yet?) grew up in the baddest part of Brooklyn.
Determined to fit in, I oftentimes strayed off the straight and narrow path (at least once a week, accroding to the number of detention slips I got in school). Still, she had a dream.
Hidden away under my bed were at last a dozen marble composition books, and each of them were filled with short stories. Some were the stories I handed in for homework for English class to please the teacher I hated the most (which was fair because she hated me right back). Barely readable on homework looseleaf but charming works of art from a young girl’s mind when she didn’t have to worry about margins and grammar.
Fast forward to the last chapter of my memoir. Well, it can’t be the last chapter, really, because there’s still a lot of living left for me to do. And what will I be doing in the years to come? Still writing (check out my latest novel, Once Upon a Moscow Night, if you like a good love story) and watch for my newest creation coming out this fall.
Yesterday I was given a priceless gift by a very dear friend.
The day started badly and remained that way until I got home and checked the mail. My friend Rose, who is more like a sister than a friend to me after all the years we’ve known each other, sent me a card. It was one of those generic kind of Hallmark cards that allows you to write your own greeting, and inside her granddaughter had written: “Can’t wait to see you on TV!”. To this, Rose had added: “She’s telling all her friends about you and she wishes she was old enough to read your books.”
I stared at those words for a long time, speechless. And then I cried. It was one of those MasterCard moments – priceless. But the more priceless gift is my friendship with Rose and her family. I hope each one of you has at least one friend whose friendship is beyond price. I have several and count myself a very lucky woman, indeed.
What are your priceless possessions? Is it a child’s artwork, a handwritten note, an old loveletter, a photograph from a special moment? Has anyone ever given you something priceless that you will carry with you throughout your life? What are some priceless acts of friendship you’ve done or received?
I am in Florida right now, Boca Raton to be exact, on a combination vacation-slash-book tour. The wonderful folks at The Balancing Act (Lifetime TV morning talk show) have invited me here to talk about my current novel Once Upon a Moscow Night, and to give a few hints about my new work in progress.
Sure, I publicize my books every chance I get. Anyone who looks as if they might like a good romance novel and who stands still long enough is going to get a sales pitch, but to do it on national television is a first for me.
For days after contracting to the interview, I was like a little kid on Christmas morning. A goofy grin was my constant expression, and all I could think or do was related to my appearance on TV.
Then came the period of “Okay, let’s get it done already.” I counted the days, planned out the details of my trip (and the real vacation I haven’t had in way too many months), and become quite droll about the whole thing.
Then, as soon as I started on my trek south, the little kid was back. Every mile brought me closer to that Christmas morning feeling once again. And, as tired as I was when I arrived at the hotel, you guessed it – I couldn’t sleep a wink.
Sun and fun has not dampened the thrill of my impending interview. The calls from the production staff about logistics and suggested wardrobes have kept my level of excitement at a super high.
And now it’s the final countdown … just a few more hours until I step in front of the cameras.
I’ll need another vacation after all of this to come back to earth!