Finding my elusive Muse

SeasideTown-Some rights reserved by loungerie.

I don’t think a single writer I know would admit to having fantasies about someone they met who inspired them enough to write a steamy romantic story. They may point to a book, ala Mr. Darcy, or a movie, ala Hans Solo, but what about that ex-boyfriend who got away? Or the swim coach? The sexy guy in the next cube at work? The personal trainer? The swim coach (already said this one; face flushes red), Fed Ex dude (you see where I’m going with this) who melted your bones? I can hear you cringing now. Never! I always use my imagination to write my protagonists. It’s never people I know. Never! (I see you now with your face dimpled into a frown).

It’s okay. Really. Our imagination is like steroid infused Photoshop – we can morph, crop, fade, shade, blend until the forbidden faces turn into something that doesn’t resemble a humanoid, let alone someone you could possibly know. The resulting hero (or heroine) comes out exactly as we ordered – in my case he comes fully loaded with: dry humor, hard muscles, wicked smart, imaginative in bed, chivalrous, generous, and is a master cook. Oh, and he might have a slight resemblance to Jake Gyllenhaal or Jason Statham. See how easy that was? The perfect hero. If only life could imitate art.

But sometimes, our muse comes in other forms. For my upcoming debut, Unexpectedly You, my inspiration was triggered by the smell of the sea and the sound of sea gulls. I was on a weekend getaway at the Oregon Coast and I stayed at a quaint beachfront B&B. My imagination quickly went to work. I sprinkled in a pet boutique, a buttermilk-scented diner, and a funky pirate festival, and voila! Out came Bella Del Mar, the seaside setting for my book. Of course, not even the jaw dropping Pacific Ocean as setting is enough to hold a reader’s interest so I included Mitch McKenna, the wickedly funny and hot real estate developer whose business is about to go under unless he can persuade his nemesis and neighbor Emma LeFleur to convince the town that he’s a sweetheart. Easy as pie, unless you consider he’s threatened to bulldoze her home with her in it.  And so, the fun begins.

Who or what inspires your muse?

Lily Santana, Romantista
Romancing the Headlines
Twitter: @lilyoftheword

Debut book, Unexpectedly You, published by Carina Press, out August 26, 2013. Available for pre-order today with Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Photo credit: Some rights reserved by loungerie.

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Finding my elusive Muse — 9 Comments

  1. You’re right. I can’t think of many authors who’d admit that someone they know inspired the hot hero, though we’d be more willing to admit that the quirky neighbor or loyal friend character was inspired by someone we knew.

  2. I used to fantasize about real people. But these days, all of my characters are fictional. I may take traits or quirks from people I know, but then I add the fantasy like your “master chef.” I would kill for a master chef! Yeah, creating characters is “steroid infused Photoshop.” What a great description!

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