All my life I’ve taken situations in the newspaper or on news reports on television and lain awake late at night wondering how I’d spin that in a story. Conversations overheard in a restaurant or on the train or waiting for a plane. They all get tucked away into my imagination and brought to play later.
And yes, I take elements of my own life too. When you first meet the heroine Nikki in Texas Tangle, she comes home to discover she’s been robbed, just like I’d once returned home to find our apartment had been broken into and everything stolen. There’s a line in it where the hero Dillon tells the responding police officer she’s been robbed, and the officer corrects him – it’s not a robbery, it’s a burglary. Just the same as one of the police officers who responded to our call took the time to correct me, so that line got used in the story too.
“She leaned toward Nikki as if she was going to whisper a secret, but didn’t lower her voice. “My grandparents had a permanent threesome all their adult lives. Betcha Dillon never told you that before.”
“No way! Really?” Lilly piped up, though instead of shock, her eyes were wide with interest.
“I could hardly tell her something I didn’t know myself, Gram.” Despite his tan, Dillon’s cheeks bore an unmistakeable hint of a blush.
“Yup.” She dabbed her mouth as delicately as if she were presiding over a state dinner, then realizing she had the attention of the whole table, placed the napkin on her lap. “And I’ll tell you something else—they weren’t the only ones in the county with more than two to their bed.”
She glared around the table as if warning anyone who dared challenge her. “Times were hard back then, and there weren’t as many women around as there are now. According to my daddy, his daddies decided instead of fighting for the hand of the woman they loved, they’d all live together. Musta worked out because they’re even buried side by side by side out in the churchyard.”
I’ve been inspired by conversations with friends, by headlines, and even by a sniper. (“No self-respecting marksman would use a laser sight. They’re for lazy assholes who couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn.” ~Hidden Heat) Pinterest has been a great source of inspiration – you know the saying about a photo being worth a thousand words? I’ve started making boards of pictures that inspire me about my heroes, heroines and the places and things around them. Now I just have to convince Pinterest to let me turn them all into a slideshow that can play in the background as I write.
So when someone asks me where I get my inspiration, you’d probably see a very confused look on my face because I realize that not everyone else plays that “what if” game. So for those non-writers who are reading this – have you ever heard a conversation on a train, plane or coffeeshop that made you sit and think “that would make a great plot to a book?”
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