Because I write novels about safe havens for the heart, my writing is usually centered around the home. The house where we attended a retirement party inspired Law Breakers and Love Makers, a romantic suspense recently released by Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc. I added the suspense because the home's rural location seemed an ideal spot for a mystery. Thanks to comments made in a rejection letter from a Silhoutte editor I revised the manuscript, made the hero and heroine high school sweethearts her father secretly forced apart, which complicated their budding romance, upped the conflict, and ultimately helped the novel sell.
On the way to dinner one night, we passed a boarded-up house in the exclusive San Diego residential area of Mission Hills. Why, I wondered, was that house boarded up? Had it been the scene of that double murder? Or part of a divorce settlement? Perhaps was structurally unsound? It didn't look like there had been a fire. Why else would a pricey mansion sit empty while life went on all around?
That sighting inspired my novel Decisive Moments about a young photographer determined to see those ugly boards removed from the windows of a local landmark, the reclusive owner of that home, and the way she changes his life.
A two-story, white Victoria house sits on a busy street in downtown Lakeside, a rural community East of San Diego. Surrounded by businesses, the well-kept structure is home to the Lakeside Historic Society Museum, but in its other life, before a spurt of growth crowded it's doorsteps herds of cattle probably grazed in pastures surrounding that gem of a house.
These reminiscings thoughts inspired my novel Restless Dreams. The retired rodeo champion turned contractor who remodeled two bathrooms for me became the inspiration for the generous handyman in that book.
On several occasions we camped beside a river near Lee Vining, California where rustic weekend homes nestle in aspen groves on the eastern side of the Sierras. This setting inspired To Feel Again, the story of a frightened widow in hiding forced to pull an unconscious man from Lundy Creek and nurse him back to health.
In Temp to Permanent, a June 2011 romantic suspense release from Desert Breeze, I modeled my hero after the good-looking temporary employee I interviewed and ultimately hired one year to help in the accounting department at year-end close. There wasn't anything that young man couldn't accomplish with little direction from me. In my novel he's paired with a self-confident business owner whose thoughts too often stray from her graphic designs because she wants her temp's arms around her instead of retrieving that paper clip from her jammed copier. The five-year-old boy with twinkling blue eyes and jet black curls who flirted outrageously with me on a historic steam train ride was the inspiration for my hero. That little boy is sure to be a heart-breaker when he grows up.
Memories of a trip to the snow on Mt. Charleston outside of Las Vegas, Nevada with a two-year-old granddaughter inspired Christmas Eve, my novel about a realtor forced to seek help from a secluded cabin owner when her car gets stuck in the snow.
And then there's Fragile Bonds, the novel inspired by a ferry ride across the Bay from Sausalito to San Francisco and back. The teen-age daughter in that novel is a composite of my four daughters at that age.
I can even find inspiration for my writing without leaving town. Fairy Dusted is the end result of a network news cast about the sudden increase in births among middle-aged women in a small town in Ireland where one of the chemicals in Viagra is made. That news bite blossomed into a novel about a childless couple's return to the town where they'd honeymooned.
The young man who kept showing up on a divorced friend's doorstep and begging her to go out with him inspired Hooking Up, the working title of my novel about the survivor of an abusive marriage who has walled off her heart and the redemption-seeking hero who feels guilty about the suicide of his sister and hopes to break down the heroine's walls.
Home-decorating shows on HGTV inspired Homeward Bound, the story of a novice stager, a survivor of foster care saving to buy her own home and her client, a wealthy man to whom home is meaningless.
When I'm rinsing dishes at the sink bits of dialogue float through my mind. Characters in my head almost come to blows while I'm walking the treadmill. If this can be considered multi-tasking, I'm very good at it.
What inspires you? Please leave your questions or comments and I'll enter your name in October 15th drawing for an I need my reading time tee shirt.