What Sings to You?

Merriam Webster defines inspiring as causing people to want to do or create something. Having an animating or exalting effect.

One of the most common questions asked of a writer is, “Where do your ideas come from?” The question always brings a smile to my face. The answer is, “Everywhere.” That little snippet of conversation, the sight of a flight of roseate spoonbills in a clear blue sky, a personal foible, a news story, any and all of those things is inspiring.

DEATH BY BLUE WATER, my current book, begins with Hayden Kent scuba diving on a 120’ shipwreck in the Florida Keys and discovering a body. The inspiration for that story came from a dive I made eight or nine years ago. It wasn’t a body, but a tattered plastic bag. I was on the wreck of the Thunderbolt. As I swam to look into the cabin of the old ship, a plastic bag floated out the window. It caught me by surprise and my first thought, after I got my heart rate under control, was what if it was a dead hand. That’s exactly what it became. A dead man’s hand. One small idea, seventy thousand words later, became a book.

MURDER IN THE MULTIPLES grew from a photo. I was flipping through the real estate section of the paper when I spotted a gorgeous house on an exclusive island in Miami. The price was in the millions, plural. I drooled. It was exactly the kind of house I saw myself living in. The facing page held a story about someone buying a house at government auction and flipping it for a huge profit. Catherine Swope, my heroine, is a Realtor. The story starts when she sells the confiscated house she bought and finds her client dead in the bathtub. Dead, and surrounded by evidence that drugs remained in the house. One small idea, seventy thousand words later, became a book.

For me the definition of inspiration is a nugget that, once discovered, takes over my thought process. I spend hours turning it this way and that. It grabs me, holds on, and won’t let go until I make something out of it. It’s an earworm that has to be developed to free me.

People can be inspiration too. Our own Diane Vallere is an inspiration to me. I remember her talking about her idea for the Mad for Mod series before she wrote a word. Now, it’s a three book series, and she has three more series under way. In fact, the first book in her newest series, SUEDE TO REST is being released from Berkley today. http://www.amazon.com/Suede-Rest-Material-Witness-Mystery/dp/0425270572. Don’t miss it!

What or who inspires you?


Author: kaitcarson

I write mysteries set in South Florida. The Hayden Kent series is set in the Florida Keys. Hayden is a SCUBA diving paralegal who keeps finding bodies. Underwater, no one can hear you scream! Catherine Swope is a Miami Realtor with a penchant for finding bodies in the darndest places. I live in an airpark in Fort Denaud, FL with my husband, five cats, and a flock of conures. And oh yes, a Piper Cherokee 6 in the hangar!

10 thoughts on “What Sings to You?”

  1. Kait, this is so great. And it beautifully captures what I have long thought of as the “magic” of writing…transforming ideas or experiences into texts that have a life of their own, which then can, in turn, give a reader an experience.

    Especially love this: “That little snippet of conversation, the sight of a flight of roseate spoonbills in a clear blue sky, a personal foible, a news story, any and all of those things is inspiring.”

    Congratulations on your books, and congratulations to Diane too! So excited for you Mysterista sisters.


  2. Kait, thanks for sharing your inspiring ideas. It’s amazing, isn’t it, the things that will hit us out of the blue–and eventually morph into a story?


  3. You are so write on! Congrats to the new books, Diane and Kait, yay!

    Love your nugget taking over the thought process! Inspiration stands the test of time, while other ideas fall by the wayside.


  4. Great post (how did I miss this earlier?). Yes, I’ve got tons of newspaper headlines, overheard bits of conversation, random observations and assorted “stuff” sitting around waiting to be used in a story. It’s all inspiration, given enough time, light, and water (just like a plant).

    Congrats to you and Diane!


  5. Thanks for the congrats! Isn’t it amazing. I have files too. Periodically I go through them and cull, more often I just add to them. A pack rat of ideas. No wonder my parents couldn’t wait for me to move out!


  6. Kait, I must have started to come here yesterday a dozen times but this morning I realized I never made it. And you mentioned me! Now I’m red in the face. Thank you! I still remember that very night too, when I got the idea for the Mad for Mod series (before a word was written) and emailed to share it. People like you with good energy are a source of inspiration for me, people like the Mysteristas, who celebrate all of our successes!

    Sorry I’m late with this. I was a little distracted yesterday 🙂


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