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?