Like most writers, I’ve written the beginnings of a few books that have gone nowhere. I have zero interest in pursuing them. On the other hand, for various reasons, the books I did write took hold of my imagination and didn’t let go until they were completed. For example, A Spark of Heavenly Fire came about because of a Washington Irving quote: “There is in every true woman’s heart a spark of heavenly fire, which lies dormant in the broad daylight of prosperity, but which kindles up, and beams and blazes in the dark hour of adversity.” I loved the idea of a woman who felt half-dead when everyone else was doing well, but in a time of dying, she came to life. Since I didn’t want to do a war story, I created a plague — the red death. I had fun with that, and the story so captured my imagination that I had no choice but to pursue it.
Here are a few inspirations other authors. The comments are taken from interviews posted at Pat Bertram Introduces . . .
From an interview of Rod Marsden, Author of “Disco Evil” and “Ghost Dance”
I was inspired to write Disco Evil because I believe everyone deserves a fair go and that people who go out of their way to be nasty to others really do build up bad karma for themselves. I happen to like quest/adventures stories so that’s how Ghost Dance came about. Two of the women in Ghost Dance are based on certain stand up and be counted sort of ladies I know and love in real life.
From an interview of Malcolm R. Campbell, Author of “Sarabande”
“The Sun Singer” is about a young man’s solar journey. I wanted to look at the other side of the coin, so to speak, and write about the lunar-oriented ordeals of a young woman. Sarabande, my protagonist first appeared in “The Sun Singer.” However, I have written her story so that it can be read as a standalone novel, a woman’s story that could be whole in and of itself.
From an interview of J J Dare, Author of False Positive and False World
I was inspired to write about hidden government agendas and their devastating aftereffects when I thought about why we, as a nation, involve our resources in other nations’ conflicts. My biggest inspiration: the eternal, What if?
From an interview of Joylene Nowell Butler, Author of “Broken but not Dead”
Honestly, one day it occurred to me that there weren’t enough stories about fantastic 50-year-old women. I wasn’t quite 50, but decided that while it might be nice to be young and beautiful like Cheryl Ladd and all those other famous ladies from my era, there’s nothing quite like the wisdom and empowerment that comes with age.
From an interview of Mickey Hoffman, Author of “Deadly Traffic”
I was inspired to write the book after reading some nonfiction books about contemporary domestic slavery and human trafficking.
From an interview of Sheila Deeth, Author of “Flower Child”
Actually it was a writing competition at our local writing group. The prompt was to write a short piece inspired by music, and I had John Denver’s Rhymes and Reasons spinning around in my head — For the children and the flowers / Are my sisters and my brothers… I found myself putting a childhood misunderstanding together with my adult experience.
If you’re a writer, what inspired you to write a particular story? If you’re a reader, what inspires you to read a particular story?
February 1, 2012 at 6:55 am
My daughter once told me that if I told people how I got my ideas for my books I’d be “locked up” because I just got visions, heard voices in my head and wrote as if from dictation but I’ve heard other writers say the same: that a story was like a film playing out in their minds. I wrote the first part of my first novel, The Nun, that way and then added the second part more “intentionally” and the second edition of The Nun coming out soon from Plain View Press does have a brief essay about that: the difference between inspired and intentional writing as well as the short story version of Part One. My second novel, Stillbird (originally titled: The Ballad of Stillbird-by-the-River and Mary Queen of Scots) was literally a dream I had while riding in the car to New Mexico while an audio tape with a sad scottish sounding ballad cycled around and around. I’d wake up long enough to remember my dream and then fall asleep again and when I got to our destination I called my daughter, by then working in film, and said I thought it would make an interesting film (I still do) but she said, too sad for her, I should write it as a novel. I pondered it for a full year and then wrote it in three weeks. If I ran into a wall, I put on some music to get my brain moving again. I’d have to say that music inspires the visions that become my stories and novels. If that makes me borderline schizophrenic then so be it.
P.S INteresting note about Scotland: I LOVE Scotland but haven’t been there in years. Yesterday hackers sent out emails to everyone on my contacts list saying I was stranded in Scotland and needed $900 to get home. Since I found my email contact list empty I was unable to send out a mass warning notice. Wonder why they made up a story about me being stranded in Scotland. weird.
February 1, 2012 at 7:46 am
Sandra, You’re not borderline schizophrenic — you’re a writr. I used to think that such inspiration was what writing was all about. I quit my job once to write, sat down at the kitchen table, pen in hand, and waited for the words to flow. No words ever came. I thought I had no talent for writing, so I got involved in doing other things, but years later I decided to write anyway. Learned how to do it, pulling the words one by one out of my mind.
February 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm
Well I love your books and you definitely have a talent for writing however you do it.