I’m sure all writers recognize this as the question readers most commonly ask. I wonder if other writers find it as nearly impossible to answer as I do. Most of the time I really don’t know where the ideas come from. I often look back on a finished book, especially one I wrote a number of years ago, and wonder how on earth I came up with that particular plot. I do know, however, what sort of thing might inspire me to write. It can be almost anything that stirs some deep emotion and compels me to write a story from that inner place.
It can be a scene of extraordinary beauty–moonlight on water, perhaps, or giant trees in a rain forest, Or it can be a piece of music. Beethoven’s Violin Concerto can do it every time. So can Louis Armstrong singing What a Wonderful World, And so can the final scene of The Phantom of the Opera after the phantom has allowed Christine to leave with Raoul. That final song just slays me, and every time I hear it I know I have to create a story that will stir such deep passion. Or sometimes it is a line of poetry or a quotation from some well-known person that strikes a chord in me, especially if it is combined with an evocative picture. Take this one, for example:
I look at this picture and read the caption and want to dive right in to create a love story to bear out its message–people with a past, some of it shared, perhaps, though not necessarily, but people who can have a future together if they work hard enough to deal with all the baggage that holds them back from being able to love and be loved.
I suppose what I am saying is that my stories tend to originate with an emotion, with a desire to use it to tell a love story. The story itself, the plot, is immaterial. I never care too much what happens in a story. All the plot is needed for is to bring together two needy souls in the sort of love we often sense life should be all about. We can believe in the beauty of art in all its many forms. Let us believe in love too. I want to arouse that belief through my books. I do not tell stories, except in the way a musician may use a keyboard or a painter may use a canvas. I do not write romances. I certainly do not write sex romps. I write LOVE stories. Or at least, that is what I aim to do, and my ideas come from my most deeply felt emotions.
To one randomly chosen person who leaves a comment before the end of next Tuesday, June 25, I will send a signed copy of either SIMPLY LOVE or A SECRET AFFAIR or A PRECIOUS JEWEL (winner’s choice), three of my most passionately felt books. The winner of the audio copy of A MATTER OF CLASS last week was Kathleen Smith.