Inspiration. As writers this word is as loaded as they come. The dreaded question: What was your inspiration for that character/book/series, etc.? Can strike fear into many as either it was so long ago the first spark of an idea and what triggered it has been lost to other more important things the brain needs to keep track of. Let’s face it our brains sometimes must make those hard decisions about cleaning out the closet just like we do.
I will admit for several of my books, I do not remember that moment when I thought; “oh, this could be a story.” You have to understand that authors may say that to themselves ten or more times a day. However, there are a few that stick in my mind because they were pivotal to me in one way or another.
Marked for Love was one of those books. I was in New York city for the national RWA conference. It was my first time staying in NYC. Our hotel was in the middle of Times Square and the energy that I absorbed every time I went outside the hotel was like being jacked up on two pots of coffee. However, I was also working through a rough personal matter which weighed heavy on me when I allowed it to. I had a lot of decisions to make that year.
I think back now, and the metaphor of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly is a good one. The looming question was, who am I going to be and what will that look like was my primary focus. Of course, as writers we write what we know, and at that point I knew pain. I knew what it was like to be in a room and feel alone. I also knew what it was to have people look at you and judge your situation without so much as a discussion with you about it. I think that was another reason I was so happy to be in NYC. I was just another romance author with no baggage attached to that. I was able to get some perspective.
Anyway, I remember it clearly, I was walking across the lobby and I looked down at a tattoo I had gotten the year before, which I loved, but that to me looked out of place in my business attire. Again, remember I was trying to figure out who I was. And the thought popped into my head that if I were struggling with the idea of being a profession and having a tattoo on my arm, what would a woman in the Regency have gone through?
That one question was like opening a flood gate. I rushed, didn’t run I was in heels, to my next workshop to get a seat. I didn’t pick my head up once during that session, and honestly couldn’t have told you an hour later what the workshop was about because I sat with my notebook and
just wrote note after note. For the rest of the week, I would be sitting in the lobby between workshops or when waiting for friends and I’d be writing down ideas, thoughts, etc.
That book became my therapy. It helped me work through my pain, anger, fear, and disappointment. The heroine in that book and I healed each other as I wrote. You might think with that much passion and all those ideas it probably wrote itself, but it was not an easy birth. Because I was so close to the themes and ideas in the book, I found myself having to step away from time to time to gain perspective back to be sure I was doing justice to the story.
Marked for Love ended up my longest book today at around 130,000 words. However, I have been told it does not read that long, but I will admit that even at that many words I was sad to see these characters get their happily ever after, because I had grown so accustomed to them being in my life on the daily. I could count on them to understand and toil through the issues that I struggled with myself.
I haven’t yet gone back to read Marked for Love, but I know when I do it will be like greeting old friends who got you through your worst time. There will be tears, anger, and joy knowing in the end we got our happily ever after.
Have you ever read a book you resonated with on such a level? Have you re read it? Was it the same?
Next up we have Brenda Margriet don’t miss her story of inspiration.
Also, don’t miss a thing from Brenda:
Brenda Margriet’s next seasoned romance comes out March 29. In RICHLY DESERVED, you’ll meet Claudia and Titus (both 50+ years old). To these two skeptics, true love is as phony as fool’s gold. But this improbable search for buried treasure could lead to their hearts’ hidden desires. Join Brenda newsletter so you don’t miss any of her news. You’ll also receive a free
short story about a woman torn between bitter revenge and the sweetness of a second chance. Just click here! https://www.subscribepage.com/brendas-newsletter-signup