Monday, August 15, 2016

Where’d That Idea Come From?

Where do you get your ideas? Like most authors, if I’ve heard that question once, I’ve heard it a hundred … no make that a thousand … times.

And, as I’ve always said, my ideas come from life.

I write both contemporary and historical romances, as well as the historical sub-genre known as vintage (think 1950’s, 1960’s). Ideas for each if these varied genres must be gleaned from entirely different places.

Contemporary romances are by far the easiest … just look around you. What’s hot on television? What’s the latest fad? The hardest part about finding a new plot for a contemporary is that most of the current story lines have been done to death.

Because I like to inject humor into my contemporaries, I look for a funny incident to introduce my characters (e.g., a case of mistaken identity) like I did with my holiday novella, Pushing the Limits.

My award-winning romance, Home is Where the Hunk is, was actually based on a true-life event. I interviewed the woman in question and then fashioned her heart-warming, selfless story into a romance.

And, my upcoming time-travel/paranormal, Eye of the Pharaoh, is based solely on my love for ancient Egyptian history and a wonderful trip to the Field Museum in Chicago!

Historical romances are a bit more complicated. While the idea can come from something around you, research is still necessary to make the story fit the time period. Because I’m a child of the 50’s and 60’s, I find the vintage era easy to write and base my stories on actual events from my childhood. I also let the wonderful music inspire me. My upcoming release, Bewitched, is set in 1960’s Chicago around Halloween and encompasses some of my favorite memories.

How about ideas for older historical romances? History books are a wealth of information, of course, but there are other places. When my mother passed away years ago I found a shoebox on a shelf in her bedroom closet. Filled with papers from the 1910’s and 20’s, it literally sang to me with possibilities. 

The box included ration stamps from World War II, a receipt for a car my grandfather purchased in 1924, and a card of pearl buttons that sold for ten cents. Each item, while of no value to anyone but my mother, shouted “write about me”, “tell my story”.

As for my naughtier, erotic romances ... those come straight from my vivid, often over-worked, imagination!

Ideas come from just about any place your mind can take you! Writers out there … unleash your inner muse and keep writing. Readers, please keep reading. You are why we do what we do!



  1. I always envy people who have lots of ideas. I'm not one of them. I will admit that when I researched my one historical book, I got enough ideas for several more--the history was fascinating!

    1. I'm the same, Liz. I research for one plot and a dozen more pop into my head.

  2. I have more ideas than I have time to write! But that doesn't stop people from saying: "I have an idea for you." and "Write my life story."

  3. I've heard the question a lot, too. Sometimes a song will trigger an idea for a concept or conflict. Mostly, those ideas just come straight from my imagination. LOL.

  4. I'm with Bonnie, lots of ideas, little time. And every book is the 'book of my heart'.

  5. Enjoyed your "look behind the stories" post, Nancy.


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