Readers are sometimes surprised to find that writers do not take vacations. Even when I step away from the computer and pack my bags for fun and sun, my brain is constantly cranking out new ideas, assimilating faces, actions, conversations (I try not to eavesdrop!) and accents into the hodge-podge my mind eventually uses to create stories. I can’t turn it off. Ever. The busier the venue–airports are the worst!–the more I consciously and unconsciously ingest, to the point where my brain starts screaming, “TMI! TMI!” and I have to find somewhere quiet to reboot, or at least close myself off with some earphones and listen to some refreshing music.
Probably the number one question I get as an author is “Where do you get your ideas?” I dislike giving as vague an answer as everywhere, but that’s the truth, and it’s not always in a noisy crowd that inspiration will strike. In the book I’m working on now, the second in my Cowboy Country miniseries for Harlequin Love Inspired, my handsome alpha bull-rider Slade McKenna is an utterly tortured soul. The death of his best friend has made him hard and bitter. I have a strong sense of who he is as a man. But a few days ago, I ran across a picture of a young boy, maybe four or five years old, grinning into the camera wearing a t-shirt, running shorts…and cowboy boots.
I thought, “That’s Slade.” This is a picture of the child he was before all the bad stuff happened. Boots and all. Bam. A layer of depth was instantly added to my character.
And that’s how it happens.
Since Memorial Day is this weekend, I’d like to give a big shout out to all the military and their families, both past and present. God bless you and thank you for your service! Please enjoy my favorite singers, The Texas Tenors, in their beautiful rendition of God Bless the USA.