It was the summer of 2022. The tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas had thrown me for a huge loop for a whole bunch of reasons:
- Uvalde is only a five-hour drive from where I live in South Texas, so it felt like it had happened in my own backyard
- The mother of a student at my sons’ school was killed in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, so I’d had a firsthand view of the toll gun violence takes on a family and their community
- The kids who were killed in Uvalde were right around the age of my own children at the time, and as a mom, it was impossible for me not to imagine the horror of losing a child in that way
I dreaded reading the news but I also felt compelled to read it. As more details were released about the lack of action from the police in Uvalde on that terrible day, I felt worse and worse.
Anxious. Depressed. Incapable of putting pen to paper and getting words onto the page.
I needed a real-life hero to restore my faith in humanity.
And then, in July, I found one.
A Real-life Hero
I first heard about Nick Bostic in a clip on a news show talking about how a pizza delivery man had left his home without his cell phone in the middle of the night after having an argument with his girlfriend. While he was driving around, he saw a house on fire. Unable to call emergency responders, he stopped his car and ran into the home to see if the residents were still inside.
Or at least, their children were. The owners—a married couple—had gone out for a date, and their 18-year-old daughter was babysitting her three younger siblings and one of their friends.
He rushed the kids outside, only to discover that their 6-year-old sister was missing. Without skipping a beat, Nick ran back inside.
After searching and searching, he finally found the little girl, but the smoke was too thick for him to find his way back out from the first floor. He ran up the stairs, broke a second-story window and jumped to safety with the girl in his arms.
In a video clip released by the police, the first thing Nick says after handing the child over to the emergency responders is, “Is the baby okay? Please tell me the baby’s okay.”
That, I remember thinking, is a true hero.
Suddenly, I knew exactly how I wanted to start my next book, Their Unlikely Protector.
Here’s the blurb:
The last person Valerie Williams expects to rescue her and her toddler twin brothers from a fiery blaze is Brett Richardson, her high school nemesis. But with her house burned down, Valerie is forced to stay at the same inn as Brett and work with him on the town festival.
Now Brett has the chance to make things right, but can Valerie let go of the past to make way for a future together?
It won’t be out for another six months, but if the blurb sounds interesting to you, I’d be honored if you’d add it to your:
It’s also worth noting that Brett has appeared in both Falling for the Innkeeper and The Baby’s Christmas Blessing, so if you’re interested in getting to know him a little before Their Unlikely Protector comes out, you can always check out those two books!
From the News to Bookstore Shelves
Many of my fellow authors have likewise drawn inspiration from news stories.
Julie Carobini’s creative juices started flowing after she read an article about someone who received a 100-year-old postcard in their mailbox and then tracked down the recipient’s descendants.
Chasing Valentino, which sounds like a fabulous read!
I hadn’t planned on moving in next door to a grumpy neighbor—a doctor with eyes as blue as the Pacific Ocean.
But when a 100-year-old postcard with a romantic message showed up in my mailbox, I had two choices…
Ignore it and go on with my quiet mid-western life. Or…
Fly to sunny California to find out who sent it all those years ago—and why.
News articles have also spurred Carolyn Miller to write new novels, including Fire and Ice, a book that spotlights the trials and tribulations of being a female sports reporter.
In doing her research, Carolyn says she “came across articles that talked about the abuse female sports reporters faced—with everything from hot dogs being thrown at them to death threats—just for being female!”
Yikes! That sounds absolutely terrible, but her book (which I read last year) was great!
Hannah Wade’s heart might’ve once been touched by a rancher’s son, but her real passion has always been sports. When her sports career is cut short by injury, she jumps at the chance to be one of Calgary’s first female sports reporters.
Trouble is, some of the old dinosaurs she works with think she’s only there to look good, add ratings, and stir controversy among the fiercely loyal hockey fans. She longs to prove herself, so when an opportunity comes along to interview newly traded defenseman Franklin James, she meets him. Or, more accurately, re-meets him.
With disastrous effect.
Have you ever wondered how Elizabeth Maddrey came up with the idea for her Billionaire Next Door series?
She explains, “A few years back, some geeks on Reddit got mad when hedge funds started shorting GameStop stock. So they made a big showing and drove the price up. Anyway, that spurred the scenario of how my guys become billionaires.”
I love that scenario, and I love this series, too! If you haven’t read it yet, here’s the blurb for book 1, The Billionaire’s Nanny:
When I convinced my friends to join me in a scheme to play the stock market, it paid off beyond our expectations. Honestly, most days I don’t even remember that I’m a billionaire. But it was big news for my family. In fact, my cousin made me guardian of her son in the event something happened to her.
At face value, it sounds kind of nice.
But I never really knew my cousin.
And I only found out about her decision a week before the kid showed up on my doorstep.
Thankfully, the woman who brought the boy out to me on the plane is willing to stay and be his nanny.
She’s going to look after the kid.
I’m going to look after my heart.
And finally, Lindi Peterson’s book Rich in Hope was inspired not by a news story, but by a commercial…and a wildlife photograph!
After seeing some coverage of the Victoria’s Secret Christmas show a few years ago, Lindi started wondering about what would happen to those models if they suddenly couldn’t model anymore…and had no other marketable skills.
And then, what would happen if one of those same models met an intrepid wildlife photographer like the one Lindi saw hugging a lion…in this amazing photograph!
When beautiful underwear model, Jenny Harris, is scarred from a botched facial surgery she finds herself distraught and not in the Christmas spirit.
Her best friend, Katherine, offers her brother’s Florida waterfront home for a holiday sabbatical. But when Stephen returns home unexpectedly, Jenny can’t understand his lack of compassion for her situation. Meanwhile, he can’t understand her obsession with her looks.
But Jenny soon finds herself falling for the renegade photographer who’d rather spend his time in the wilds of the jungle than in civilization. Will Jenny’s new perspective on life give her the hope she’s been searching for, or will it only lead to broken dreams and a broken heart?
Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? Or read a book that had similarities to a news story you’ve read or heard about?