Of all the questions I get as an author, this one ranks at the top. Everyone is curious how a writer can take a blank page and turn it into a story. As Thomas Edison famously said, it takes 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration (He was speaking of genius, but we’ll just pretend he was speaking to a not-even-close author of inspirational contemporary western romance novels.)
I would like to take a dive into that 1%. Every single author I’ve ever heard answer this question starts by saying everywhere. And truly, that’s how it happens. Overheard conversations (Okay, I stink at eavesdropping, being nearly deaf, but I love watching body language when people are having conversations.) I can guess how long a couple has been married by the way they act towards each other. I can also see the ones who have fought through the rough patches (because every marriage has them) and come out the other side stronger, with a more mature, lasting love.
I get ideas from news. From movies and television. From road trips and vacations. Even from church songs and hymns.
But today I thought it would be fun for you to see a couple of new ideas I have percolating—both stemming from photos.
The first photograph was taken twenty-five years ago at my brother’s wedding. The adorable ring bearer is my sister-in-law’s younger brother, and the little girl is my Annie. (Both are adults now. Gracious, how time flies!) Annie reached up and straightened Tyson’s bow tie and the photographer got the perfect shot.
I recently attended my niece’s wedding—yes, my brother’s daughter—and the little boy who had been the ring bearer all those years ago officiated at the ceremony. Thinking about that picture was all I needed to spark the what if in my head. What would happen if those two children ran into each other as adults? At a wedding? When their families were feuding?
The end result is my novella The Cowboy’s Christmas Wedding, which will be featured in a boxed set called Cowboy Under the Mistletoe this Christmas season.
The second photo doesn’t yet have a home in one of my books, but you can bet it will. All of you who know me know I spend a lot of time writing about and talking about horses, one of my childhood dreams made real on the printed page. You may also know I have a serious thing for piggies.
My sister, who owns Happy Haven Farm and Sanctuary, recently posted pictures of Romeo the pig and Sunny the horse frolicking in the field together. They are seriously best friends. They don’t even appear to notice the…differences. There are so many lessons to be drawn from this, don’t you think?
And you can bet that one day soon you’ll see a scene with a horse and a pig who are best friends.
Deb Kastner’s latest book from Harlequin Love Inspired is The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing.