From my guest post on Best Selling Reads
As writers, we often get questions on where our story ideas come from.
They come from a story in the news, something read, an observation from the world, or discussion with friends. Something out there tugs at the corner of the mind: What if? What would happen if? What if that was merged with, Why did that …?
Today, we’re going to explore where six of the Best Selling Reads authors got their ideas for a completed work or a work in progress. Douglas Dorow – author of the FBI thriller THE NINTH DISTRICT
The idea for my second book in my FBI thriller series, that I’m currently writing, came from an event a few years ago.
On a summer afternoon, my wife and our two kids were visiting a beach at a Minnesota state park. While I was resting in the sun, my wife was wading in the water where the kids were playing. I heard her calling to me with a tension in her voice that got my attention right away.
I sat up and saw her standing in the water, pointing to a spot in front of her. She told me her wedding ring slipped from her finger into the water.
We looked for it for a while, but we couldn’t find it.
We returned to the beach a couple of weeks later, armed with a metal detector that my wife rented. Exploring the area we found pieces of metal and her ring!
After putting her ring back on her finger we checked out the other pieces of metal. There were tire weights, rusted metal grommets and a dog license from 1941. That last item got my attention. How did a dog license from 1941 end up in the water at this beach?
I thought about that for a while and put together a story line and a thriller that begins with my protagonist, FBI Special Agent Jack Miller, finding a 1941 dog license at the beach after his wife loses her wedding ring in the water. Andy Holloman – author of SHADES OF GRAY
The seed for my first novel, Shades of Gray, came from a real life experience. I was a travel agency owner for 12 years and we had a client who made unusual requests whenever she purchased airline tickets (and she always traveled First Class). One day, the sales person that managed her travel reported to me that this client was murdered, execution style, in her home, and the home was set on fire. Based on the news story reporting this event, it appeared that she was involved in smuggling drugs.
In 2003, my business was in rapid decline and I couldn’t shake the thought of what a business owner might do to try and save their company. I never crossed the line into drug smuggling, but the seed was planted and the story remained stuck in my brain, haunting me day and night. So I just had to write it down!!Diane Capri - author of DON’T KNOW JACK part of the Hunt For Jack Reacher Mystery/Thriller series
The idea for my book, Don’t Know Jack, and my entire Hunt for Jack Reacher series was sparked by a conversation with my friend Lee Child at an event in New York City. We were discussing our work and the subject of Reacher naturally came up.
I asked, “Where is Reacher, anyway? Between books, I mean? And what about all of those people he’s helped over the years? Whatever happened to them? And really, is it even possible that he hasn’t fathered a child or two?”
Lee replied, “He does what he wants and lives where he wants and helps who he wants. Besides, who in their right mind would go looking for Reacher? You?”
Not me. No. But the question lingered. “Who in her right mind would go looking for Jack Reacher? And maybe more importantly,why?”Raine Thomas author of YA fantasy romance BECOMING
I’m often asked where I got the inspiration to write my YA fantasy romance books. Here’s my response:
Becoming was inspired by my work with youth diagnosed with mental illnesses and/or behavioral disorders, many of whom endured multiple foster home placements. Becoming‘s protagonist, Amber Hopkins, is loosely based on a seventeen-year-old young woman with whom I worked. Like that young woman, Amber bounces from foster home to foster home, developing emotional issues as a result. I wanted to write a story about a young woman who experiences this type of difficult past and finds the strength to overcome it, like the young woman who inspired the story. Kathleen Valentine author of THE OLD MERMAID’S TALE – A Novel of the Great Lakes
When I was a kid my godparents lived in Erie, Pennsylvania, and every summer I was allowed to go and stay with them for a week or two. My godfather, Uncle Buddy, would always take me down to the docks and show me the big ships–”lakers” that came into port–and tell me stories about the ships and the legends that surrounded them. There was a tavern on the waterfront called The Mermaid Tavern and I was absolutely mesmerized by it.
Later, while I was in college in Erie, I used to take the bus down to the docks just to see the big ships and always I had to check on The Mermaid Tavern. It just looked dangerous, and my Uncle Buddy warned me that I’d be in big trouble if he ever caught me going in there.
About ten years after I graduated from college, I went back to Erie for a visit and, by this time, I was well-experienced at going in to bars. I was determined to go into The Mermaid Tavern and have a drink or two. I was so excited! But when I got down to the docks I discovered that the whole waterfront had been “urban renewed,” and The Mermaid Tavern was now a fast-food restaurant. I was crushed, but that is when the idea for The Old Mermaid’s Tale began to grow in my mind.Tawdra Kandle author of FEARLESS
When my kids were babies, I used to joke that if I woke up in the middle of the night and thought about them, they seemed to ‘hear’ me and awaken as well. That made me wonder what that would look like. . .raising a child who had that ability. What would you do to protect her? How would she turn out? Those musings morphed into Fearless, Book 1 in The King Series. Tasmyn refers to her parents’ discovery of her extraordinary talent; how they responded to it informs the girl she is at the beginning of the series as well as the young woman she becomes by the end.