Readers, it’s my great pleasure to host Barbara Phinney today. Like myself, Barbara writes romantic suspense. But she also writes romantic comedy, which will be more than evident as you read this hilarious explanation of some of her book-related escapades. Take it away, Barbara!
A VERY DANGEROUS OCCUPATION – SPENDING TIME WITH AN AUTHOR
It all started when I convinced my friend to sneak over the border in broad daylight.
And she did.
But she was caught.
Ahh, the things we do for a good story idea.
When I mention that I’m a writer, the first question is, invariably, “Where do you get your ideas?”
So naturally, I’ve decided to answer that question here. (And maybe explain my opening sentences.) Here’s the answer. There is no simple answer. Ideas, to writers, are as nebulous as mists and as concrete as, well, concrete. Ideas, those tiny kernels that eventually become novels come from anything from newsclips, such as the town deciding to take the law into its own hands, as in Deadly Homecoming, a visit to my sister’s home in Colchester, England, as in Bound to the Warrior, (March 2013 ), or as I eluded in my opener, sneaking over the border and getting caught as with Desperate Rescue.
And as I promised, I will explain my nefarious conduct. My family and our friends were over in Maine, at a Christian camp there, just after I learned that my Love Inspired Suspense proposal was accepted. Now I needed story stuff. And what better way than to actually experience it. So my friend, also a Barbara, and I took a short trip to see what the ‘longest undefended border’ looked like. Well, guess what? It was just a wooden fence.
“Climb over it, Barbie,” I suggested slyly. “I’ll take a picture of you sneaking into Canada.”
Well, sneaking isn’t the right word here. Did you know they have cameras on the border? And that a border guard can be anywhere within minutes? (I didn’t)
Well, a very nice young man arrived, and as a ‘slightly older’ lady, I began to explain that I was a writer and began to pump him for information. This nice young man was patient, professional, and obviously wanting us to just climb back over and leave the area. We did, but I got what I wanted and so the story, Desperate Rescue, was born.
Now, sometimes, stories come from something as odd as a dress. All For A Good Cause, my wedding caper, began from a friend who belonged to a Society for Creative Anachronism and who once wore a stunning 13th-century gown, complete with all the appropriate bling. I envisioned my heroine in a long gown. And stifling in the summer’s heat, for charity function.
With Hard Target, ( I found my story came from two sources. Another friend worked as security chief at a South American embassy, and, years later, I had the honor of taking two mission trips to Bolivia. From those two unrelated incidents, Hard Target was formed.
So although writers get their ideas generally from one source, be it a setting, a news article or a personality, all writers will admit that they can come from anywhere. And what the most interesting part is, is that like a seed, the final product will never resemble that kernel of the first idea.
Which is probably a good thing, otherwise I’d be writing this from a jail in Maine.
KC: Thank you, Barbara! I loved hearing about where you the inspiration for your stories. Readers, if you have any questions for Barbara, or any comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section.