When they ask that, I’m kind and gentle, and tell them that I see something and it just gives me an idea. I say that because if they knew what was really going on in my head at any given moment when I’m working on plots or scenes, they’d probably run, screaming, as fast and as far away as they could.
My stories always have a little romance (or a lot), because I’m a romantic at heart. I did have some co-workers who read An Unsinkable Love who said they could no longer look at me the same way they did before. Hmmmm. I’m not sure how to take that.
I also have to have history in my stories, because I really, really like history. I think we should pay a lot more attention to it so we could quit making the same stupid mistakes over and over. Or else we think we’re so smart because we created something technological, and disregard the inventions made, and work done, by people with not much more than stone hand tools or rudimentary metalworking. We seem to think all the generations before us were less intelligent and there must have been aliens helping them do these amazing things. I don’t necessarily agree, and try to incorporate some of those incredible feats in my writing.
Then there’s the mystery and suspense, even in my romances. Mystery and suspense often include dead people or near-death experiences and can be slightly messy. I do like that little shiver that goes up my spine when I’m wondering what’s going to happen next and how much more trouble I can get someone into.
I absolutely hate those scenes where they have some dumb person going into the one place you know the evil “thing” is, or backing down a hallway without checking over their shoulder, or other silly movie plots. I want my protagonist (usually the heroine because I tend to write mainly from a female point of view) to be smart, and strong, and IF she gets herself into a pickle, to generally get herself out of it without having to be rescued. But since there’s a little romance in there, too, the hero might have the opportunity to participate in some rescues. I believe in equality, so in one of my historic romances my heroine rescues the hero from certain death.
I have taken workshops on stun guns, how to blow up a house without getting caught, what kind of gun would be best in specific circumstances, what type of bug I could use to cause an undetectable death, have books on poisonous plants, and information on lots of other very weird and deadly things. I mentioned in a previous post that I hope I’m not on some watch list because of my on-line research. In Pickup Artist, I have a serial killer with a fetish for spiders and shoes. In another I have a sexual deviate antagonist. Another has a sociopathic Civil War pirate. And the next Bad Carma story has a terrorist attack in an airport.
So I guess the truth is I get my stories from real life. History has an unending supply of strange and unusual events and people, as do today’s news shows (but I generally can’t bring myself to watch them). I have a whole file of ideas based on things I saw on history or military TV shows, or read in books, or stumbled across while doing research on something else. Someday, most of those things will end up in a story somewhere, you can pretty much bet on it.
THAT’S my story, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to read those stories and maybe you’ll remember this post and know there are a few less strange or unusual thing floating around in my head, because now they’re out in the world for all to read.