It seems nowadays everyone is a “published” author. With the introduction of self-publishing, everyone is afforded the luxury of being able to release a book to the world that they have written. With the rare exception, it would appear the days of signing on with big box publishers are slowly dwindling away into obscurity.
While this isn’t necessarily all bad, there still needs to be some creativity and freshness to the books and storylines we are choosing to release. I mean, how many times can someone write the same old story about a husband seeking revenge for his murdered wife? Or the always predictable romance/erotica novel? Or that action/adventure book with the same plotline as the thousands of others out there?
I, myself, am a part of that last group, as I write a series of my own. While it’s not a series in the true sense, meaning you don’t have to read them in chronological order to get the gist of what’s going on, I do have the same main characters in each book. The action/adventure genre is a widely popular one, so it is a little trickier to come up with plausible, yet entertaining, plotlines. But still, there needs to be some creativity and freshness with those ideas.
I write what I like to call “somewhat historical fiction”. I take an historical account of something and then turn it into something fictional. My first book, Lost Voyage, for example, is based on an account of the Ship of Gold, an eighteenth century steamship which sank off the coast of the Carolinas in 1857. Upon reading about this ship, my “what-if” radar started going off. What if there was another ship no one knew about that was carrying overhaul from the first ship? What if that ship also sank? And since no one knew about it in the first place, what would happen if that second ship resurfaced 150 years later? And what if that ship turned into a battle of life and death for two sides?
These are all things that go through my head when I read things. I’m always planning the next great adventure in my own mind. My second book, Whispering Death, is the same in that regard. I took an actual historical event and turned it into a somewhat fictional tale, while still trying to maintain the integrity of the account I based it on. And that train of thought will be the same for the next twenty (or more) books in this series.
From there, it’s a whirlwind rollercoaster ride of ideas, twists, and turns to write the complete book. My inspiration at that point comes from my main characters, who I base on real people in my life. Having a closer connection to the story allows me to write more freely without having to create a thousand new worlds or personalities. Believe me, if you knew some of these people who are characters in my book, you would understand why I call them “characters”.
My inspiration also comes from hours of research on a topic. Since I use actual historical accounts, I spend an exorbitant amount of time learning about eighteenth century steamships and World War Two bombers. I do this because I want to maintain a sense of realism even though I’m creating something fictional. I feel that if my reader can connect to the story on a more personal level, then they will keep coming back for more of those fresh and creative ideas in the next book. Plus, I get to look a little smarter when someone brings up the topic of steamships…
Where do you get your inspiration from and how do you come up with ideas for your stories and characters?
As always, thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading!