Inspiration is a funny thing. It’s elusive when I go out to find it specifically, but it loves to hang around when I’m least able to take care of it. For example, my first novel, Imminent Danger, the inspiration came from blowing out my knee getting off a plane at Charles DeGaulle. The following several weeks, two in Europe, the rest back home on a cane, I started ruminating on the fact that I was so incredibly pissed that I was in constant pain. The more I thought about that, the more I realized that the cane was the only thing that most people saw. A cane is weakness, a cane is vulnerability, a cane (in the wrong part of town) is potential victimhood, due to the perception of being an easy target due to infirmity.
The story started because of a woman with a cane and a monumental chip on her shoulder. That said, not every story comes from personal mishaps. Most of the time, it’s music that moves my muse to put out, so to speak. Most of my short pieces are from the running film track that my mind fills in between the notes of whatever song to which it takes a shine. Growing up in the age of music videos has tainted the way I hear music, and the stories behind it. Snippets of lyrics, or a drumbeat, and suddenly I can ‘see’ the characters, ‘hear’ their conversations, and know their motivations.
My favorite way to coax my muse out of hiding is by coupling music with scenery that I feel matches the mood/tone of whatever I’m writing. Writing a torrid sex scene while it rains outside and my mp3 player is pumping a steady stream of Sade, Jason Aldean, and Coldplay works exceedingly well for me.
The hard thing about finding inspiration is when your muse abandons you, or in my case, has a severe case of ADHD. It can be hard to stay on task and keep your focus on one story when the plot bunnies come out to play. For that, I say appease them, slightly. Write down (type out) the central thing that is going on in the scene. A brief outline should suffice. The things that stand out the most, the segments of dialogue, the setting, sometimes the characters’ appearance, that way, you can come back to it at another point, or use it later in another work if you so desired.
Honestly, sometimes finding inspiration can be like herding dust bunnies, possible with a strong enough broom, but one good breeze and you have start all over. The author’s job is to keep out of the wind. How you do that is up to you.
Dani Watson is a hard-edged, fiercely independent control operator for the Indianapolis Police Department. After breaking up with a detective on the force she’s sworn off dating cops. That is, until she is assaulted and the responding officer is one of the sexiest men she has ever laid eyes on. Jacen Fuessler is unprepared for the chaos that is Dani Watson. Instantly attracted, he’s dazzled by her great rack, her lethal right hook, and her quirky sense of humor. Through their jobs they share a life that is like two sides of the same coin. As far as Dani is concerned, that’s already too close a connection. But work and circumstance keep throwing them together and Dani is having a hard time keeping her distance from the super hot Jacen. As she begins to fall for him, things are complicated by a terrifying stalker and Dani finds out quickly that her heart and sanity aren’t the only things in imminent danger.