Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Dark Modern Plot was Born in… a Peat Bog?


Congratulations to "Jaclyn L." the winner of Melinda's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

People often ask me how I come up with the ideas for my stories.  They generally just pop into my head, often at odd times.  Anything can spark an idea.  For example, the main plot of Midnight Exposure germinated while I was watching a documentary on the ancient Druids. 

Commander-pirx at de.wikipedia
No, I don’t write historical fiction. My romantic suspense is 100% contemporary.  But I’m a hopeless geek. I’m fascinated by archeological finds and the stories behind them. 

Bodies have been discovered in European peat bogs since the nineteenth century. Some date as far back as the Iron Age, when Celtic tribes occupied this region. The properties of the marshes act as an excellent preservative, and many interesting facets of Celtic life have been gleaned from studying the remains.

Such as the fact that it’s likely the Celts practiced human sacrifice, and they did so in a variety of interesting ways, depending on the particular god(s) they wanted to appease. Immolation, drowning, throat slitting, and blunt force trauma were all used in ritual killings.

One evening, as I sat enthralled by a documentary on the ancient Druids, I wondered if there were any Druids still practicing today. The answer is yes. Obviously, sacrifices are no longer part of these rituals, but plenty of modern pagans exist. I even watched a video on YouTube of the summer solstice celebration at Stonehenge.  It was quite beautiful. It would be hard not to be moved by the sight of the sun rising over those great stones.

My story has no reflection on modern Druids. They are peaceful, nature-loving people. But my brain always twists things into something dark.  Modern, harmless pagans would not work for the dark romantic suspense that I love and write.  For my story, I would have to go old school, back to the time before science, when things that couldn’t be explained were blamed on the gods and elaborate rituals were performed to gain their favor. From this point on, my plot wheels started turning, and Midnight Exposure was born.

I will be giving away a print copy of  Midnight Exposure  to one lucky commenter.

Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST Sep. 23rd. Please supply your email in the post. You may use spaces or full text for security. (ex. jsmith at gmail dot com) If you do not wish to supply your email, or have trouble posting, please email maureen@justromanticsuspense.com with a subject title of JRS GIVEAWAY to be entered in the current giveaway. 

32 comments:

  1. Congrats on the new release, Melinda. I learned about bogs in archaeology class in college and saw pics of the Tollund Man.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane, I always wanted to learn more about archeology (and a zillion other things). Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  2. Who knew a documentary could give birth to a romantic suspense story. Love to win a copy. And the cover is awesome!! Trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trish, I get ideas from all sorts of weird places, and I love the cover, too.

      Delete
  3. Love to watch documentaries, especially since I spent 11 years teaching social studies. Midnight Exposure sounds like an awesome book. Thanks for the giveaway. jaclynlavigne@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jaclyn, history is fascinating and a great source of material for writers. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  4. I love documentaries-- I love learning new things, which probably explains why I'm a career student :). Being in science, I tend to favour science documentaries, but my dad's a bit of a history buff so I've seen plenty of those as well.

    [Random side not: peat bogs are great fun to jump around in/on... they're super bouncy!]

    And my epic TBR queue grows by one more... :)

    stalkers00(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know about the peat bogs. I would never have guessed. :) I love science documentaries as well, which is probably why I drift to science fiction every now and then. Thanks for visiting today.

      Delete
  5. Melinda, I just wanted to stop by and say I loved She Can Run, and I'm anxious to read Midnight Exposure. I agree, I've found documentaries to be a wonderful source for story inspiration. Thanks for writing such great books!
    malolsonatgmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mal. Nothing makes me happier than people who love my books. I hope you enjoy Midnight Exposure.

      Delete
  6. The History and Discovery channels have some of my favorite shows. I also love watching the Destination Truth (more for the humor), and Decoded. They spark the imagination.
    Love your books and hope to read this one soon. Congrats on your success.
    grandmabkr at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brenda. I'll have to check out Destination Truth and Decoded.

      Delete
  7. I saw a documentary about Celtic battle practices during roughly the same era. Apparently, they were fond of chopping up their enemies. Archaeologists determined by the cut markings that they definitely were intentional. A little disconcerting given that on am Celtic on my mother's side.

    I loved She Can Run and am looking forward to Midnight Exposure. I was happy to learn on Romantic Bandits that you plan sequels or more for the books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marijane, Thanks so much! Two sequels are in the publishing queue and more will follow as fast as I can write them!

      For those who missed that post, She Can Tell (sequel to She Can Run) releases December 4th. I also just finished writing Midnight Sacrifice (sequel to Midnight Exposure). It should release in spring 2013. Another book in the She Can series is underway!

      Delete
  8. I have watched some really interesting documentaries... the things you learn... amazing. Thank you for sharing with us today! Happy Autumn!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Happy Autumn to you, too, Colleen. Thanks for stopping by.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Druids have always fascinate me. They are an unknown mystical races. Their rituals are unknown to the outsiders. It will be very interesting to learn about them. What would make it more fun is when your book has something about them that we readers don't know about.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kai, one of the most interesting things I learned in my research about the Druids was that they kept no written records. Their traditions were memorized and passed down orally. This is one of the reason their history is so murky - and mysterious!

      Delete
  11. Fascinating post.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like it. Thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  12. Love the cover!!

    lag110 at mchsi dot com

    ReplyDelete
  13. It is a fascinating subject. I'm a fan of Historically related documentaries.

    I'm looking forward to reading MIDNIGHT EXPOSURE.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com


    ReplyDelete
  14. I a big fan of documentaries, also! The book sounds great, I'd love to be entered to win.

    mlawson17 at hotmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  15. This just goes to prove that story ideas are everywhere, we just have to be open to receive them.

    Can't wait to read your book!
    danao(dot)b7(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How true, Dana. That's why I'm always writing things down on the backs of receipts.

      Delete
  16. An interesting post, I'm always fascinated with the story about Druids, although I don't believe in gods but I do believe in One True God according to my religion.

    pinglecoon at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Druids were definitely part of a mysterious culture. Thanks for reading.

      Delete
  17. When I was in England, looking down on stonehenge was one of the highlights of the trip. That is a place where your imagination can run riot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Stonehenge is on my travel wish list! I'd love to see it in person. Picture can't possibly do it justice.

      Delete