Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WHAT IS THE ONE QUESTION AUTHORS HATE TO BE ASKED?


Congratulations to "Amy A." and "Jackie M.", the winners in Dianna's giveaway. Thank you to all who participated!

I heard a well-known author speaking at a recent event say that the one question an author really doesn’t like to be asked is, “Where do you get your inspiration?”

I wanted to hold up my hand and say I don’t mind being asked that, because I remember my “pre-author” days of wondering what caused an author to write a particular story.  In fact, I actually enjoy discussing those things with readers.  

So I thought I’d give you an idea of where some of my ideas come from.

Picture this: I’m  sitting in a lunch restaurant, minding my own business (as much as any writer minds her own business).  I’m trying to type a message on my phone and swearing silently at the auto-correct, when I hear something that escapes a private conversation—something said a tad too loudly.  No, I was not eavesdropping.  Not this time. *grin*

 A nice-looking, late-twenties blonde woman is sitting two tables over.   She says in a raised voice, “What am I supposed to believe?  The letter or that guy?”  Her brunette friend hushes her in the patently conspiratorial tone of one who has just heard the mother of all gossip.

Now, the referenced letter might have informed our rattled blonde that the bank can’t refinance her house for the amount she desperately needs, and that guy could be some shyster mortgage broker who’s trying to convince her to take a loan with his company.  

But for me, this outburst offered a story possibility.  It distracted me to the point that I forgot what text message I was trying to convince my crazy cell phone to type.   

Blondie was obviously in a panic and at wit’s end, but why?  That was the moment I went off into What If Land, a fiction writer’s favorite amusement park where characters walk on scene ready to play.  Being a romantic thriller author, I went straight to that dark place where the combination of suspense and romance germinates.  

What if … the man Blondie had been married to for the past two years had disappeared—before she could finalize the divorce she’d instigated because she was sure he’d been having an affair?  But then what if she receives a letter from her not-yet-ex husband, who apologizes for all the trouble he’s caused her?  He admits that he was never in love with her, but for what it’s worth, he never cheated on her while they were together. 

He goes on to say he was in this country for a reason and needed a cover that included being married.  The good news is that he’s left her money to make up for using her,  as it was only business for him.  

The bad news?  If she was reading this letter, then he was dead and she was in danger.  She should go immediately to the FBI and ask to be put into the WITSEC program.  

She’s in shock, but starts throwing clothes into a suitcase and trying to figure out how she’s going to walk away from her life.  What can she tell the FBI to convince them to protect her? She has no idea who her husband really was or if he is truly dead. She stops packing, at a loss for what she should do. Would the FBI believe the letter, or would they think she had killed him and was trying to cover her tracks with the wild claims?  

Then what if someone knocks on her door and she freezes? Could that be a threat?  She looks out a slit in the living room curtains to see who it is and doesn’t recognize the man standing at her front door. She’d remember someone that attractive and so much more imposing than her husband—correction…ex-maybe-dead husband—but when the stranger swings his gaze in her direction as if he could feel her watching him, she sucks in air at the deadly blue eyes staring at her.  She shakes herself loose and runs to the bedroom to grab her shoulder bag, abandoning her suitcase and racing through the house to the kitchen.  

What if the front door opens with that high-pitched squeak she’d been meaning to oil? Blondie snatches up her keys on the fly and dives through the garage access door in the kitchen, only to realize the stupid garage door was still stuck open a foot off the ground. Footsteps pound behind her. She runs toward the garage door wondering if those extra pounds are going to stop her from squeezing under.  The door to the kitchen slams back against the wall and a deep voice yells, “Don’t be a fool and run.” 

Blondie feels like a bad actor in a B action movie when she drops to the ground to roll under the overhead door.  She can’t stop herself from risking a glimpse at her pursuer as she scoots through the narrow gap.  The man coming for her is all of her worst fears rolled into one. The last thing she hears before clearing the space she knows he can’t get through is, “You’re a dead woman if they catch you or you go to the police.” 

Now she sits in a coffee shop, frantic to come up with a plan and expecting tall, dark and scary to come busting in at any minute.  

And that’s just one of the rides in What If Land

I love living in this world.  It’s where I go when I’m writing my Slye Temp romantic thriller series.  
Coming This Summer!
The inspiration for NOWHERE SAFE came along when I was writing about the hero’s sister, Trish, in the prequel to the series, LAST CHANCE TO RUN.  


I knew I wanted Trish to run an antiques store in a high-end area of south Florida.  So I was meandering through a real antiques store in Atlanta to get a feel for the setting when I glanced up at the TV behind the sales counter and there was a reality show on.  I poofed instantly into What If Land.  

What if there was a reality show based on antiques appraising … and what would happen if there was a rare piece that would bring in an international threat?  And, what if the hero in the story was working undercover at the DEA Task Force where Trish’s cargo-pilot brother contracted because of his military training? And … what if the hero was there to uncover a mole, and suspected Trish’s brother of being the traitor?

And … there I went again.   

What about you?  Have you ever unexpectedly poofed into What If Land

Dianna is offering one print copy of LAST CHANCE TO RUN to one lucky winner and one print copy of NOWHERE SAFE to another lucky winner.  Please leave a comment or submit an email entry.


Giveaway ends 11:59pm EST May 22nd. 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. US and CANADA postal addresses only.

45 comments:

  1. Hi and thank you Maureen for the super job you did with setting up this blog. I appreciate having Nowhere Safe as the Featured Book. I'll be stopping by all today and tomorrow to chat with everyone. Ask anything. :)

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  2. Always happy to have you here! I woke up this morning and said, "What If Dianna Love suddenly appeared on JUST ROMANTIC SUSPENSE..." :)

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    1. haha!! I love this site, Maureen. I've enjoyed telling readers I meet about it. :) Not sure why google is signing me in as "snell" but I'll fix that. :)

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  3. Thanks for the post! Another new author for me!

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    1. Hi Jonetta - I love to find new authors here too! Thanks for stopping by today.

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  4. Oops! Forgot my email:

    Jonettaallen77 at yahoo dot com

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  5. Wow. you just sucked me into What If Land. this is a new author to me, but the books sound like great RS. So I thought, "what if" I Head over to Amazon and find out. ;-). trishleroy49 at gmail dot com

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    1. Welcome to my "daily" world, Trish J. :) I love going off into What If Land. I hope you enjoy the Slye Temp series. Thanks for stopping by to visit! :)

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  6. would enjoy winning thanks for the chance! morris.jackie49@yahoo.com-jackie m

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    1. Good luck to you and thanks for stopping by.

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  7. This is great. Since reading romantic suspense I am in "what if land" all the time. My son recently had a baseball game in a small town and the field was located outside a maximum security prision (not right next to it but you could see it from the fields and make out the inmates outside). Anyway, as we are driving by, I said to my husband, "Check out the size of that wall. Wait, are those snipers on top of it?" My husband looked at me and laughed becasue it was clear there weren't any (the town is in rural Illinois and not that big). I then said with a grin, "Or maybe my imagination got the best of me. I read too many suspense books." He agreed. I have learned from reading a lot of guest blogs and interviews that you authors get your ideas anywhere and everywhere. I love it that you do get them because then we get to read about your "what if land"!

    amy at remus dot net

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    1. HI Amy - I love the story you shared. thanks! I know readers (who don't write) have that imagination. I remember once when I was traveling in a car with my nieces (they were 10 and 12) and I told them about a story idea I had then asked for thoughts on the characters and to do with the plot, thinking to just keep them entertained on the drive. I loved the things they came up with. It wouldn't fit in the story, but it shows that everyone has a creative gene in them. I have adult friends who I'll throw something out to about a story idea and they take off into What If Land. It's a lot of fun.

      thanks for visiting today and sharing that.!

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  8. Your imagination and 'what if' stories are terrific! Will you be developing these 'what if' stories into novels? I love the sounds of Last Chance to Run and Nowhere safe - adding to my wish list now. Personally, I have a difficult time with doing 'what if'; perhaps too much of a practical streak~~
    kacbooks(at)hotmail(dot)com

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    1. Hi Karen - I never know what will end up being a story. If I don't use one (I get a lot of these ideas), then I throw it into the "what if" file and go digging around sometimes to spur a new idea. I'm always surprised, because I forget about them. That's why I constantly have something with me to write things down on. Thanks for visiting and I hope you enjoy Last Chance To Run!

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  9. We've all have those What if Land moments that come out of nowhere and you're suddenly in these weird scenarios.

    janie1215 AT excite DOT com

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    1. You're right, Jane. Mary Buckham and I were stock signing together years back and we ended up on a dark road in the middle of nowhere because the interstate had gotten jammed. I looked at Mary at one point and said, "You know we're putting a lot of trust into this GPS." That's all it took for the two of us to start brainstorming a thriller idea. We do a lot of brainstorming together for each others' books, so that's sort of natural. thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Oh I have a great imagination... what ifs come into my thoughts alot... just not talented like you authors in creating it to be shared... :)

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    1. You never know, Colleen, about having the ability to write. I encouraged a reader I knew to finish a story she'd been playing around with and she's now got an agent. Of course, the downside of being an author is not having near as much reading time as before. :) thanks for coming by to visit.

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  11. Nice post. Thanks for sharing. Not really

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Hi bn100 - I'm glad you enjoyed it. thanks for visiting today. :)

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  12. Oh heck I play the 'what if' game all the time, even when I'm not plotting! I seem to do it when I'm somewhere alone, like getting a coffee at Starbucks or going to my local library. I love people watching and adding my own spin on their lives--no that isn't just two students studying, their families don't get along and the library is the only place that they'd never suspect..no that librarian is really undercover...she's looking just a little too mousy...that couple may be holding hands at the coffee shop but there's a sadness in their eyes, etc., etc., But right now the 'what if' game I'm playing is, 'What if I won a copy of NOWHERE SAFE'? Boy I bet--no I know I'd be ecstatic! LOL! ;)

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    1. LOL, I love your what if story, Jacs. :) It's nice to have somewhere to channel all those ideas into your writing. I'm not thinking about those two students and that is SO not what I need to be doing while I'm working on Honeymoon To Die For. :) Thanks for coming out to play today. :)

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  13. Dianna, your ability to do the above is one of the reasons I love your work.

    Also, as I was the lucky winner of Last Chance to Run somewhere else, I think I should let others win an introduction to the Slye Temp series.

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    1. Ah, thanks, Walt. I know you do that just as well. I still remember that outrageous (and great) opening line you created in the workshop Mary and I gave in Atlanta. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. Oh, my goodness, the "what if" game helps me sleep. When I have too much running through my head, I make up stories. I usually have one I keep going back to, also...danger, intrigue and romance!!!
    Antonidis at aol dot com

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    1. I make up stories in my head at night, too, AmyA. :) I have to do that to slow down my thoughts too. One of these days I may just write one of them as a short story. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your sleep what if. :)

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  15. I'm one of those really early birds so I'm signing off for the night to watch The Voice (addict here) before I crash out, but I'll be back tomorrow. :)

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  16. Thanks for the fun post and congrats on the new release Dianna! LOL... I do the What If game all the time... but only in my head :) helps pass the time and make strangers more interesting....

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thank you, Erin! I had fun writing this post (of course, b/c I love taking off into What If Land ). It does make strangers more interesting. thanks for stopping by.

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  17. I have live the the What If Land for such a long time. I have to be prepare for all kind of contingencies. The worst was when a tragedy had struck in my family. I went crazy with the What Ifs. I was still living in the world of What Ifs after that tragic accident. Several years later, my Father passed away. I would have went into my What Ifs until an episode of Scrubs (TV series)grounded me. It was an episode regarding on the What Ifs choices. No matter what choices I made, my Father was going to die no matter what. It was one of those things that was meant to be no matter what choices I was going to chose.

    I'm a lot more calmer these days then living in my What Ifs world.

    kmccandle(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Oh, that's so sad, Kai. I wish only happiness and peace for you as you move forward. I appreciate you coming out to visit with us.

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  18. It is great to see you here Dianna,
    I really like both of your titles & covers.
    & Congratulations!
    Jan

    janet_kerr(at)msn.com

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    1. Hi Janet, and thanks for the nice post. I'm glad you came by to say hello! :)

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  19. Great Post. You need to just keep going into "What If" land and creating great stories for me to add to my collection.

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    1. LOL, I'll do that, Michelle. :) I sometimes zone out when my husband and I are talking about something casual and he'll ask, "new story or just off on a rabbit trail?" :) Thanks for stopping by.

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  20. I go off into "What If Land" more frequently than necessary, I think. Now to just get them all down. As Jimmy Buffett says,

    "If I could tell half of the stories
    The funny way most things begin
    Figure ways to disguise all the half truths and lies
    Find the heart of my song with the point of a pen
    Simple words can be come clever phrases
    And chapters could turn into books
    Yes if I could just get it on paper
    But it's harder than it ever looks...

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    1. I remember the last time I saw him in concert in Atlanta, Kym L. We had a neighbor who held Buffet parties and they were a hoot. :) Get those what ifs down. :) Thanks for visiting here today!

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  21. *waving HI* Howdy, Dianna - I love listening to others conversation to see what's happening in their life. I especially like the ones adults have with their young ones. Also, the convos of teens is also interesting. I've never taken it into What If Land. I leave it for authors to take me to that wonderful place. Keep up the great storytelling! (Oh, don't enter me. I'll let someone else get addicted to your stories.)

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    1. Hi Jusy *waving back* - I catch my husband leaning sometimes at a meal and ask him if he's eavesdropping. He's like "so what? when i do it is eavesdropping and when you do it its research?" He's so funny. Thanks for reading my books and for coming by! :)

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  22. Whoops. Forgot to close those quote marks. Sorry!

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    1. We just figured you kept singing. :)

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  23. Dianna, I absolutely love the Beladors series, and I've got the Slye Temp series on my To Be Read list. Dang, that thing just keeps growing longer and longer... But I digress. *grins* I go off into What If Land all the time, as I roleplay several characters from Sherrilyn's DH books. I'll be watching a movie, or listening to a song, and all of a sudden, I'm there, saying 'What if so-and-so was in this situation?' I love What If Land!
    pikafanm@wi.rr.com

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    1. Hi Pika - I think that's how so many authors get started. Their minds just pick up a thread and run with it. Before I wrote my first book, I used to paint giant murals and portraits on billboards. I'd be alone all day and just make up stories while I painted to entertain myself. When I stopped climbing so much, I started writing those stories down. :) Thanks for reading the Beladors (I am so excited to see Rise of the Gryphon coming out July 30th instead of Oct!!) and I hope you enjoy the Slye Temp series. I appreciate you visiting here today! :)

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    2. I can't wait for Rise of the Gryphon, and the cover art for that is amazing! BTW, thank you for everything you do for your fans. We love you!

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  24. I'm jumping off gang. I have to roll at 4am and will stop by to catch any late nighters then (apologies to my buddies on different continents but you wouldn't want to see what I type on no sleep...not pretty ).

    Maureen - much appreciation for the wonderful blog you put together and for having me as your guest this week. I can't wait to come back again. :)

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