Book Ideas

One thing we authors are always asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” How many times have you been asked that question? Do you have any cute, short, snappy answers?

Well, I don’t. I wish I did. So people would say, “Oh, cool!”

Ideas for my books come from everywhere. My second book was written because I drove 4 times a week by a house which captivated me. Two times to babysit the first grandchild and twice for Pilates at my daughter’s studio. I fell in love with this house. I dreamed about the house. I took my husband by and made him pause briefly so I could take a picture. That picture formed the basis for the cover of TRUTH BE TOLD, a book I hadn’t even begun to write yet.

photo(26) Truth Be Told 200x300

Vacation visits to Vermont gave me the location for my first published book, VERMONT ESCAPE. I fell in love with the small town of Woodstock.  We’d visited twice before I wrote the book, and then later we visited again. It was interesting how different the town looked from what had been in my head when I wrote the book. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t remember it right, but more like creating something new out of my memories. If you’ve ever in Vermont, you must stop by Woodstock. It is the quintessential New England town. Stay at the Woodstock Inn. So charming. IMG_5548 (Had to go back to photos. First trip was before we did fancy phones. 🙂 Top pic became home of the hero’s childhood home. Bottom used for descriptions of area.)

ACT OF TRUST grew from trips to Maine. In Boothbay Harbor, we stayed in a VRBO cottage that took my breath away. You know how on HGTV, when the people walk into the newly remodeled house and are blown away with their mouths gaping open? That’s the way I feel whenever I enter this cottage. After the first visit, I wrote the book. Two years later we returned, and it was just how I remembered. Must’ve taken good pics. 😊 My cover artist, Charlie Volnek, did a great job using the pic I took from the back balcony for the book cover.

MRW iPhone Oct 2013 022  51AoTTvhxHL

Each of my books starts from a location. I ask who could live here? What could they do? Why do they live here? What do they want and why can’t they have it? And on and on until I come up with characters and conflict. One place we’ve visited, I asked “Why in the world would anyone live here?” I’m convinced its filled with folks from Witness Protection. Another book sometime?

The idea for this blog came because my husband sent me an article about child abuse, drugs, vice, sex trafficking all happening on a street not far from some elementary schools that were in my district area when I was on the school board years, and years ago. It’s call “The Trail.” It was a grim article about a grim situation. So another location, and I suspect another book idea.

Authors, where do your ideas come from? Tell me the snappy answer you use when you’re asked. And readers, (though we are all readers), what are you really asking when you ask us, “Where do your story ideas come from?” Are you perhaps a writer in waiting? Don’t wait too long to put fingers to keys and put those ideas on your computer.

Love to hear from you.

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18 Comments Add yours

  1. Great article, Marsha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kathryn Jane says:

    I always admit I have no idea where they come from 🙂 I just put my hands on the keys or pen to paper and words pour out! I believe Nora Roberts said when asked the question at one of the “meet the author” events at RWA Nationals …” I don’t know. It’s just magic.” 🙂 So there’s a short answer for you. “Magic.” 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh, Kathryn, I love that answer. I’m stealing it from you and Nora. Not bad company to be in. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Interesting post! My inspiration comes from almost anywhere…courses I’m taking, situations I read about in the paper, movies I watch, eavesdropping on conversations…The short answer: “Almost Anywhere.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Joanne. I think non-writers are searching for some way to explain how we do what we do. You’re right the ideas come from almost anywhere. I’m kid-sitting one of my grands, but will head over to my blog to see how we’re doing over there. 🙂


  4. vicki says:

    Mostly from dialogue when someone says something and my head goes Bing! However, I have been known to say I’m going to write about a specific topic and the fingers fly. Like Joanne says, magical.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Vicki. Love it coming from dialogue. I don’t think I’ve ever started writing without doing quite a bit of pre-writing. You and Kathryn are amazing to be able to do that. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.


  5. I love the house you drove past every day, Marsha. I can totally see why it provided you with inspiration. I think that’s typical of writers that they ask themselves questions: who lives here? What do they do for a living? What has been their past, and how did they get here? My husband says I’m nosey 🙂 but being curious about other people is a good trait for a writer 🙂 Loved your post, and am looking forward to your release!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Helena. Yes, I disagree with your husband and agree with you. It’s curiosity. But what’s that cliche? Curiosity killed the cat? LOL Well, I certainly kill off a number of folks in my books. Think in the next release, no one actually is killed by someone else. Is that cryptic enough? Humm.
      Thanks so much for stopping by. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. S.A.Taylor says:

    I am always interested in how other writers come up with their ideas for stories. Thanks for sharing, Marsha! I agree there is a little MAGIC to it and sometimes very hard to describe what provides the inspiration. I’ve become more observant to everything around me which gives me lots to work with for plots and characters.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey, Stephanie. I so agree with you about writing makes us more observant. I find myself stopping to analyze a scent or the touch of the wind in my hair. And don’t get me started on the way people dress, though I don’t use a lot of that in my books. But once my observer button got turned on, it’s hare dot cut it off. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


  7. Love the ‘magic’ answer! It is magic when something we see or hear can trigger a story. It reminds me of looking at clouds when we were kids and finding shapes in them. Sailboats, elephants, dragons, all became stories in our heads 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, Jacquie. Yes. I think “magic” will be my answer the next time I’m asked. And it is like looking at the sky and seeing things. I had tile in my old master bath and I always saw faces in it. In our lake house, the patterns are more subdued, but every now and then I see things there, too. We are privileged to dabble in “magic.” Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that you mention this! We have tile on our bathroom floor and I swear I can see faces etched into a craggy background! I’m not crazy, lol

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I love your post, Marsha. Every single one of my book ideas came from life experiences, something that I lived or experienced. 🙂

    All the best to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Susan. I’m amazed at folks who write ScFi or Fantasy. Those folks are making it up out of whole cloth (to use an old cliche). But then I don’t understand pantsers, either. That is definitely magic. Thanks for stopping by.


  9. Nancy Radke says:

    I loved your answer. Magic is probably the best way to describe where ideas come from. That’s where I get some ideas. Others come when I realize that I have to write a book, and so I put someone in a situation and start writing. I actually start in the second chapter (usually) and then go forward and backward until a story begins to develop. Then I trim and expand and start twisting until I have a story. I am definitely a pantser.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marsharwest says:

      Hey, Nancy. Starting in the second chapter. Interesting. I have gotten myself to not start really writing until I’ve started a couple of times. Probably doesn’t make sense, but I generally write 2 to 3 chapters to get myself to the real beginning of the book. It took me a while to realize the beginning of the story was not where I needed to begin the book. 🙂 I’m in awe of pantsers. You have the true Magic. Thanks for stopping by.


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