Emerging Writers: Guest Post #18 How a romantic suspense writer dreams up her ideas
Arlene Kay has written a number if romantic suspense novels. As erotic fiction is doing so well these days I wanted to ask her a question, how sexy and steamy are your books, Arlene?
Arlene — Actually they’re pretty tame. True, my characters make physical contact but the scenes tend to be sensuous, not smutty. After all, these books are ROMANTIC suspense. Besides, any sentient female would launch herself at the kind of alpha hunks that I dream up!
Readers and writers of mysteries know that a well-constructed plot with plenty of twists is crucial. Here are a few resources that have aided me in accomplishing this task.
1. Newspapers. Trite as it may sound, I get some of my best inspiration from reading news accounts of actual crimes or things that should be. For instance, the main plot element from INTRUSION was gleaned from an article in the Boston Globe Science section about the vulnerability of implantable medical devices. Subsequently (well after my book was published), that same plot element was used in both NCIS and Homeland.
Two accounts in the New York Times sparked my plot in DIE LAUGHING. One was a puzzling suburban murder; the other mentioned the recent sale of a high-end comic for over 1 million dollars! The point of course, is that by combining actual events with the writer’s imagination, good things can happen. I scan the NYTimes, Boston Globe and Washington Post each day and clip things that might be useful later.
Confession time: I also read the obituaries to find unconventional names and/or life events that resonate with me. One of my favorites, Euphemia Bates, is featured in SWANN DIVE.
2. Internet bonanzas—at your fingertips. Time and money issues often prevent us from actually visiting the places we write about. Don’t worry—authors can find a wealth of detail right on the Web that will anchor their story. For instance, most restaurants feature menus, photos and other descriptors. Every town has its own website with a wealth of detail about the community.
Check out real estate sites for virtual tours of the homes and neighborhoods your characters populate. Blogs and websites are often useful for capturing particulars related to your topic.
Finally, when building my protagonists and fellow travelers, I find photos that portray these imaginary friends as I see them (they are impossibly gorgeous, frequently famous faces) and construct a poster-board. Using all these elements makes the creative process less onerous for me.
Author web site & blog
Author twitter feed
Thanks Arlene for being our eighteenth guest post writer. I am very interested in where writers get their ideas from and I am sure other writers will be too. You are absolutely right about the internet being an amazing resource in so many ways for us.
This guest post is part of an ongoing series in 2013 where I will be showcasing emerging writers on this blog.
You can help by clicking through to their sites, buying their books, sharing this site on Twitter or Facebook and coming back, or by Following this site (click the button above right), to see who is next in a few days.
And if you are a writer and want to be featured send me an email email@example.com and I will send you the submission guidelines. If you have sent me a post and are waiting to be featured and promoted to my 125,000 followers on my Twitter accounts, please be patient, I will get to you.
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