Conversations with Barb and Jann

April 2, 2012 by in category Archives tagged as , , , with 6 and 0
Home > Writing > Archives > Conversations with Barb and Jann


Where Do You Get Your Story Ideas?


Barb: Hey Jann, someone at work asked me where I get the ideas for my stories. Interesting question. I thought we’d talk about that subject, because it fascinates me to hear authors talk about all the different ways they’ve come up with their weird, wacky and wonderful plots and characters. I can blame OCC and Dean Koontz for my current WIP. I sat in an Ask an Author session at an OCC meeting awhile back and one of the ladies talked about her paranormal project. Something clicked, a witch was born, along with her familiar, a ferret who can disappear and reappear at will, like the dog in Koontz’s Relentless.

My Dream Makers trilogy, which sits awaiting a paranormal makeover, was inspired by my husband’s car club, the Orange County Mustang Club. They were approached by the Make A Wish Foundation to restore a Mustang for a teenager. The foundation’s representative said they don’t do a lot of makeovers because of the liability, and they especially don’t cover the engine rebuilds. That got me thinking about the children whose wishes are unfulfilled because they are either too expensive, too dangerous or pretty darn impossible. Well, my Dream Makers foundation loves a challenge!

What about your stories, Jann? From where do you draw your inspirations?

Jann: Most of my story ideas generate when I’m someplace new, especially when I’m on vacation. Seeing new places and being relaxed always opens a window of ideas. I know some people start with characters and some with plot. I seem to start with a location and think about what my characters are doing there. Recently I spent the weekend at The Oaks at Ojai. Entering the beautiful lobby, I found myself imagining my heroine coming back to the beloved family-owned resort and having to face the one man who broke her heart. He is now trying to steal the resort that has fallen into financial difficulties. From that point on, every experience I have has me thinking of another possible scene. It’s great. The only trouble is when I’m travelling with non-writing friends, they don’t understand why I’m always writing down a note or taking a picture of the restaurant dining room.

Your question got me thinking about how some of our mutual writing friends get their ideas, so I asked them.

Linda O. Johnston, who I’ve known for years and writes a Pet Rescue Mystery series as well as Romantic Suspense and Paranormal for Harlequin, says, ”Ideas are everywhere! I read. I eavesdrop. I ask questions and brainstorm with friends. I look around me and think how things I see might fit into a story. I usually have a theme in mind, or at least the kind of story I intend to write–cozy mystery, paranormal romance, romantic suspense or whatever. I let my subconscious mull on what I’ve seen or heard… and then I spill it out in stream of consciousness onto the computer to see how it fits!”

Laura Drake, who we met through OCC and just recently sold her debut novel The Sweet Spot in a three-book deal to Grand Central, says, ”Plots come to me many ways — riding my motorcycle, watching bull riding, seeing an old wreck of a house, talking to a friend. It’s a spark – something that catches my attention and fires my imagination. What if . . . And I’m off!”

Tessa Dare, 2012 Rita finalist for A Night to Surrender, finds that she’s ”very much a character-driven writer. Many of my stories originate when I think of two people on polar opposites of some personality trait or issue. For example, a woman for whom family and hospitality are paramount, paired with a man who can’t stand social gatherings (One Dance with a Duke). Or a shallow, charming rake paired with a scholarly, socially awkward geologist (A Week to be Wicked). The more my hero and heroine are opposites on the surface, the more fun I can have pushing them into uncomfortable situations that reveal their deeply-buried similarities.”

Barb: Linda Johnston is right. Ideas are everywhere. The trick is finding one that resonates long enough to finish the damn book!

Let us know where you get your story ideas.

Author Details
Author Details
A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

#Me Too

Buy now!
#Me Too

A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

Buy now!
A LADY’S POINT OF VIEW

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS
BECKONED, PART 1: FROM LONDON WITH LOVE

CITY OF BLAZE

Buy now!
CITY OF BLAZE

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

COWBOY KARMA

Buy now!
COWBOY KARMA

DANGER MUSIC

Buy now!
DANGER MUSIC
FATHOMS: A NOVEL OF THE PARANORMAL

FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

Buy now!
FREYA Viking Glory Book Two
FUR, FEATHERS AND SCALES: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Animal Tales

GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

Buy now!
GIRLFRIENDS & SECRETS

GIRL IN THE MIST

Buy now!
GIRL IN THE MIST

HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

Buy now!
HAGAR’S LAST DANCE

HOSTILE WITNESS

Buy now!
HOSTILE WITNESS

ILONA’S WOLF

Buy now!
ILONA’S WOLF
INTIMATE RELATIONS

LEIF Viking Glory Book One

Buy now!
LEIF Viking Glory Book One

LET IT SNOW

Buy now!
LET IT SNOW

LOVE NOTES

Buy now!
LOVE NOTES

SAVAGED SURRENDER

Buy now!
SAVAGED SURRENDER
SNOW IN LOVE: Sweet Romance Holiday Collection

STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT

Buy now!
STOLEN KISSES FROM THE VISCOUNT

SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE

Buy now!
SUPERHERO IN DISGUISE
THE DAY BAILEY DEVLIN’S HOROSCOPE CAME TRUE

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

Buy now!
THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR

THE FIX UP

Buy now!
THE FIX UP

THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

Buy now!
THE GHOST OF DEPFORD HALL

THE LIFE OF RILEY

Buy now!
THE LIFE OF RILEY

THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

Buy now!
THE ROGUE’S LAST SCANDAL

THE WOULD BE MOMMY

Buy now!
THE WOULD BE MOMMY
THIEVES: Book One of the Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

WELCOME TO LOON LAKE

Buy now!
WELCOME TO LOON LAKE
WHO’S THE FAIREST? A Sisters Grimm Anthology
#PLEASE SAY YES (#HermosafortheHolidays Book 1)

HER LOST LOVE

Buy now!
HER LOST LOVE
CHRISTMAS ON NANTUCKET AND OTHER STORIES

CLEAR INTENT

Buy now!
CLEAR INTENT
COLTON 911: CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIRE

DARK WINE AT DUSK

Buy now!
DARK WINE AT DUSK

DEAD BLOW

Buy now!
DEAD BLOW

FOR A GOOD PAWS

Buy now!
FOR A GOOD PAWS

FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

Buy now!
FREYA Viking Glory Book Two

GAME TOWN

Buy now!
GAME TOWN

HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

Buy now!
HAUNTING MISS FENWICK

HER COWBOY KING

Buy now!
HER COWBOY KING

HIDDEN BETRAYAL

Buy now!
HIDDEN BETRAYAL

HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

Buy now!
HIS HIGHLAND SURPRISE

LEIF Viking Glory Book One

Buy now!
LEIF Viking Glory Book One
LOST WITNESS: A Josie Bates Thriller
OFF THE RAILS: A Collection of Weird, Wicked, & Wacky Stories

ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

Buy now!
ONCE UPON AN ENCHANTED FOREST

ONE TASTE TOO MANY

Buy now!
ONE TASTE TOO MANY

REWRITING THE PAST

Buy now!
REWRITING THE PAST
SERIOUSLY, MOM, YOU DIDN’T KNOW?

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN
SHORT and SWEET’S FAMILY ALBUM

THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

Buy now!
THE CHRISTMAS PRESENT

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

THE DEVIL’S CARESS

Buy now!
THE DEVIL’S CARESS

THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

Buy now!
THEIR HIGHLAND BEGINNING

THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
THE MASK OF MIDNIGHT

THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE

Buy now!
THE OBLIVIOUS BILLIONAIRE
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE RIDGE, NEW YORK, 1930
THE WITCHES OF NEW MOON BEACH BOXED SET

THE WITCH OF BERGEN

Buy now!
THE WITCH OF BERGEN

THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT

Buy now!
THE WORTH OF A VISCOUNT

TRACKING SHADOWS

Buy now!
TRACKING SHADOWS

TWO BITES TOO MANY

Buy now!
TWO BITES TOO MANY
WINTER WISHES: A REGENCY HOLIDAY ROMANCE ANTHOLOGY

    ×
    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Barb!

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't agonize over the typos. You posted a comment, Ger! That's the main thing. Jann and I are trying to write things of interest – we'll get better at it, hopefully! Then others might leave their comments (maybe). Loved your post on our Slice of Orange blog site!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Don't agonize over the typos. You posted a comment, Ger! That's the main thing. Jann and I are trying to write things of interest – we'll get better at it, hopefully! Then others might leave their comments (maybe). Loved your post on our Slice of Orange blog site!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Another spelling error! I'll let this one stand because really it is a typo. I wrote "out" instead of "our" in the last paragraph.

    -Ger

  • Anonymous says:

    Barb and Jann, I deleted my previous comment because I just realized it had a mortifying spelling error. So here it is again.

    Ideas are everywhere! Flannery O'Connor once said something to the effect of surviving childhood is all you neeed to have a lifetime worth of material to write about. And I think I read once that JK Rowling said that one day, Harry Potter just popped into her head, fully formed.

    As out own OCC authors have testified, ideas come to us in so many ways – and it's all good!

    -Ger

  • Anonymous says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM