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The Temptations of the Muse

September 16, 2008 by in category Archives tagged as , , ,

by Linda McLaughlin

USA Today reported that in an interview with The Sunday Times, John Le Carre, British intelligence agent turned thriller writer, said he was “tempted to defect to the Soviet Union”. Le Carre, real name David Cornwell, joined British intelligence in 1949. He wasn’t sympathetic to Communist ideology, but he was “curious about what was on the other side of the Iron Curtain”.

Is he a writer, or what?

As an author, I can understand where he’s coming from. The muse is always whispering in our ears, asking questions and making suggestions. When I was writing my historical romance, Rogue’s Hostage, which was set in Pennsylvania and Quebec, I jumped on the opportunity to attend a conference in Toronto. Then I talked my husband into joining me afterwards so I could see Quebec City for myself. We had a lovely vacation, I got great visuals of the area I’d be writing about, and I found research material that would have been much harder to find in California. (This was in 1994 before so much was available on the internet.) This experience helped me to write a better book.

A few years ago, my publisher, Amber Quill, started looking for gay romances, something I’d never thought I’d write, but my muse had different ideas. I shocked friends and family by taking this step, but my sales are up and one of my stories was an EPPIE finalist. Sometimes the muse knows best, though I’m glad Le Carre didn’t defect. Otherwise we’d never have had The Spy Who Came In From the Cold, The Constant Gardener, and dozens of other books by a terrific author.

What has your muse tempted you to do?


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