If you aren’t familiar with Brenda’s work, her books are just a fraction as lovely as she is as a person.
Here’s my interview from RT convention last year.
Brenda says the one question she gets most often as a published author is:
Where do you get your ideas?
When I first started writing I had THE GREAT IDEA. It was based almost entirely on a title that popped into my head one day—OF NOBLE BIRTH. This title lent itself to a very specific theme: whether one is noble or not depends on the heart and not the pedigree. That was the message I wanted to deliver, and I knew the best backdrop for a story with such a message would be a historical setting where the caste system was firmly in place, so I decided that my book would be a historical romance set in Victorian times.
The idea for my first novel lived with me for five years while I added two more children to my family, researched the time period, taught myself the craft of storytelling and created characters that would be interesting enough to help convey my theme (the hero was born to a rich duke who rejects him because he’s imperfect–he has only part of one arm). You’ve probably never heard of my first book, so you’ve already guessed that OF NOBLE BIRTH did not become the next GONE WITH THE WIND. LOL But I did get lucky enough to sell the first manuscript I’d ever even attempted, which isn’t all that common, and the publisher let me keep my precious title from which all else had sprung (publishers often change a manuscript’s title to something they feel is more marketable).
As exciting as that was, however, I soon realize it was NOT the only idea I would ever need if I wanted to make my living as a published author. In order to build my career, I needed to write another story, and another, and another. In other words, I had to develop my imagination and turn it into a deep well of ideas from which I could draw time and again.
I didn’t know how I was going to do this but, fortunately, our brains are very adaptable. The more I demanded that my imagination deliver IDEA NUMBER 2, the harder it began to search. Before long, my mind turned into a “sifter.” It sifted through everything that came my way, every conversation I overheard, every funny anecdote I was told, every movie I saw, every newspaper article I read, every true crime show I puzzled over until I could pull an attitude from one character I’d come to know via a TV show, mix it with a situation my mother had mentioned the week before last, throw in some of my personal experience and…I was off and typing.
Some days, I still fear I will run out of ideas. For a time, while writing my last project (a romantic suspense trilogy–INSIDE, IN SECONDS & IN CLOSE), I couldn’t come up with what I wanted to do next. My publisher kept gently nudging me to give them information about the stories I planned to write for 2012 so they could get started on the covers, but I had no clue what to tell them. I thought my sifter had failed me after forty books. But just about the time I finished IN CLOSE, I decided I was ready to change things up. I wanted to return to the small town romances I had been writing in the beginning of my career. As soon as that became clear, I was suddenly able to write FIVE short synopses, all for a small town contemporary series set in the fictional town of Whiskey Creek (in the heart of Gold Country, which isn’t far from where I live). I thought I’d changed gears completely–but then the idea for a whole new suspense series came to me, too, and suddenly I was more stocked up with story ideas than ever before.
Now for the time to spin all them into finished books….
In order to win one of these great books, just answer one of Brenda’s questions in the comment section at the end of the post. Don’t forget to leave me your email so we can contact the winner!This Giveaway is US/CAN only please.
Here’s what Brenda asked her readers:
Do you mind when authors change genres?
How do you think they can write different kinds of stories and still be
true to what you’ve grown to love about them?
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