Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Back in the driving seat

Barb back again… and I’m very grateful to Sophie for taking care of this for me while I had my head down. I still have my head down, actually. Deadline is zooming fast towards me, but the bulk of the work is done. So I can pop in here to say hello.

One of the things authors get asked all the time is: Where do you get inspiration for your romances?

So in case you’re wondering that, too, here’s my answer…

When you’re accepted as a Mills and Boon author the editors implant special romance sensors in your brain…


Well... OK, no, it's not quite like that... unfortunately. But seriously, I think I do keep my antennae on full alert for anything remotely suitable for a romance story. I get my ideas from everywhere… images I see in real life, pictures, music, lines from songs, newspaper stories.

I was sitting at the end of the Magnetic Island jetty once, and I saw this gorgeous, tall, dark and
handsome man coming off the ferry. And he was carrying a baby doll… A baby doll! And with no sign of a little girl accompanying him.

Why? I wanted to know and my imagination kicked in and supplied possible answers. That’s how an idea might be born, but the image might sit on the back burner for months, even years, before it grows into a fully realized story.

It surfaced in Christmas Gift: A Family when Hugh turned up in a little outback shop and wanted to buy a baby doll.

And it came up in another way in the book that's coming out next, In the Heart of the Outback, which will be out in April in the UK and North America and May in Australia and New Zealand.

Here are the opening paragraphs of that story. As you can see, the baby doll has morphed into a teddy bear. And I’ll hope you’ll also be intrigued and want to know more.

The man standing a few feet from Fiona looked as haunted and desolate as she felt. Too shocked to cry, too numb to feel pain.

He was wearing an oil skin coat, dark and shiny from the heavy rain outside and he stood rock still in the middle of the busy emergency ward, unaware of the staff ducking around him.

His skin was the suntanned brown of a man of the land, but shock had leached the tan from his cheeks. His eyes were dark and hollow, disbelieving. And although he was strong looking, tall and muscular, his shoulders were stooped, his chest caved in, as if the air had been sucked out of him.

He was clutching a teddy bear spotted with raindrops.


Nicola Marsh said...

This is gorgeous, Barb.
Truly evocative.

Phillipa said...

Barb, you do write such powerful emotional stories and I love the idea of your 'antennae twitching' as you see ideas for stories!

2paw said...

Now you are just taunting us with your excerpt!! For me, it is smells that often evoke memories...and certain foods too.

Barb said...

Thanks, Nic and Phillipa. 2paw, I agree that smells are wonderful for bringing back memories, often memories you'd almost forgotten.
When I was teaching, the Yr. 12 students had to write an autobiographical piece and in the early stages of that unit I would get them to think back to their very first memories of the senses -- first sight, smell, sound, touch. They used to love it and it really helped get them 'in the zone'.

allyblake said...

Gorgeous as always Barb!