Welcome to the first post of Dear Author Friday!

Dear AuthorWhat the heck is Dear Author Friday? Thanks for asking. Shortly after I became published, fans would shoot me an e-mail with a particular question and I’d respond back. A few weeks ago, I realized how many questions and answers had accumulated over the past three years and decided it might be fun to share them. So beginning today, l’ll post some of those questions and answers every other Friday.

WHERE DO YOU GET THE IDEAS FOR YOUR STORIES?

A casual conversation with friends, a newspaper article or even a television show can spark the beginning idea for a story plot. So far, the premises of my stories have dealt with the social issues I’ve experienced and/or taught as a public health educator for the past twenty-plus years. Trust me I’m not talking about your typical run-of-the-mill romance story plots, either. I love to take real-life issues individuals face every single day and spin a romance from it.

Now you would think after I’d come up with the idea that sitting down and outlining the story would be a fairly simple process, right? Well, most times it isn’t. Let me share an example.

It was Thursday, May 27, 2010. On this day, I walked through the doors at the Port of New Orleans with gleeful anticipation. After a grueling, but successful two-month promotion for my latest release, If I Were Your Woman, I was about to board the Carnival Triumph. The last thing I wanted to think about was another story. All I wanted was to enjoy total relaxation and kid-free bliss on my four-day sail to Cozumel, Mexico.

However, weeks prior to my cruise, I’d grappled with an idea for my next story. I’d become so acquainted with the persona of my characters, that I knew them as well as I know my best friend. Scenes from this yet to be named story boomeranged in my head. The premise for the story had even settled in my spirit. Still, I couldn’t take all of this and connect the dots. Oh well, I’ll deal with it after the cruise or at least that’s what I told myself.

The cruise was fabulous!! On day three, I spent hours shopping in Cozumel and had a few mango margaritas along the way. After dinner that evening, I made my way to the ship’s lower deck. Alone with the coolness of the night air at my face, I stood with my arms draped over the rail. For a moment, I glanced up and studied the stars. They were crystal clear against the velvet black skies. Then it happened.

Upon a midnight clear, the story I’d struggled with for weeks flashed before me from beginning to end.

No, I will not go on a cruise every time I have trouble outlining a story :LOL: Here’s my point: The problem wasn’t that the story wasn’t there. It was. The problem was me. I wasn’t in a place to receive it. Before the cruise, I was juggling a zillion projects. But once I got into a setting where I was uninterrupted by the hustle and busy of life, the story manifested itself. Ever been there??

Until next time – stay well and be blessed!