Tuesday, May 9, 2017

We're Sorry. We Have to Interrupt This Blog.... by Jo Ann Brown

I had just sat down at the computer here in Florida, getting ready to start my blog post, when my husband's phone beeped to announce an incoming a text. Who was contacting him on a late Sunday afternoon?
It was the security system at the house we're selling Las Vegas. But we've already got a deal on the house, and the folks buying it always contact us if they're going to come over. So who was there? The security company called a minute later, and we told them that nobody should be in the house. Now, they let us know, someone has hit the medical emergency button as well. Do we need an ambulance as well as the police? We suggest they send just a Metro police patrol over to check out what's going on. We alert the new owners, just to check with them that they hadn't gone into the house, as well as our realtor. Five long minutes later, with lots of prayers that nothing was wrong at the house and nobody had broken in, we hear back from our realtor. Another realtor had come into the house by mistake. The house next door to ours is also for sale, but they don't have a sign in their yard, so when the realtor pulled onto our street, she went to our door. Now the houses don't look alike and the numbers are obviously different, so she was embarrassed. Once we knew what was going on, we just laughed. And laughed harder when our buyers asked if the potential buyers next door had kids because they're eager for playmates for their little ones.
Why am I sharing this? Because readers often ask me where I get ideas for my stories. Here's a good example. One of those that's listed under the heading of "I couldn't make this stuff up." Will the events go into one of my upcoming books? The chances are really good, though there will be enough changes made that nobody involved will recognize themselves. Most of my books have some aspect of something that's happened to me or my family in them.
For example, in A Ready-Made Amish Family, my fifth Amish Hearts book, out this month from Harlequin Love Inspired,
two of the children in the story have health challenges. They were inspired by issues my two daughters faced as young children, and my characters had the same questions and the same experiences that we did. It gives the story an air of authenticity as well as allowing me to know all the parade of emotions my hero and heroine would be feeling.
So when I get interrupted when I'm working, I always hope the interruption will provide fodder for my next story. Right now, I'm being interrupted again... This time by a sound of something out in the leaves under the bushes at the front of the house. Is it just a squirrel? Could it be a snake (and I have to confess that I find snakes fascinating)? Perhaps a lizard? No matter what it is, it'll be interesting...and who knows what ideas it will spark?

18 comments:

Pamela Tracy said...

LOL, I always get my ideas from real life. Example, last night my sixth grader came home and told me he'd invited a girl to the junior high dance THIS Friday. He had already accepted a birthday party invitation. And really, my son is 12. Taller than me. 12.
His first dance, sniff.

Later, my husband tells me that lost a dare and the consequence was asking a girl to the dance. Luckily, he had a girl he pals around with, and he asked her.

What a great beginning to a romance,

For one of my books, not for Mike, he's 12.

Lisa Carter said...

Kids are great inspiration. Especially teenagers. My girls and the things they say have often provided the spark for dialogue in my books. They also keep me "current" with what's in and what's lame.

Leigh Bale said...

Drama, drama, drama! Glad it worked out well.

Allie Pleiter said...

I confess, I do not find snakes at all fascinating. Not. One. Bit. But yes, everyday dramatic details do often send us writers into "imaginative tizzies." Occupational hazard?

Donna Gartshore said...

It always fascinates me to hear where author's get their ideas from! I'm a big fan of Amish LI too.

Jo Ann Brown said...

Now snakes I find interesting, but let a cockroach anywhere near me -- doesn't matter if it's dead or as teeny as my little fingernail -- I freak. One of my sisters is the same way about spiders, and my mom couldn't be around anything like a mouse (including hamsters and gerbils, though she was okay with guinea pigs). I'm sure someone somewhere has done a study of why we have these "yechie! gross!" reactions as well as the ones where we want to run in the opposite direction.

Hmmm...something else to use as an idea in a book.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter said...

Real life inspiration is always the best, Joann. Snakes! Eek!!! But I'm even more afraid of spiders!

Lenora said...

I got an idea while I was away at another beach location with some old friends. The security guard was like a raging bulldog. He was rude! He will show up in a book. Then a really nice and great looking man and his son helped me get my buggy full of groceries and shoes into the elevator. They will now become a single dad and his son on vacation and the heroine will be the ditzy blonde who got lost in the parking garage. Loosely based on me!!! Such fun!!!!

Mary Alford said...

I so love it when real life people make it into our books. Such fun. If only they knew.

Deb Kastner said...

What a great story! But snakes? Eww. Just eww!

Heather Woodhaven said...

Often the most crazy elements in my stories are often are inspired by life. Glad I'm not alone. Ha!

Angel Moore said...

I'm seriously considering a motorcycle accident victim after my husband's recent events. Some things turn your world upside down, and you have to laugh or cry. May as well make the most of it. :)

Leann Harris said...

Being a writer, the first thing that comes to mind when something goes wrong is this would be a great story. I misread the invite to my 20th high school reunion. I night before I was to leave, I reread the invitation and the reunion was the weekend before. My first reaction was wouldn't that make a good story.

Debby Giusti said...

I'm always weighing whether a situation will fit into a story. My debut was based on our security alarm sending a silent signal to the police department, unbeknownst to us. Not long thereafter, a police car stopped in front of our house and two policemen jumped from the car and hurried toward our door, weapons in hand. I apologized for our mistake, thanked the sweet men for responding to the call, and then started writing the opening to the story that would eventually find a home with Love Inspired!

Jo Ann Brown said...

I guess write what you know -- and have experienced -- is great advice. Thanks for sharing, ladies!

Terri Reed said...

Too funny! I could totally make a story out what happened at your Las Vegas house.

Cate Nolan said...

Don't you ever wonder what people who aren't writers think about all the time? Rarely does a day go by that I don't come up with an idea for a story. Obviously not all of them are worthy of being written, but the ideas just keep popping.

Christine Johnson said...

Now that is definitely fodder for a future story! Love it.