Monday, November 26, 2018

Where do you get those ideas from? By Belle Calhoune



So…where do you get the ideas for your books from? If I had a dollar for every time I’ve been asked that question I would be rich beyond measure. I have a feeling I’m not the only one.  People are always curious about the inner workings of an author's mind.  I suppose we authors seem to be very fascinating and mysterious characters.  Being an author is viewed as glamorous and our ideas seem like they are spun from gold. HA!!! 

Ideas are the treasure chest of any author.  Everything stems from our ideas.  Without them, we really don't have much of anything.  Just blank pages staring back at us.



I once attended a writer’s conference where the luncheon speaker asked the audience of several hundred writers, “How many of you have always had characters and ideas running through your head?”  I raised my hand and as I looked around the room I noticed almost everyone in the crowd had also raised their hands.  As authors, most of us aren’t in control of where our thoughts take us.  And this isn’t to say we don’t have to plot or brainstorm and we may occasionally deal with writer’s block, but we have the capability of putting it all together based on our big idea. For me, that's the fascinating part.  Writing a full novel out of an idea is not for the faint of heart.  It takes a lot of resilience, brain power and, dare I say, courage. 

Don't you just love the moments when the lightbulbs turn on?  This is my favorite moment when I'm working on a novel.  It's as if every idea comes together in one big arc of a storyline and I can feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins. Sometimes I even get up from my desk and do a little celebratory dance.  


I recently signed a four-book contract with Love Inspired for a series set in Owl Creek, Alaska.  One of my readers asked me where I’d come up with the name Owl Creek.  I thought about it and said, “It just came to me.”  And that’s the truth.  I had an idea centered around a small, faith-filled Alaskan town steeped in secrets.  Yep! This series is bringing the drama.  It kind of makes me smile remembering all the years I watched Dallas when I was in junior high and high school!  I was hooked on the juicy stories.



Alaska interests me because it is so unlike anything I've experienced before in terms of a setting.  I grew up in Massachusetts and now live in Connecticut, so I'm a perpetual New Englander.  My goal for 2019 is to set foot in Alaska.  My husband has wanted to go there for ages and now that I've been writing Alaska, it is high on my bucket list.  

Where do your ideas take you? Any great trips being planned for 2019?





20 comments:

  1. Belle, it is so true that ideas for books sometimes just come to us. I especially like it when an issue to the plot just comes to me, making all the pieces fall into place. I would love to visit Alaska someday. In the meantime, I watch every show I can about the breathtaking state and think, one day. Congrats on the new contract.

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  2. Hi, Mary! You're so right. The best part is when all the pieces fall into place. That's when I let out a big sigh of relief. I can't wait to get to Alaska. I'm determined to make it happen. And I also watch all those Alaska shows. They give me inspiration to make the journey there.

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  3. I hope you get to Alaska! WOW! And I love the light-bulb moments. They make all the struggles worth it.

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    1. Hi Katy! I really am committed to going. It was always my husband's dream and now it's mine as well. I can't wait to make it happen in 2019. I'm on deadline for my first Owl Creek book and seriously loving any and all light bulb moments.

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  4. Hi Belle. Can't wait visit Owl Creek. Alaska is on my short list, but for 2019 it will be Scotland.

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    1. Hi Jolene! Thanks so much. Scotland! I'd love to go there as well. So many wonderful places in this world to visit. So many places, so little time.

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    2. Oh, I wish, Jolene. Scotland is definitely on the wish list.

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  5. I get my ideas from everywhere--sometimes I don't even know where they come fro

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    1. Hi Margaret. That's exactly how I feel. The ideas just pop into my brain so it's hard to even articulate their genesis. I guess that's why we authors have special brains. They take us on amazing journeys.

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  6. I hope you get to experience Alaska one day soon, Belle! We, um, tried a couple of years ago--did the land tour first (which was great!) followed by a cruise. However, the cruise portion was cut short when my husband had an onboard accident and had to be flown to a hospital in Juneau. Not exactly the way we had hoped to conclude our Alaskan adventure!

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    1. Hi Myra! WOW! You really had an adventure while on the Alaskan cruise. I've heard though that those cruises are wonderful. My dad went on one about ten years ago. I would love to do the land and cruise combination. Praying it happens in 2019!

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    2. LOL--I think we're done with cruising for a LOOOOOONG time!!

      My favorite part of the land tour, though, was seeing sled dogs in training and their pups!

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    3. WOW! I would love to do the sled dogs. I had that as part of one of my Love Inspired books. My daughter has also mentioned wanting to experience it.

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    4. Oh! I remember that, Myra. We were all praying for you.

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  7. What a great post, Belle. I absolutely love that lightbulb moment. It is a high like no other, but there is one thing that comes close for me. The moment that first inkling of an idea pops into your head. The adrenalin rush of that is so cool. I feel like I could fly when that moment hits.

    I almost have to laugh about the where do you get your ideas question. Where don't I get them has an easier answer. It can be something as fleeting as seeing a white dog backlit by sun, and my brain is off and running. And yes, that really did spur a story idea.

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    1. Hi Cate! There is a huge rush that comes from that lightbulb moment and those first moments when an idea plants itself in your brain. You're so right. Ideas are everywhere. Sometimes I see a flash of a news story and I wonder....can I turn this into something?

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  8. I was just reading an article on the northern lights. I’d like to see Alaska one day. In 2019 I may be going to Germany with the hubby. Or Australia. Or wherever he’s sent for work. We may take a vacation to the beach but nothing firm yet.
    And yes I get that question often. I find playing what if... is a good game.

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    1. Hi Terri. Sounds like you have a lot of exciting travel choices. We're also supposed to be going to France and England. And I really would love to see the Northern Lights. It's a dream that I sure hope comes true.

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  9. Agree Belle, it is really amazing what will spark an idea. Love your Alaska idea and owl Creek, can't wait to read your series, congrats on that.

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    1. Thanks so much, Marie. I really enjoy writing books set in Alaska, which is really funny for a born and bred New Englander. Hoping to make that great trip to the last frontier.

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