Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Inspirational Women

Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Any writer hears that question quite often. I usually quip, "At the Idea Shop on the corner of Third and Main." But, seriously, they come from everywhere. I'll tell you where I got my idea for the novel being released in just a few days -- June 1, 2013, to be exact.

I was watching a PBS TV program about the sinking of the Titanic. Out of the blue, the narrator mentioned a survivor who had lived briefly in Guthrie, Indian Territory where she had gone to seek a divorce from her husband. Huh? So, I went online and searched her name. Sure enough, this lady had traveled to Guthrie, which it turned out, was the divorce capital of the whole country in the late 1800's and early 1900's. In other parts of the country if you wanted a divorce, you had to prove that your better half was crazy or was trying to kill you. However, in Guthrie you could claim abandonment or several other reasons and get a divorce. Your spouse didn't even have to show up in court with you. There were a few stipulations, including that those seeking a divorce had to live in Guthrie for three months before the court would hear their case.

The writer in me kicked in and I thought of not one, but four different books all centered on women who came to Indian Territory seeking their freedom from a bad union. I hadn't been excited about writing another historical romance in years, but now I was bursting with ideas and enthusiasm. I enjoyed researching Guthrie, the Land Runs, and the court system in Indian Territory. I had been to Guthrie many times because it is one of my favorite places in Oklahoma. The center of town still looks like it did in 1880, except for the cars, of course. The buildings are still there. The history oozes from every sidewalk, every pillar, every post. That's why I was amazed that I  had never heard anything about it being a destination for women (and men) who were desperate to end their marriages.

If I hadn't been watching that PBS show about the Titanic, I would never have stumbled upon these fascinating stories that happened in Guthrie (and my imagination). The first book -- see how I said "first" because I'm a positive person! -- is TO SEDUCE AND DEFEND. It centers on a woman who comes to Guthrie to claim land her deceased husband purchased. However, she finds instead that she has stepped into a web of lies and deceit that lay to waste everything she believed about her husband, her marriage, and her own heart.

I'm proud of it and so glad to shine a light on a part of Guthrie's colorful history that most people haven't yet discovered.

Friday, May 10, 2013

My Favorite Two Words

Another One Bites the Dust

My two favorite words as an author are "The End." Aaaah. Almost as good as sex. Definitely better than wine or any other alcoholic beverage. I have written those lovely two words recently as I finished my new novel. It is scheduled to be released in June through Amazon.

I am already plotting my next novel, so that proves there is no rest for the weary. But that is the bane of any writer. The plots swim in your head. Some turn out great and some never quite pan out. They seemed good, but once you wrestle them into submission, you realize they simply aren't substantial enough to keep. The one I am plotting now is a keeper. I have the title, the main characters, and most of the outline done.

I like to plot and outline before I tackle the actual writing of a novel. Some writers prefer to wing it. I've tried that, but it seemed to waste a lot of time. I would write myself into a corner and have to stop all forward motion and figure out a way to get out of it or even scrap a chapter or two and take the novel in a different direction. I'd rather solve all those problems in an outline instead of as I'm trying to actually write the story and flesh out the characters. Even with a great outline, I can run into bits of trouble and sometimes I have to stop my progress to do some research.

To each his own, I say. If you want to plot as you go and wonder, What happens next? then more power to you. As for me, I like control when I write. I need to know where I'm going and how I'm going to get there. I have enough surprises, what with characters popping off and saying things I didn't plan on or even evolving into people I didn't envision. That's the joy of writing -- when the story and the characters become strong enough to take over and you hold on the ride of your life.