Readers always wonder where a writer’s inspiration comes from. They’d be surprised that it isn’t always from pictures of hunks or hunkettes.  Even I’m surprised sometimes at the ideas I get.


For me, the star of my latest release, Undercover Lover (available at Siren), is Liz Aspen’s coach house. It’s based on a real building that my husband and I discovered on our walks in our neighborhood. I don’t remember which came first, the characters or the house. I just knew the house would be an important feature. Sam Bolt lives in an apartment in the Victorian next door and yearns to know the owner of the pretty, homey coach house. It was exciting to imagine the interior and to draw up my own idea of the plans.


My very first published novel, Ancient Ties (available at Loose Id), a time travel to Roman Britain, was inspired by my visits to the Roman Museum in Bath, England.  The first time I was there, I took a photo of a Roman soldier’s tombstone. When my pictures were developed, the outline of the tombstone was clear, but the carving in the middle was hazy. I joked that the soldier was reaching out to me. Three years later I returned to Bath with my new husband and took the same photo.  This time, it was clear all the way. I guess my soldier approved of my choice. The outcome? A novel starring Janney Forrester, who travels back in time to meet Roman soldier Marek Benin Verus in Aquae Sulis, the Bath of the 2nd Century. 



One of my favorite stories, but then they all are, is Mercenary Desires (coming soon from Siren). This story was inspired, believe it or not, by a cough drop commercial on TV.  It was amazing how said cough drop transformed an unattractive man into a major hunk. I took the idea a bit further and created Rowdy Pierce, mercenary. He saves the life of Sara Stewart, upscale jewelry designer. All Sara sees at first is a scary, bearded hulk of a guy and ends up falling for the tender, gentle, fierce lover who cleans up quite well.


Inspiration is both the joy and the bane of a writer’s existence. We’re not like “normal” people. We don’t just read a newspaper article, see something on TV, or spot someone out on the street and let it go. Writers, as naturally as breathing, come up with a story snippet, a genesis of characters, sometimes a whole new world.


So, fellow writers, I invite you to share the inspiration for ideas you’ve had. Or, if you’re not a writer, can you imagine something inspiring you enough to yearn to write a story about it?


Please visit my website for more information about me and my work – Jane Leopold Quinn


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