Kimberly Lang on the Idea Behind "Magnate’s Mistress…Accidentally Pregnant!"

by Kimberly Lang, author of Magnate's Mistress…Accidentally Pregnant! (Harlequin Presents, February 2010)

People often ask writers where the ideas come from, and while some authors are good at answering that question, I’m not one of them.  Sorry. My brain is a messy place — full of 80’s music lyrics, John Donne poems, the phone number of my old dance studio, random grammatical terms (like “pronoun antecedent”), my mom’s chili recipe, Buffy trivia, the rules for Crazy Eights, and that thing I really need to do today if I ever remember what it is…

Usually, I couldn’t tell you how anything fights its way to the surface of that mess for a million bucks. It’s survival of the fittest in there, so an idea really has to have some oomph to it if it’s going to make it.

Sometimes, though, something will spark and really get my attention.  (Remember when I blogged about that Miss Manners quote that gave me Evie for The Millionaire’s Misbehaving Mistress?)  I love when that happens, because it gives me a story to tell when folks ask where an idea came from.

And I just happen to have one of those stories for my February book, Magnate’s Mistress…Accidentally Pregnant! Yay!

I had the bones of the plot and the characters (but no, I have no idea where those ideas came from), and I was making good progress on the book, but it just lacked something. I wasn’t sure what it was lacking, but pantser that I am, I had the belief it would come together eventually if I just kept writing.

Then I hit a snag. My hero, Chris, is a champion sailboat racer and his boat needed a name. It seems like a small thing, but the fact I didn’t know the boat’s name really bothered me.  Sailors are a superstitious lot, and I knew the boat’s name would be important to my hero.

So, off to the internet to search Boat For Sale listings to get ideas for the name of Chris’s boat…

After a lot of searching, I found a listing for a boat called Circe’s Magic. I liked the way “Circe” looked on the page when I typed it, and I like the way it sounded.  Circe would be a great name for Chris’s boat. But who or what was a Circe?

Back to Google…

Turns out, Circe is a character from Homer’s Odyssey.  (Don’t tell my Classics professor I didn’t know that.  He’s under the mistaken belief I actually read it.) Circe is the sorceress Odysseus meets on his journey; she’s also the one who turns Odysseus’s men into pigs.  She’s an important part of the story, because she provides Odysseus the information he needs to get home.  Circe and Odysseus were lovers, and, when Odysseus leaves, Circe is pregnant.

Hello, sparks!

It all seemed to dovetail quite nicely into what I already had for this book: A sailor, a woman on a faraway island who enchants him (and frustrates him), an affair, and an accidental pregnancy. Perfect! All of a sudden, I was finding all kinds ways to weave mythology through the story to tie everything together, and Circe – both the myth and the boat – became an important part of the story.   I went looking for one small piece of the puzzle and found more than I’d expected (and didn’t even know I needed).

I love those moments!  Yes, they make for good stories to tell here, but they also make for great books!

So have you ever gone looking for an answer, only to find the answer to a question you didn’t know you had?


Pregnant by the wild and wicked billionaire!

Ally Smith might have dumped her cheating fiancé, but she refuses to waste her non-refundable honeymoon in the Caribbean!

Trying to embrace her freedom, Ally meets sexy stranger Chris Wells… Not recognizing him as the famous thrill-seeking tycoon, Ally throws caution to the wind and allows Chris, with his hot body, to sweep her into an even hotter summer fling!

But back home Ally realizes that, unlike her tan, memories of their wild night will never fade… Oh-so-sensible Ally is expecting the playboy's baby!

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Comments ( 11 )
  1. Andrea AKA Smarty Pants
    January 25, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    I love it when a plan comes together. I had a book where I needed just the right piece to tie it all up. A little googling and I found the perfect foil for my mousey heroine – a Sumerian goddess with a ravenous appetite for men and power. I was off and running. Love it. I read the Oddessy in 9th grade – it wasn’t too bad. I love mythology.

  2. Lucy King
    January 25, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Kim, I loved this book – and the Odyssey refs. Hooray for lightbulb moments! (Could really do with some for my wip ;))

    I reckon Greek and Latin mythology is a mine of ideas. I once tried to use the myth of Diana and Acteaon for a scene but it didn’t quite work…

    x Lucy

  3. Maisey Yates
    January 25, 2010 at 4:40 pm

    Kimberly! That book sounds fantastic! And I’m going to assume that Chris isn’t messing around on his poor, faithful wife Penelope… 🙂

    I’m so glad to hear someone else say ‘I don’t know where it came from!’ my mind is a scary place, and, like yours, filled with many things. Though I replace Buffy trivia with LOTR trivia. 😀 Who knows where the ideas come from!? Somewhere to the left of ‘really cute shoes I’d like to own’ and right next to ‘professional athletes that I think are hot’

    This book sounds like a must read to me!

  4. Nicola Marsh
    January 25, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Love how everything slotted together, Kim.

    That’s why I love research so much…you go for a wander and come up with all kinds of exciting links and lightbult moments.
    Love it!

  5. Tweets that mention Kimberly Lang on the Idea Behind “Magnate’s Mistress…Accidentally Pregnant!” at I (Heart) Presents --
    January 25, 2010 at 9:59 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Harlequin Books, Preeti-RomanticSFBks. Preeti-RomanticSFBks said: Amazes me author wouldn't know Circe. My Grk myth fangirl roots showing RT HarlequinBooks: Harl Pres..based on Circe?.. […]

  6. Kimberly Lang
    January 26, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Hey everyone! Sorry I’m late — I’m out of town today.

    I just love when a book comes with a bonus like this. Lucy, I need to look up that myth, but you go for it! (And I’m glad you enjoyed it. I brought your book with me on vacation.)

    Maisy, I’m glad my brain is not the messiest of all. I just wasn’t willing to admit there was a large part of my brain devoted to shoes! We’ll have lunch and shoe shopping soon!

    Nic– I’m really a lazy researcher, but I love the stuff I do find when I’m out there!

    I’ll check back tomorrow. I’m relaxing in the mtns this week and internet is spotty at best.

  7. Heidi Rice
    January 26, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Oh I love those moments too…. And I loved your book. Greco-Roman mythology is gold dust for inspiration. And I loved Homer’s The Odyssey even though I had to study it for A’Level and yes I’m bragging here because I actually did read it.

    One of my favourite scenes though is from Virgil’s The Aeneid in which Aeneas (a sort of Trojan version of Odysseus) seduces Dido the Queen of Carthage, has a year long affair with her then leaves in the middle of the night without telling her. She stands on the cliff watching his ship sail off then stabs herself with his sword and throws herself on to a bonfire. Very tragic and romantic. Have always wanted to use that somewhere, but just couldn’t figure out how to fit the bonfire bit into a Modern Heat!!

    I’m with Mira on the LOTR trivia btw.

  8. JJ
    January 26, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    I like the way you wove the mythology into the story. You, also, crated a story from Circe’s point and wove that in as well.

    I love when I read a book and get a bonus lesson in Greek mythology 🙂

  9. Caitlin Crews
    January 28, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    I left a post a few days ago, but it seems to have gotten lost in the ether!

    I’m very excited for this book. I love using myths in stories, and I especially love Circe. I used to listen to that Suzanne Vega song, “Calypso,” on repeat, and try to imagine the Odyssey from her perspective. And now I can just read your book!


  10. Marilyn
    January 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

    This makes the book even more special. I love Behind the Book info and have been putting them in my review. This will go in yours Kimberly. xx

  11. Kimberly Lang
    January 29, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Heidi — All of Odyssey? The whole thing? Wow…

    JJ — so glad you liked it!

    Caitlin — My comments tend to get eaten too. I guess ours are especially yummy!

    ~waves to Marilyn~ Hope you enjoy the book!