Last year I wrote 5+ books. It was a lot of writing in one year, and now this month, February, I have three of those books out…all in one month.
People assume its easy for me, writing. It’s not. But once I have an idea, that little whisper or tease of a story that comes to mind, its all about fleshing it out into a vivid, emotional, passionate page-turner.
So where does that first whisper of a story idea come from? Magazines! Pictures. I’m truly visual and most of my books have been inspired by either a single photograph, or a montage, which is why I adore Pinterest. I’ve created my own visual boards for every book, from the very beginning. I need a visual board to help me get the pictures in my head right, so the words can follow.
A true magazine junkie, I tear them apart, using photos, ads, articles to
organize my thoughts, inspire characters, create a vision in my head with weight, texture, mood, color. I subscribe to a dozen magazines and destroy them in long sessions by ripping out page after page and then file them for the future.
Some of my best research and freshest ideas have come from these magazines:
1) People Magazine (especially the annual issue of “Sexiest Men”)
I love a physical, sexy, sensual, smart hero. I love both American and international heroes, and so for great faces, not to mention lots of attitude I turn to People features like “Hottest Import from Chile”, ”Sexiest Internet Mogul”, ”Sexiest Philanthropist”.
2) The Wallstreet Journal, particularly Friday’s Weekend section
My first Presents, The Italian Groom, featured an Italian vintner living in Napa Valley. The Wallstreet Journal not only gave me my information on the Northern California grape industry, but it also introduced me to a grape blight, the Napa social scene and a small winery’s expected profit margin.
My current mini-series, The Disgraced Copelands, came from a series of articles on the latest horrific Ponzi scheme, and the first book, The Fallen Greek Bride relied heavily on the articles I read about how the Ponzi scheme happened, the players involved, and the devastating consequences.
3) Vanity Fair
Some of the most interesting, informative articles about interesting, powerful people are here. I use Vanity Fair’s pictorials and articles to inspire stories, as well as flesh out characters and details. Vanity Fair published several articles about families impacted by the last big Ponzi scheme, and reading about all of those hurt, seeing their faces, understanding their shock and anger and anguish added layers to my story.
4) Town & Country
Town & Country loves the beautiful people, the beautiful lifestyle, gorgeous clothes and jewelry and travel, and I subscribe for the fashion, the features, the images and portrayal of luxury which is part of the fantasy of a Harlequin Presents.
5) Sports Illustrated
I swear by the in-depth athlete profiles featured at the back of each issue. The articles are beautifully written, moving, and insightful. I’ve learned a lot about tough men, loving men, and broken men. These guys, nearly all Alpha males, dream big. They’re not perfect but oh, how they try.
And then there’s my new love, Pinterest.
You can see all the inspiration for The Fallen Greek Bride there, http://pinterest.com/thejaneporter/, as well as my boards for dozens of other Harlequins. I love creating by pictures. It’s fun. It’s beautiful. And it just feels good!
Are you on Pinterest? Or are you a magazine junkie? I’d love to know what puts pictures in your head!