Saturday, May 17, 2008

Weekend Wind-Down - Story Ideas with Kathleen O'Reilly

The PHS welcomes Harlequin BLAZE author Kathleen O'Reilly this Saturday with the answer to that common question:

Where Do You Get Your Ideas??????

People ask me where I get my story ideas, and I always tell the same answer. The New York Post. For those of you not familiar with the paper, it’s a combination of news, gossip, yellow journalism (sometimes) and actually pretty good investigative features. If there’s anything going on in New York that involves a) payola b) sex c) fame or notoriety or d) rich people, the New York Post is going to write about it first.

Today’s installment talked about the CNN anchor caught in Central Park with his pants down. Another story told how a man paid $175,100 at a charity auction for a Red Sox jersey that was buried in concrete at the bottom of Yankee Stadium. And then there’s the tale of how the City Council is paying out to non-profits that don’t exist -- stirring speculation of a money dodge to funnel city dollars into people’s profits (the investigation is ongoing). That’s only one day, Saturday, a traditional slow news day, and doesn’t even include Page Six, where all the gossip that’s not fit for print goes.

The cornerstone of the Post’s popularity is the headlines. I would love to write headlines for the New York Post, sitting around in the office all day throwing out punny humor. Some past classics include:

It’s enough to make your head explode (and probably make the Post in the process).

The paper has a surprising respectable history, considering its tabloid style. It’s over 200 years old, founded in 1801 by Alexander Hamilton. However, it’s been the source of many, many pot-shots since Rupert Murdoch took the helm in 1976 because there *might* have been times when they got caught tilting the truth. Since I use it as a creativity resource, rather than a source of factual data, I’m okay with that.

Reading the Post is a very guilty pleasure, practiced daily by nearly three quarters of a million New Yorkers, including me. Every morning, my head is filled with new and deliciously scandalous ideas, and sometimes it’s a story that I can write, and sometime it’s a little factoid that worms it’s to the back of my brain until I find a place where I can use it. I love the Post. I didn’t intend to keep my subscription when we first moved to New York (we got a free trial), but it was too tempting. When I sit down to breakfast, those scintillating pages call to me and it never fails to stir the creative juices. Real life is SO much stranger than fiction.

If you’re looking for story ideas, or simply an entertaining way to pass the time, I highly recommend it:

Kathleen’s latest book, Nightcap, was inspired by several different New York Post stories. The names have been changed to protect the innocent, and all characters are fictionalized, and not based on anything other than what Kathleen thinks would be fun.


And some lovely news to add! A brand new heroine has entered our midst. Our very own Pink Heart Society editor, Jenna Bayley-Burke has very quietly sneaked off and had a bouncing baby girl! And as if that wasn't enough incentive for you to go visit her BLOG to see baby pics then it was also Jenna's BIRTHDAY yesterday. So pop on over and wish her well!!! Sneaky secret keeper that one!!!

Congrats Jenna sweetheart!!! From all of us here at the PHS...


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