Saturday, February 07, 2015

A Little Something for the Weekend - Finding the "Magic" Idea

The Pink Heart Society is delighted to welcome Harlequin Intrigue author Elizabeth Heiter, as she talks about where she finds inspiration for her books...
Book ideas – where do they come from? 
It’s probably the second-most asked question I get from readers (second only to “But you look so sweet and normal. How do you write such dark suspense?”). 
Sometimes, writers can point to an exact moment, the initial spark, that fueled an entire book – or series. Other times, we shrug and are forced to admit it’s too hard to pinpoint. That first “What if?” question – What if I created this kind of character? What if this happened, what would I do next? – is lost, because it’s been ruminating for months in the back of your mind before it suddenly shot forward, full-fledged and ready for the page.

This week, that’s what I’ll be doing – taking that spark of an idea that’s been floating in the back of my mind and fleshing it out into a full, layered plotline. 
My brainstorming “helper,” plotting her own book ideas (my parrot, Buddy!)
I’m at the beginning point with this next book. I have that flame of an idea, that “What if” question, but I don’t yet know the answer. 
But this is the fun part. 
It’s the time to consider all the different possibilities, all the red herrings, all the different ways you can really challenge your characters – and then throw those out, and push harder, for even better, more unexpected choices. I can’t wait to get started!

I’m working on the fourth book in my suspense series, The Profiler series, and I can still remember the exact spark for this series about an FBI profiler who was driven to do the job when she was twelve and her best friend disappeared and was never found. 
I had picked up a book on criminal personality profiling, read about a person who could go to a crime scene with no useful forensic evidence, no promising suspects – a case destined to go cold – and change the outcome. A person who could look at the behavioral clues left behind to form a profile of the perpetrator. As soon as I read that first nonfiction book, I was hooked, and I knew I had my character.
With my critique partner, at Starbucks, plotting new books.
My romantic suspense series, The Lawmen series, which follows three best friends who made a pact to join the FBI a decade earlier when violence tore apart their lives, came to me completely differently. 

I was trying to write a romantic suspense proposal and I got stuck and started brainstorming titles instead. The title I came up with for the third book – Catch and Release – sparked an entire plotline and backstory for me. Funny enough, that book was retitled when it sold, but it didn’t matter. I had a story.
The “magic” ideas come from all around us, and I never wait, hoping they’ll just appear. I go out in search of them on a regular basis. And the hunt is half the fun!

What about you? If you’re a writer, do you have an answer for the question “Where do you get your ideas?” And if you’re a reader, do you ever continue a story in your own mind after the book has ended, because you have your own magic ideas for the characters?

Elizabeth Heiter’s latest book, Disarming Detective (Book 1 in The Lawmen series), is available now:

The case that's haunted one FBI profiler for years may have finally met its match in a sexy—and dedicated—detective…

When FBI profiler Isabella Cortez finds a stranger outside her office, she's in trouble. Because even though Detective Logan Greer is one of the good guys, their instant attraction is a serious distraction. 
Ella's got one mission: to find the criminal who hurt her friend and drove her to become a profiler. 
But Logan's appeal isn't just chemistry. He has a case that bears an eerie resemblance to the crime Ella's been trying to solve for years. Together, they're racing to stop a killer, but the closer they get, the more dangerous the search becomes. Falling in love could be deadly…or it could be the only way to survive.
Elizabeth likes her suspense to feature strong heroines, chilling villains, psychological twists, and a little bit (or a lot!) of romance. Her research has taken her into the minds of serial killers, through murder investigations, and onto the FBI Academy’s shooting range. You can find her one her website, as well as on Twitter and Facebook.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks very much for having me here to visit! Speaking of inspiration, I'm working on the fourth book in my Profiler series right now, and the spark for that one was a real-life event...I'll share more once it's all official!