Sunday, October 23, 2016

Blessed by Inspiration

Vintage Inspiration

I'm often asked, "Where do you find ideas for your books?"
I'd like to say that ideas strike my authorly imagination routinely and easily, leading to stories that practically write themselves. But that wouldn't be true. Recently, I finished a manuscript currently titled The Blessing. I drew inspiration for The Blessing from the old photograph inside this vintage locket. But inspiration didn't strike me during my first glance at this photo. Nor at the second, third, fourth, or fifth glance.

It's not that I wasn't interested in this old photo--I was and am. After all, that small shadowed face in the lower right corner is an image of my great-grandfather as a little boy, sitting for a rather solemn picture with his siblings. But I didn't sense a story brewing until I paused in front of my parents' piano to study the image for the umpteenth time, and Mama said, "Isn't that a sweet picture? This was taken not long before their parents died."

Wait. What? I stared at the picture again, at the serious brown-eyed baby in his white gown, with my equally serious great-grandfather seated just to his right. Obviously they'd been heartbreakingly young when they became orphans, and their older brother and sisters were teenagers. How did these five siblings cope with such tragedy? And what had happened to their parents?

While The Blessing isn't my great-grandfather's actual life story, this image, combined with my mother's comment, was enough to send my imagination down numerous paths and into the era that became the setting for The Blessing.

Sometimes inspiration takes more than a glance. It takes an emotional tug to pull an author's imagination into a new plotline, to cheer on beloved characters as their story unfolds.

I'm eager to share this story with you!