All of our books need a bad guy or girl.
I've found inspiration in being pissed off. It was either write about it or go to jail. Since I decided that I'm way too cute for prison, I put my anger on paper. :)
Here are my top five "inspired by real life" novels and the events that shaped them. (The names have been changed to protect the guilty, I mean the innocent.)
- A condom brings Jade and James together. In real life, my best friend and I took a weekend trip to Las Vegas and we spent more money and time at the prime outlets. Sadly, the airline was only allowing two carry on bags. Damn! I asked her if I could stuff one of my bags in her shopping bag. She agreed. Then, when I put my unzipped overnight bag in hers, it toppled over and a condom slid across the floor. It landed at the foot of a really cute guy who happened to be on our flight.
- People always tell the reporters the best things off the record. While I was a police reporter with a North Carolina daily, I interviewed a school resource officers who was being promoted in the department and leaving the high school where he worked. I spent the day with him watching what he did. During one of those "off the record" conversations, he told me about meeting his new wife at the school. He also told me that he was a single father. When he and his first wife divorced, he fought for custody of his son. Officer Calvin Jackson was born.
- Somebody broke me heart a long time ago. Well, in 2003. When you find out that the love of your life is a lying cheating dog, you can go all Carrie Underwood and risk jail or kill him between the pages of your next book. Caprice Johnson, the heroine of Cautious Heart didn't kill her cheating ex fiance but she wasn't sad to see him die. Too bad that made her a suspect in his murder. Fortunately for me, my cheating and lying ex is still alive.
- Have you ever watched a man with his son and just fell in love with both of them? That's what happened to me while I was trying to figure out how to tell Serena Jacobs's story. I was visiting a guy I was crushing on and his little boy woke up from a nightmare. He scooped him up in his arms, whispered some words of comfort to the little boy and took him back to bed. My heart melted and I knew I had to write about him. :)
- When you have established characters, you think you know how you're going to tell their story. Initially, my hero, Devon Harris, was going to fall for his friend Alicia Michaels. Alicia, just happens to be best friends with his ex girlfriend. My crew--Alica, Jade, Serena and Kandace -- got to talking to me and they said this story is not happening. I was going to ignore them, until I got a text message from a (now former) friend about her desire to date my ex. Yes, the same ex I killed in Cautious Heart and the same ex I cried on her shoulder about. That didn't feel good at all. Story aborted! But I still wanted to write about Devon. Then good inspiration stepped in. While working on a story about a shelter for homeless women in Charlotte, Devon told me he'd so volunteer in a place like this to help these women.