The question I am most often asked always seems to be somewhere along the lines of, “How did you come up with that idea?” or “What do you write about?” Those aren’t easy questions to answer, but here’s my best attempt:
Currently, I have more ideas for novels than I will ever have the opportunity to write. Everyday I’ll come up with one or two new ideas that I’ll add to my running list of barebones novel ideas, but always remaining at the top are those ideas that will soon become an outline and, hopefully, a novel. There are five positions that are never rearranged:
- A story about a love I have experienced and lost.
- The kind of coming-of-age story I always wanted to read.
- The love that I have always wanted.
- A glimpse into my mother’s side of the family in Warren, AR, focusing on my brother, Brad, and grandpa, Pop.
- A memoir of my life. A tell-all with no punches pulled and no apologies.
Right now, I’m finishing up the first one. Sunset Cove is based on real events and littered with other unrelated, events from my past. It is a coming-of-age story to some degree as well, but that’s not the main point. Sunset Cove is a story that any heartbroken soul can relate to, but began as a way of coping and accepting losing someone who meant so much to me.
Next up will be the true coming-of-age novel. As much as I loved Catcher in the Rye, and I absolutely adored that book, there are many changes I would’ve made and additions inserted. That’s not to discredit the book itself in any way; that’s just me as a reader (and writer) having a different perspective than J.D. Salinger. This is between two love stories so that I don’t fall into a trap of only writing about romance, even though there are many themes within my “romance” plots that have to do with completely different subjects. The last few are pretty self-explanatory.
A blank page is a portal to any dimension writers want to go. With the simple stroke of a pen I can create a story that I can live in (sparingly) forever. Why not make it about those times I’ve felt most alive? That doesn’t mean the times of the most extreme jubilation exclusively, but also the unparalleled anguish and devastation. Pain makes our mortality even more aware than happiness, but in reflection that joy is how we remember being alive. I cannot exclude the bad just because I did not enjoy it because I did live it.
The old adage goes: “Be careful of what you say to a writer because they might put you in a story and kill you.” As a writer, I’ve always found that the best source of inspiration and creation is my own life. I figure there are people out there that want the same things as me, who feel the same way as I do, and who ask the same questions I ask. If I just write down my desires, emotions, and inquisitions, some people are bound not only to read it, but enjoy it. And that’s the biggest compliment as an author.