Where do you get ideas?
Everywhere. When I’m driving for some reason, I get a lot of ideas. I also get ideas from songs or reading magazine articles. Sometimes I think of a title first. I love to think up titles. Then other times, a character just comes to me, begging me to write their story.
I first thought of Rae, from Elvis Takes a Back Seat, when my mother, sister and I had a garage sale. She just popped into my head, and I could see her long gray hair and clunky sandals. Then it took a while for the ideas to germinate and take root.
Once I knew the three women in my story and that they were going on a road trip, I began writing. I started the story with a garage sale, where Claudia was getting rid of old things in her life to make way for the new. But I wasn’t sure where she was going to discover her new life, so I called my best friend, D. Anne Love (who writes YA’s), to help me brainstorm. I really wanted these women to go to Europe. Of course, I’d have to go do a research trip. But D. Anne suggested I take them to Memphis. Memphis? What’s in Memphis? Well, for starters great barbecue, but also Graceland. Immediately the story fell into place. You see, in that garage sale scene, I already had the Elvis bust that Claudia was trying to sell. D. Anne had no idea Elvis was already in my story but the story finally clicked in place.
Sometimes an idea takes time as I massage it. Sometimes I start a story and it’s not working and I have to stop and wait until it’s ready to put on the page.
Just look around you! Ideas are everywhere!