If I had to think back to every time I've ever talked with a reader or someone who has learned I'm an author and come up with the 'Most Asked' question...it really wouldn't be that hard. That's because the one question I get asked nearly every time I tell someone I write is simple: where do you get your ideas?
The answer is never simple and nothing I can explain in a three-minute conversation. So, I thought my latest blog post should be about exactly that.
Where does my inspiration come from? Where do I get my ideas?
If you're curious...this is for you!
The short answer is: anywhere and everywhere. Conversations, people-watching, dreams, random thoughts, other books, movies, etc.
But, since we have a bit more than three minutes, I thought I'd go a bit more in detail by telling you the inspiration for each of my books thus far.
So, here we go...
If It Walks Like A Killer: The idea for If It Walks came to me as a simple question. What would happen if someone came to me and accused me of something, something serious, that I hadn't done? What if a knock on the door that I assumed was the pizza guy, was actually the police? What would I do? How would I react?
And from that idea, came another idea...what if they had enough evidence to make me believe I had done it? From there, I began trying to plot out who my characters were and just what they were being accused of.
Fun Fact: when I wrote the first outline, the murderer didn't even exist!
The List: The List came to me in a *vision* of sorts. I had this scene in my head...of "The Listmaker" closing their laptop at the end of the book, revealing themselves to the reader but never to the other characters. I planned for that to be the end of the book...can you imagine? I knew The Listmaker was tormenting the town, but I hadn't figured out why or how. So, I set out to discover his secrets.
Fun Fact: When I began writing, I had no idea who The Listmaker was going to be.
Another Fun Fact: When I finished the first draft, none of the "HIM" scenes were in the book. I had planned to end the book just like I said, with only the last chapter allowing any insight into who the killer was. But, the book was missing something. It was after the first draft that I decided we needed to hear from the killer a bit more.
The Truth About My Scratches: I've always been fascinated by books and movies that centered around characters with memory loss. The idea for the book came to be because of my interest in the mind and memory and how it all works. I wanted to write a book about a girl who had very few memories of who she used to be. And so, Jaicey's story began unfolding.
Fun Fact: I wrote the first draft of The Truth About My Scratches when I was fifteen!
Playing Jenna: The inspiration for Monroe's story came to me when I was writing If It Walks. I wanted to tell a story of a woman who's husband left her rather abruptly...and discover the secrets of why. However, I couldn't figure it out. This was a difficult story for me to plot and so I went on to write The List. After finishing it, I began hearing a new character in my head. The only thing I really knew about her was that she and her father used to watch Jeopardy. One day, after trying to figure her out for a few days, that infamous line from Playing Jenna came to me: Disappear. It was what she wanted more than anything else...well, besides revenge. The line was originally going to play into the Jeopardy theme. Something like, Answer: It was what she had wanted more than anything else. Question: What is disappear? Or wait, was it revenge? But I could never get it worded how I wanted, so the line was shortened and the Jeopardy stuff was cut out. It was then that I realized Monroe's story was the story I'd wanted to tell with my idea from If It Walks.
Fun Fact: Playing Jenna was the first book where I invited readers to enter a contest to play characters in my stories. Tiffany and Kim were the winning readers!
The Beginning After: The Beginning After came to me when my publisher invited me to submit a Security story to an anthology they were working on. I loved the idea of writing a character who worked in private security and so, I began to craft Frank. In the beginning, the story was supposed to center around him. But, as I began working, I realized this story was going to be much longer than what would work for an anthology. When I decided to make it full length, I took a few weeks off and started plotting the story surrounding Frank and the family he protected. That's when the tangled webs began weaving.
Fun Fact: I named Clay 'Clay' because I had just finished watching the series Thirteen Reasons Why on Netflix. It was one of my favorite books as a teenager and I felt it was a great way to honor that story.
The Cleaner: When I was writing The Beginning After, I had to do a lot of research about the decaying process of dead bodies. (I"m pretty sure I'm on an FBI watchlist somewhere). While I was doing that, I came across an article about crime scene cleaners. While I guess, somehow, I always knew crime scene cleaners were a thing...I just assumed they were people who came with the police. I never knew the family actually had to hire someone, and pay out of pocket most of the time, themselves! I was intrigued by that idea. I wondered what the cleaners would be like. Would they be cold and rude to the grieving families? Would they be kind and helpful? I wondered what would make someone choose a profession so gruesome. I wondered what they would do, how they would do it, and how they would learn how to do it. And suddenly, there was Gunner. Man, was he persistent. I had finished The Beginning After by the time he showed up and I had begun writing what I thought would be my next story. But I couldn't focus. Gunner needed his story to be told.
About five chapters into my unnamed work, I gave up and gave in to Gunner and Reagan's story. And now that it's finished, I'm so glad I did.
Fun Fact: The name Nora is a name I'd always wanted for my daughter, but Hubby vetoed it! So, I saved it for a book-baby!
So, what do you think of my inspiration? Writers, what gives you inspiration? Readers, do you often wonder what made writers write your favorite stories?
I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time,
Kiersten J Modglin is an author of suspense & mystery novels. Lover of books, blogs, and Boston Terriers.