Do they just come to us out of the thin air? Sometimes. I write Historical Fiction set in the 19th Century and I think it is because I was born into the age of the TV Western. My grandfather never let me forget that he had to miss an episode of Gunsmoke to be at the hospital for my birth. In our home, for the first ten years of my life the evenings were filled with The Virginian, High Chapperal, Rawhide, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. Every made for TV western movie and reruns of John Wayne films played right along. I wanted to be a dancehall girl and wear tight,fancy dresses. I had nightmares for years about being chased across the prairie by wild Indians. I never knew how I managed to escape because I was on foot and the war painted hoards were on horses, but I always woke up whole, though usually sweaty.
My Soiled Dove Sagas are about the lives of prostitutes during that period, and while I have never practiced prostitution, I saw a very interesting documentary on the subject a few years ago that peaked my interest. After watching the HBO series Deadwood, the plight of paid women during that time period stuck with me. I did some research and came up with a story. I realized that I could not tell the story in one manuscript and settled on a 3 book series that would take in three different cities in the Old West and would deal with gamblers, drovers, lawmen, and miners. It will have good guys who are bad guys and bad guys who are good guys. In a story of his scale there are just so many ways to go. Then, of course, I will be able to weave actual Historical characters and their plights into the tale.
In my first book ,The Legend of the Swamp Witch, I elaborated on a campfire story I originally mad up about 30 years ago. I put the setting in an area of Louisiana where a friend lived and gave me some insights. I did research on the area to.
I grew up in rural southern Illinois. I spent a god bit of time in the woods there and use the memories of those sites and smells in m work. In my teens, I began studying herbs and herbal medicines. I use that in my work as well. I have a few idea in the works for stories set around my old hometown. They are still simmering.
We writers get our idea for stories in an places. Fiction writers, especially, take what we know or have seen and morph it into things we hope others will find entertaining,enlightening, and just plain fun!
Until tomorrow, Write on!