Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Quirky Stories, Reading, The Writing Life

With the Swipe of a Pen

There are two questions I’m always asked. The first is: Are you still writing? I know people mean well, but it would be the same as if I were to approach my doctor and ask: Are you still practicing? Or my plumber: Are you still plumbing?MB 1 Blog Feb

Writing is what I do. I get up in the morning, go through my normal routines, then go to work. That work happens to be writing. Honestly, the question does annoy me as it implies that writing isn’t work, or that I can do it as a whim. And while I’d like to answer with something like that, I’m always very polite to say: Yes, I’m still writing.

The other question: Where do you get your ideas? That’s one all writers get, and it may be one of the hardest questions to answer concerning my career because I’m not always sure where my ideas come from. Sometimes they’re simply rattling around in my head, origin unknown. Maybe they come from an article I’ve read, or something I’ve seen on television. I listen to conversations around me (I prefer not MB 2 Blog Febto call it eavesdropping) and hear wonderful tidbits of stories that might expand into a scene or even a full book. I heard one just a few days ago in a restaurant. Then man sitting with his family, behind me, was explaining to them why he wasn’t going to fix spaghetti in 2019. If I wrote comedy, I’d have my plot. It was a funny story that could have been developed. (OK, when he fixes it, then serves it, there’s not enough left for him because his family is grabby and he’s slow to get to the table.) It might have turned into a very sad story, too, like a father not eating so he can afford to put a meal on the table for his family.  Or something thoughtful, possibly memories of his mother’s spaghetti. From one little snippet of conversation came so many possibilities.MB 3 Blog Feb

Another place I find my ideas—the people in my life. I just finished a book New York Doc, Thailand Proposal, which will be out later this year. The inspiration for the story was a dear friend, a doctor who took his practice on the road and practiced out of the back of his Jeep. His parents did the same. They did this on Indian reservations here, in the US, but I set my book in Thailand and used my friend as the inspiration.  Also, in my nursing career, I worked with military doctors and the stories I heard and things I saw… Most of my books are based on someone or something I’ve known, known about, or watched because, in the end, when you look at reality, there’s usually a brilliant, adaptable story attached.MB 4 Blog Feb

Here’s a little poem I read years ago. I believe it sums up quite nicely  the whole process of finding the idea (with maybe a little larceny thrown in).

THE THIEF

by Nance Hill

Beyond your perception, I’m full of deception; 

From you, I will loot, filch and forage,

I’ll approach with a smile, and steal all the while; 

The stash goes in notebooks for storage.

 

I’ll pilfer your grin, or the last place you’ve been,

Or your habit of slapping your knees,

The puns that you sprinkle, your lips as they crinkle;

Whatever I fancy, I’ll seize.

 

Perhaps I’ll abscond with a faux pas you’ve spawned,

Or a client you met on the job,

Your wild-patterned tie, the half-tear in your eye;

With a swipe of the pen, I will rob.

 

Then I’ll gather my plunder and rend it asunder,

Revise ‘til there’s only a hint.

You won’t know what I’ve taken until you’re quite shaken

                                       To see that I fenced it in print.MB 5 Blog Feb

 

OK, so maybe my taste in poetry isn’t sophisticated, but this little poem is oh-so true. If you’re a writer, admit it. Have you done some of that? I freely admit I have. And if you’re not a writer, better look out. We’re always looking for good ideas. You could be that idea!

As always, wishing you health & happiness!

Dianne

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Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

First lines by Amy Andrews

I’m away from home at the moment. I’ve been on an 850km road trip. Driving that distance – or rather, being a passenger – gives you a lot of idle time and I’d been looking forward to catching up on my reading.

The last thing I expected was to be presented with an idea for another book. But when a writer is forced to sit behind a van such as this –

imagefor 10 minutes at roadworks, well, what’s a girl to do?

So I came up with the first lines of a new romance with a veterinarian hero.

“Dr Caine Williams knew people were fascinated by his job as the head honcho of the zoo’s black rhino reproductive programme. He just didn’t think his mothers great aunt really wanted to know the answer to how they extracted semen from a two tonne male.  It was slightly unsavoury conversation to be having over fine bone china and cucumber sandwiches.”

So….that’s my opener. But I’m aware that any given person (you don’t have to be a writer) would come up with a different story idea had they been sitting behind that van. So I’d like to know yours.  What kind of story idea does this trigger for you?  What kind of story would you like to see come out of this photographic stimulus? Would you like to have a go at writing your own opening line/para? Please do –  I’d love to read them!

 

 

 

Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, The Writing Life

A Picture Paints a Thousand Words

People always ask where I get my story ideas. It’s a complicated question…and yet it isn’t. Because they never come from any one place. Sometimes an article I read on the internet will get the wheels turning. Sometimes an overheard conversation sparks something. And sometimes it’s a picture.

A picture like this one.Lane 10

My son went snow tubing with friends a few months ago. When he came back, he had several pictures. This was one of them. I chuckled and told him his facial expression was a little creepy. But as I looked closer, I caught a little flash of red just behind him. A small marker that said Lane 10. That was it. The idea and title for a new book. A thriller. One where something terrible happens on Lane 10.

Right now that’s all it is. The smallest kernel of an idea. But once I get a chance, I plan to explore it just a little more. And hopefully, one day, that photo will give birth to a brand new book–painting not just a thousand words, but tens of thousands of words.

And there you have it. Short and sweet. I would love to hear your thoughts! If you’re an author, do you have an interesting story about where you got one of your ideas? If you’re a reader, have you ever read a book and wondered how on earth the writer came up with the plot?

Speaking of stories, I have a new medical coming out in July. Midwives on call UKPart of the fabulous Midwives on Call continuity. Since I love all things Australia, I was thrilled to be included in the series!