One of the most popular questions I get asked is: Where do you get your ideas from?
I think some want to hear about how I have access to a magic fountain where ideas freely flow, and after I make a sacrifice to the writing gods, there’s a golden light, and the ideas burst forth through my fingers on my keyboard.
The truth is I get them from living life, for better or worse. A lot of the time, some of my most painful and embarrassing moments have provided many readers a much-needed chuckle.
For instance, take my latest new release, The Love Project, cowritten with Miranda MacLeod.
In this book, Hope explains how she ended up on dates that she didn’t know were dates.
During my college years (age 18-23) this happened to me on more than one occasion. At the time, it was beyond humiliating. More than twenty years later, it helped me tap into Hope’s character.
For example, there was the time I was invited to a Super Bowl party by a male classmate. However, it was a party for two. Just like Hope, when I heard the words Super Bowl, my mind filled in the word party.
Imagine my surprise when I showed up to find intimate lighting and a tiny couch. At the time, I knew I was a lesbian, but I wasn’t out yet. That was probably the longest Super Bowl in my experience, and by the end of the night, I was hanging off the end of the couch to avoid any incidental touching.
Then, there was the time I ended up on a romantic date on Valentine’s Day. With a man. Again, I wasn’t out yet.
You may be thinking, how did that happen? It was on Valentine’s Day. Didn’t you put two and two together? The simple answer is no. Even though I was studying history at the university and have been passionate about the subject since the fifth grade, I’ve never been one to know present-day dates.
All of my close friends and loved ones know there’s a strong chance (90%) I’ll have to send belated birthday wishes. Actually, this happened this past February (I was eight days late, which is pretty good for me), and if a friend hadn’t mentioned to me that her mother was making her a cake, I was on track for missing the March birthday as well.
Incidentally, after my friend mentioned the cake-making, it took five minutes for the truth to wash over me, and I blurted out (we were in the midst of an entirely different conversation), “Your birthday is this month!”
Notice my wording. I still don’t know the date of said birthday, but I cheerily said, “Happy birthday!” and now I’m pretty confident I’m covered for birthdays this month. May is the big one in my social circles, since there are anywhere between 3-6 birthdays. I need to do some sleuthing to figure out the exact number.
In The Love Project, it wasn’t just my disastrous dating history we tapped into. Click here for Miranda’s adventures in the big world of embarrassing dates.