I'm excited to be here on Barbara's blog today! Today I want to talk about inspiration. My debut novel, A Familiar Shore, was inspired by a photograph and a Bible story.
A friend of mine captured the image, which showed just the prow of a yacht, bow-lines swooping down to the dock and a stunning sunset behind it all, reflecting on smooth water. I thought about whose boat it might be. The sunset made me think of a man in the sunset of his life. The bow-lines, which form a diagonal across the sunset, seemed to suggest a cage to me. So I came up with an eighty year old character who reflected on his life and felt trapped by the decisions he'd made.
I love this older gentleman. He lives on his boat and travels up and down the eastern seaboard, docking in different harbors. Why would he stay on the move? I figured he was running from something.
So if he was nearing the end of his life and pondering his regrets, my story needed to be about whether he would set things right or if he'd fail to so.
As I let this character marinate, I ran across the story of Joseph from the Bible. I'd studied it many times before, but when I reached the point in the story where Joseph stands before his brothers bowing to him, I wondered what it might look like in contemporary times. I love this moment in the story, it's pregnant with possibility.
So I created a female character and started dreaming up scenarios for a contemporary character to be faced with the decision to exact revenge on a family who wronged her or else choose to forgo justice for possible relationship.
I put the two characters together, changed Joseph's story, and came up with this scenario:
Meg Marks is a young lawyer raised off the coast of the Carolinas. An anonymous client hires her to arrange his will, and sends her to meet his estranged family at their lake home in northern Michigan. After a shocking discovery, she finds herself caught between his suspicious family and a deathbed promise her conscience demands that she keep. Will she sacrifice her own dreams for revenge, or will she choose something more?
My story is not the same as Joseph's story. In fact, only those who read this post will even know it was part of my process. That's the beauty of inspiration, though. Anything can spark an idea. It's what you do with that idea and where you take it that makes every story unique.
My current work in progress was inspired by a dream. But I can't tell you any more than that now, because that story is far from finished.
I believe the best part about my writing journey is that God gave me the story. I'm not saying it's a special word from Him or anything, I'm just saying, He put the idea in my head. He gave me time and ability to write it, and then He placed it in the hands of a wonderful publisher, Tracy Ruckman of Write Integrity Press, who has now sent it off into the world. The story was from God, and He's taking it to all the places it needs to go. I'm so blessed as I watch God do His thing.
My debut novel, A Familiar Shore, is NOW available on Amazon (and other sites)