Where do you get your ideas?
As a new author, I don't get asked a lot of questions aside from, "Who are you, again?"
But in those rare moments when a reader blinks up at me with adoring eyes, the question that almost inevitably issues forth is, "So, where do you get your ideas?" This is not only the most frequent question, but also, to my mind, the weirdest. Because doesn't everybody get ideas? It's not like you have to go shopping for them, right? They usually pop up unbidden somewhere inconvenient, like in the shower. So, what I assume people mean when they ask me this question is, how do I come up with the unique combination of paranormal creatures, hot button contemporary issues, and naughty sex play that makes up the Mythica series that I write for Harlequin Nocturne.
It's the combination that's important, because each of the ideas I've come up with separately aren't as spectacular all by themselves. Oh, I know. I'll write about a daughter of a god who has daddy issues. Or, what if I write a book about a girl who can see right into people's souls. Or what if I write about a guy who can take on the appearance of any person who has ever hurt him, and he uses this ability to get revenge? Or what if I write a love story about two people who have abandonment issues and use it to parallel the famous story of Calypso and Odysseus? Taken on their own, these ideas might not be able to support a whole story, but mix them together, and that's when I start to sound like I'm creative!
The truth is that I wanted to write a series that didn't have vampires or werewolves or more traditional paranormal creatures. I wanted to go back to basics, take our most ancient myths, and update them. I didn't have to invent a hydra--a serpentine monster with a thousand heads who couldn't be defeated, because any time a warrior cut off one of those heads, two more would grow back. What I had to do was put a human twist on it. Thus, my hero was born--a man who could take on the appearance of anyone who had hurt him. And because he's a tortured hero, lots of people have hurt him. He's a modern day arm's dealer, an adaptation of the hydra into what we would think of today as a monster.
To get to that point though, I read ancient mythology. I love the old stories, and they really spark the imagination. I also like to scan the news. When I was writing POISONED KISSES, there were a lot of stories about arms trafficking in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I think romance readers--like most other readers--want to learn a little something every time they pick up a book, but they don't want to be hit over the head with it. To that end, I like to embed a little awareness of the world into my books.
Another source of ideas for me is reading other people's books. I like to see what other authors have done, and done well. Sometimes I'll even pull out an old journal of mine from before I found my own happily ever after, so that I can remember what it was like to be single and looking for love. Ideas are everywhere. In the past and in the present, and one of the things that I've enjoyed in writing for Harlequin Nocturne is the encouragement I've received to write truly innovative romance.
So I guess my question is, where do you get your ideas?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Stephanie Draven is currently a denizen of Baltimore, that city of ravens and purple night skies. She lives there with her favorite nocturnal creatures–three scheming cats and a deliciously wicked husband. And when she is not busy with dark domestic rituals, she writes her books.
Stephanie has always been a storyteller. In elementary school, she channeled Scheherazade, weaving a series of stories to charm children into sitting with her each day at the lunch table. When she was a little older, Stephanie scared all the girls at her sleepovers with ghost stories.
She should have known she was born to hold an audience in her thrall, but Stephanie resisted her writerly urges and graduated from college with a B.A. in Government. Then she went to Law School, where she learned how to convincingly tell the tallest tales of all!
A longtime lover of ancient lore, Stephanie enjoys re-imagining myths for the modern age. She doesn’t believe that true love is ever simple or without struggle so her work tends to explore the sacred within the profane, the light under the loss and the virtue hidden in vice. She counts it amongst her greatest pleasures when, from her books, her readers learn something new about the world or about themselves. Stephanie also writes historical fiction as Stephanie Dray and has a series of forthcoming novels from Berkley Books featuring Cleopatra’s daughter.
He can wear the face of anyone who has ever hurt him…
This former soldier-turned-gun-runner thinks his true identity is safe, but a mysterious woman is about to force him to face the tragic past he thought he left behind.
She can disguise herself as the only woman he’s ever loved…
It’s not easy to be a Daddy’s Girl when your father is Ares, Greek God of War. To thwart her father and all those who serve him, Kyra intends to assassinate a modern day hydra. To kill him, she needs to seduce him, but Marco Kaisaris isn’t the monster she thinks he is–and even if he doesn’t break her heart, he may still be the death of her.
Can they see past each other’s masks to find a love that’s more than skin deep?
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Winner announced September 26th
Winner announced September 26th
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