Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Where Creative Ideas Come From

Today I'm welcoming Wild Rose Press Author, Linda Kage to my blog, as part of our month long Valentine's Themes From the Heart Blog Tour. Make sure to read down to the end of her blog and leave a comment to be entered into our weekly drawing, as well as our Grand Prize drawing featured at the end of February. The more comments you leave, the better your chances of winning! Welcome Linda, it's my honor to have you here!

I'm an idea thief.  I get ideas for my stories from just about everywhere.

Watching a movie? Meh, I don't like this ending, so I create a story in my head that's similar but slot in the happily-ever-after I like better. 

Reading a book? WHAT!? That's not who I would've picked to be the main hero. So yeah, I make my own story with a few of the same ideas, but totally different characters.

Standing in line at the supermarket? Vaguely overhear, "Well, if he's not the father, then who is?" and I perk to attention and turn into quite the eavesdropper.  If I didn't think I'd get caught, I'd probably pull out a pen and paper and start taking notes.

Know a person with certain character traits? Okay, I glean a few things from some interesting people I know, but I never pattern an entire character off any one person.  I find it much more interesting to swap around and mix and match traits and characteristics. 

I've heard somewhere Stephen King gets his ideas from dreams, and sometimes I dream about the characters in the stories I'm working on, and they'll give me an idea for a little scene. 

Mostly I use my own imagination, of course, but honestly, there is so much stuff out there and so many ideas for stories, I don't see how a person can't keep from using what they see and hear to put in little details here and there to make their stories entertaining.

After thinking about it hard enough, I think the very first idea for my story DELINQUENT DADDY came from reading Sandra Brown's 1988 contemporary romance, LONG TIME COMING.  I read this story about fifteen years ago and loved it.  It was one of my first Brown books.  I loved the idea of the guy receiving a letter that he had a child and going to investigate.  But if you read the two stories today (mine and hers), I have a feeling those would be the ONLY similarities between the two books. (Hmm, now I'm going to have to do that and see if that's true!)

After reading Brown's story, I kept thinking about it until I started playing the WHAT IF game.  Now what if this happened instead of that, or that happened instead of this.  And the idea swam around in my head for a couple years (around ten years) until I started DELINQUENT DADDY three or four years ago.  So there was a big time gap in there to forget most of what happened in Brown's story and be able to effectively create my own.  But do I remember the main theme, and that's what I stole. The rest of it: who knows where that came from?

Do you ever steal idea or characters traits?  Please tell me I'm not the only naughty one:)

I'm a contemporary romance writer from the Midwestern USA, where I live with my wonderful husband, daughter, and our nine cuckoo clocks. The eighth and final child of dairy farmers, I was forced into having a vivid imagination if I ever wanted to do something one of my siblings hadn't already tried.

   Linda's Books by The Wild Rose Press:
--The Stillburrow Crush - Young Adult Romance - released February 26, 2010 - buy link
Sixteen year old, Carrie Paxton, isn't the most popular girl in her small town of Stillburrow. But that's never concerned her before. Her life revolves around her writing, and she loves her job as the student editor of the school paper.

But when she gets assigned to interview the football team's beloved quarterback, she takes one look into Luke Carter's blue eyes and is a goner. Suddenly, she doesn't like her lowly rank so much.

Then her dreamy, popular crush surprises her when he starts to act as if he likes her in return. But there's no way Luke Carter could possibly ever like a nobody like Carrie Paxton.

Is there?
--The Trouble with Tomboys - Contemporary Adult Romance - released August 6, 2010 - buy link


Pilot B.J. Gilmore is Tommy Creek, Texas’s tough tomboy who loves to fly planes and gamble and doesn’t give a whip what anyone thinks or says about her…until Grady Rawlings steps into her life.


Heir to an oil dynasty, Grady has inner demons to battle. Ever since his wife and unborn child died two and half years ago, he’s developed a deep-seated hatred for sympathy and can’t handle anyone feeling sorry for him or treating him like some pitiful widower.


Grady hires B.J,'s plane service to fly him to Houston for an overnight business trip. While there, she coaxes him into accompanying her to a late dinner, where she decides it’s time for him to move on with his life. A month later, she turns up pregnant with his baby, and neither of them is prepared for the chaos that follows.

(Pages 250) Hot
--Delinquent Daddy - Contemporary Adult Romance - released October 22, 2010 - buy link


Boston Kincaid’s life is forever changed when he reads the note from Cassidy Trenton, who’s looking for her daddy. Vividly remembering the girl’s mother, Boston is compelled to learn the truth about Cassidy’s paternity.

Single working mother Ellie Trenton is completely bowled over to find her old college flame, whom she hasn’t seen in ten years, loitering on her front porch when she comes home from work one day.

At the sight of each other, Boston and Ellie’s decade apart melts away, and that old chemistry between them flares back to life. But trust doesn’t come easily, and old wounds never healed properly.

Can Boston and Ellie learn to forgive and forget so they can experience the love they never shared, or will child custody battles keep them apart forever?

(Pages 294) Spicy
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Lynn Chantale said...

That's a neat idea, hmmm a trait I've stolen my brother-in-law's toothpick and my hubby's romantic nature.

Linda Kage said...

Toothpick?! Okay, I need to hear more about this!!

I started reading Sandra Brown's book the other day and the hero's name is Law. Strangly enough, my hero is a lawyer and the heroine likes to call him Law Boy. How funny!

Sarah Grimm said...


You're not the only one. I however, actually jot down notes. Hey, if the people are talking loudly enough for me to overhear, then they deserve it. LOL

Shawna Thomas said...


I know you're not the only one. I often get my ideas from a song lyric, a news article... In HOOKING UP, my hero's genesis came from a man I saw at a bar staring into his glass.

I think it's what you do with the inspiration that counts. Writers take in everything they see and produce something original.

I love the blurb for DELINQUENT DADDY!

DarleneLF said...

Interesting books, Linda. I'll have to check them out. My story-telling inspiration comes from many things. And I totally agree with Lynne, writers take in everything and make it their own!

Cherie Marks said...

First, I love the blog design, A.J.

Now, no doubt, many of my ideas begin forming based on something I'm currently reading, watching, or listening to. It's all good.

Amy said...

Great post, Linda. I'm with Sarah...if they're talking that loudly--you know, loud enough that if I stand real close and lean toward them and , know--then I'd start taking notes! You know what they say...truth is stranger than fiction.

Karen Michelle Nutt said...

Enjoyed the post, Linda. Articles, legends or a place I visited, can make for a good story. Don't you just love how one little thing can spark the imagination?

Linda Kage said...

Why, Sarah, you naughty-naughty girl!! We would SO get along.

Lynne- Songs, yes. I've stolen from songs too. Thanks for mentioning it.

Hi Darlene. My idea for my next story coming out came from my brother-in-law while he was going through a divorse...but let's not tell him that. Shh!

I agree with Sherry too, AJ. You new blog look is stunning. Very classy.

Amy, that's it. I'm pulling out a pen and paper next time!

Hi Karen. I love reading wonky article headlines. If that isn't some fodder for good stories, I don't know what is!

AJ Nuest said...

Linda, I've had a total blast having you at my blog today. You have a standing invitation to come back anytime you want. And to everyone who commented on the blog design, thank you so much! I only had to use a few choice curse words! :-)AJ

Lilly Gayle said...

Hey Linda. Great post. I get some of my ideas the same way and I too like Sandra Brown

Lynn Chantale said...

My brother-in-law chews a toothpick, has since I met him. When he married my sister he had it in his mouth during the vows, when it came time to kiss her, he pulled it out and stuck it behind his ear. It was so smooth, I almost missed it.

Caroline Clemmons said...

I also love eavesdropping in public. As someone else said, if they're talking loud enough, they can't expect privacy. But I love to listen to the cadence of their speech, their use of slang and colloquialisms more than the actual content.

My brother-in-law used to chew a toothpick when he quit smoking. On him, it looked elegant. He was such a sweetie but is now deceased.

rbooth43 said...

AS a reader, I love hearing how writers get their inspirations for books. Great Blog, Linda!