Is makin' me late
Is keepin' me waitin'- Carly Simon
I look for inspiration a lot because I’m not one of those writers with loads of delicious ideas teeming through my mind. I have one occasionally, and usually it’s one someone else already had and had better. I wrote most of a story once with a St. Bernard named Murphy as an important secondary character, but before the manuscript was even finished I read a book featuring a St. Bernard. Named Murphy. The book was better than mine, too, so I quit cold and waited for something else to come along and inspire me.
Anticipation. Because I know it’s out there waiting. Somewhere. All I have to do is wait. And look around some. It will happen somet—
There it is!
I was at a meeting. The speaker was a doctor talking to us about women’s heart issues. She was a great lecturer—funny, intelligent, and relating well with her audience. But that wasn’t what inspired me. No, what lit the end of my writer’s pen was that she had gorgeous snow white hair.
So I don’t have a grasp on what my heroine’s story is, or even her name. I’m not sure who the hero is. But I know the woman he doesn’t yet realize he loves will have thick white hair, dark blue eyes, and a smile that lights up the room.
I sought inspiration all over Ireland, in its shades of green and the gazillion sheep with colors painted on their backs and the potato famine graveyards surrounded by dark iron fences. And in its pubs. I hardly even drink, but our trip included at least one pub a day, usually two, and occasionally three. They were lovely dark musical places, with soft brogues falling easy on our ears and sometimes children dancing with flashing feet and unmoving arms and shining eyes.
The inspiration I sought did indeed “keep me waitin’ ” until the storefront of a particular pub in Kinsale provided an aha moment for a book called Back to McGuffey’s. McGuffey’s Tavern is in a Vermont town nestled into the Green Mountains, but it was born on a picturesque Irish street. This story of Ben and Kate and how they find each other again—or do they?—is my very first Harlequin Heartwarming and I am so excited.
It’s hard to pin down inspiration, and sometimes it’s not a “know it when I see it” kind of thing. If I’m going to use a cliché (and I nearly always do), inspiration fits more into the “I don’t know art, but I know what I like” category. Because all of a sudden, it’s there, and I know it and it’s wonderful. Like the anticipation that led into it, it makes my heart sing. And maybe dance a little.
Liz Flaherty retired from the post office and promised to spend at least fifteen minutes a day on housework. Not wanting to overdo things, she’s since pared that down to ten. She spends non-writing time sewing, quilting, and doing whatever else she wants to. She and Duane, her husband of…oh, quite a while, are the parents of three and grandparents of the Magnificent Seven. They live in the old farmhouse in Indiana they moved to in 1977. They’ve talked about moving, but really…37 years’ worth of stuff? It’s not happening!