New Year, New Hero Inspiration

by Piya Campana

So we’ve almost finished the first week of 2017. I still haven’t been to the gym yet, but I am definitely feeling that new year’s resolution push to at least think about it!

This holiday I was lucky enough to spend a good stretch of time with my family. What wasn’t so special was that I had the flu for most of it. Still, though, being at my parents’ house, watching lots of movies, made it feel like a real break. It was also the perfect time to catch up on my reading—a few books, of course, but I also made sure to take a look at some uplifting news stories from the past year.  

While 2016 was difficult for many, I appreciated the reminder that lots of great things happened. Everyone’s favourite astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield, tweeted a list of more than forty events in 2016 to be thankful for (you can see it in its entirety here, via Global News). Did you know, for example, that the giant panda is no longer endangered? That Canadian researchers developed a vaccine for Ebola? That Costa Rica’s entire electrical grid ran on renewable energy for over half the year? Pretty amazing!

There was also this local news story that stuck in my mind from a couple of months ago that I had to revisit. A Toronto man was visibly upset on the subway because he was late for a job interview. A few fellow riders all chipped in in various ways to help him out. Giving him advice, an Advil for his headache and a sip of juice to take it, something to tie back his hair. When he reached his stop, everyone wished him well as he headed off. So far I haven’t found a follow-up, but I’m hoping he got the job. I was so moved by this story that I tweeted it out with a request that someone write this hero for me! After all, one of my favourite things about Harlequin Heartwarming, and Harlequin Superromance, is that while our heroes and heroines often find themselves in larger than life situations, they themselves always feel real and relatable.

I hope 2017 brings more happy news like this—and all the better if it comes with hero inspiration.

Speaking of, there are some dreamy guys in our January 2017 Harlequin Heartwarming books. Happy release month to Tara Taylor Quinn, Sophia Sasson, Patricia Johns and Lee McKenzie!

The Cowboy’s Twins by Tara Taylor Quinn

Mending the Doctor’s Heart by Sophia Sasson

A Baxter’s Redemption by Patricia Johns

His Best Friend’s Wife by Lee McKenzie

Happy new year to all of you and your families! Have any news stories inspired your writing recently? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.


  1. Good morning. What a cool post and what a great January lineup! I haven't had any news story inspiration, but I did drive past an apple orchard...hmm...

  2. I am sorry you weren't feeling well over the holidays, Piya, but I hope you are now back to full health and 2017 is off to a good start for you!

    As for news stories inspiring writing, you might recall that a couple of years ago two women on a charter flight headed to a resort destination opened their duty-free alcohol, became inebriated and belligerent, and the aircraft had to turn around and land so they could be removed. As odd as this story sounds, there was a similar incident shortly after in US airspace. Those stories were the inspiration for my opening scene for the third book in my San Diego K-9 Unit series, WHEN I FOUND YOU!

    I had to chuckle when on a flight my husband and I were taking to St. Lucia near the end of December, the head flight attendant included as part of the normal announcements that passengers are prohibited from opening and consuming any duty-free alcohol they might have purchased before boarding the flight. There must have been more incidents like this that I am unaware of, because I believe it's now a requirement for Canadian airlines flying to resort destinations to include the caution about duty-free alcohol in their announcements.

    Best wishes for a joyous and healthy 2017 to everyone, and happy release day to Sophia, Lee, Patricia and Tara.

  3. Thank you so much for the shout out for our books this month. :) And I'm sorry that you were sick over Christmas. That's normally me, but this year I got good and sick before Christmas, so that seemed to tide me over.

    Here's to more good news in 2017! It's there, if we'll only look for it.

  4. Piya, thank you for making me smile this morning with this list of tweets by Chris Hadfield. There are several events/milestones I hadn't heard about (Go Big Panda!) A story that stuck with me recently was about a young boy with Down's Syndrome who was turned away from a modeling agency. His mother was told that they didn't have a demand for special needs models. Long story short - word got out on social media (love when it's used in these positive ways), OshKosh heard about it and now the little doll has a contract.

  5. Thank you for the good news, Piya. A vaccine against Ebola! That's amazing and wonderful. I recently did a 'good news' thing for our local paper, and one of the items that cheered me was that a group of Palestinian firefighters volunteered to join the Israelis in combating a bad fire in the north of Israel. Congratulations to everyone with a new book! (Sorry you were sick over the holidays, but how nice to be with your mom when that happened. Hope you're all well again. Happy 2017.)

  6. I love it when good news gets highlighted! My good news today is it's a SNOW day here in Northern Mississippi. A whole 2 inches maybe. But it shuts everything down. lol

    Congrats on all the book releases this month! They all look fabulous!

  7. Hi, Piya, At the moment, I can't think of any good news that would apply, but I definitely will keep in mind this idea for finding inspiring heroes. Thank you! And, congratulations to the January authors!

  8. Piya, I loved your story about everyone on the subway pitching in to encourage the man on the way to his interview. I guess that shows that any group of people can be a community. As for good news -- in the US, today is National Shortbread Day. The bad news is New Year resolutions mean I can't indulge.

  9. Liz – Thanks for the kind words! A hero and heroine on an apple-picking date sounds romantic :)

    Kate – Wow, I love this. Talk about opening a story with impact!

    Patricia J – I’m so glad no pesky sickness interfered with your Christmas! Yes, more good news, please.

    Carol – Aww! That makes me smile so much. Thanks for sharing.

    Muriel – What a wonderful anecdote! Thanks for sharing. Haha, yes, it was great to be with my mom. Thanks to her I am all better now.

    Patricia B – Yay! Enjoy the snow day! I prefer my snow days spent entirely indoors. :)

    Linda – You’re so welcome! I love hearing about where authors find their inspiration.

    Beth – Yes, it’s such a heartwarming(!) story. In a big city like Toronto my instinct (and possibly lots of other Torontonians’) is usually to avoid speaking to strangers, so I love hearing about things like this. And shortbread is the best!

  10. I love how you mentioned your favorite astronaut. I've been grousing because I think it's a travesty that George Michael is being morning for than John Glenn LOL.
    If you're gonna be sick, be at home with movies and hot chocolate and lots of love.
    Have a great day!

  11. Love all the positive news you shared today. I use the news a lot to inspire stories because like you said, it makes the characters real. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I missed popping by yesterday. Sorry to hear you had the flu bug over the holiday. I really like your snippets of news. Ours has been so depressing I've tried to avoid turning on my regular channels. So I've been reading a lot. I hope the man got the job, too. If you find out, let us know.

  13. Pamela -- Yay for astronauts! :)

    Sandra - My pleasure! I hope there's lots more this year.

    Roz - I will definitely update you all if I find out!


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