I am delighhted to welcome one of my favorite people and favorite author, Mary Kay Andrews. Read through to the end to find out how you can your own copy of her latest (and my new fave!) SAVE THE DATE.
by Mary Kay Andrews
It’s probably the number one question I get—the question all writers get—where do you get your ideas?
Sometimes I jokingly say I find them under the sofa cushions. Or at an outlet mall just off the interstate.
The truth is, I never know when inspiration will strike. But as a writer, whenever an idea occurs to me—or an image stops me in my tracks, or I have a recurring dream, I know it could be an idea for a book.
Take the inspiration for the “meet cute” way the protagonist meets her eventual love interest in SAVE THE DATE. Years ago, a friend in Savannah (where the book is set) told me how she’d met an eccentric neighbor after her dog escaped and she spotted an elderly woman dragging her dog down the street by a piece of string. The woman had mistaken my friend’s dachshund for her own dog—and it was only after Sue followed her all the way home and showed her that the woman’s own dog was in her garden that the woman admitted the mistake. They later became fast friends. As soon as I heard that story, I knew I’d use it someday.
So—in SAVE THE DATE, Cara Kryzik, a florist who happens to live in a fictional townhouse on the same block my friend lives on—meets a handsome stranger when her golden doodle puppy runs away, and the stranger mistakes her for his own missing golden doodle.
Sometimes the idea for a book comes from deep within my subconscious. Or is that unconscious? I can never keep them straight. Anyway, I had a recurring dream that I was sitting in church, and an attractive woman was sitting in the pew in front of me. After a couple nights of the same dream, I started wondering if maybe the muses were offering me an idea. So in my dream that night, when I was back in the same church, I tapped the woman on the shoulder and asked her what she was doing there. “I’m watching my ex-husband get re-married,” she said.
The next morning, I knew I had a great premise for a book, which turned out to be SPRING FEVER. The book opens with the protagonist, AnnaJane, sitting in a beautiful church on a spring day, watching her ex-husband, standing on the altar, dressed in a charcoal-gray Armani tux, waiting for his bride to float down the aisle.
The wedding march plays, the bride starts down the aisle, and AnnaJane, who’d convinced herself she was so over him, realizes she’s still in love—and wants him back.
The premise for LADIES’ NIGHT came about because I had a title I loved, but didn’t know what the story would be. I started thinking about a group of people in a therapy group—who all meet at a dive bar, after their sessions, for the real therapy. I knew I wanted to have one very reluctant male in the group—who feels threatened by all the free-floating estrogen in their sessions. That morphed into a book about a group of people who meet through divorce therapy.
All the members of the group have been betrayed by their spouses and have “acted out” in outrageous ways to get their revenge. Where did I get the ideas for all their awful behavior? Lots of them came from “crowd-sourcing.” I have a very active, fun Facebook page, and I asked my followers to tell me about their worst/best revenge stories.
Boy, did I get some doozies! Some of the stories were so scary the fans private messaged me their stories. One story in particular triggered something in my imagination. So when my LADIES’ NIGHT protagonist Grace, catches her husband being pleasured by her young assistant in the husband’s expensive sports car, Grace reacts in a murderous rage—driving his Audi convertible straight into the family swimming pool.
I never know when the next idea will end up in the lint trap that is my imagination. Some of my best ideas come on long, boring car rides, or in the shower. Or while I’m watching Seinfeld re-runs. My inspiration could be anything at all.
It might be an overheard conversation at a bar, an anecdote shared with an old high school classmate—or, as is the case with the title of next summer’s book, it might be the title of an oldies song. And no, I can’t share. You’ll just have to wait til’ next June to find out about my latest inspiration.
If you’d like to win a copy of SAVE THE DATE…
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with “SAVE THE DATE” as the subject. You must include your snail mail address in your email.
All entries must be received by July 15, 2014. One (1) name will be drawn from all qualified entries and notified via email. This contest is open to all adults over 18 years of age in the United States only. One entry per email address. Subscribers to the monthly newsletter earn an extra entry into every contest. Follow this blog to earn another entry into every contest. Winners may win only one time per year (365 days) for contests with prizes of more than one book. Your email address will not be shared or sold to anyone.