Monday, March 2, 2015

The Idea Store by Lynn Cahoon

Last summer, before my life turned upside down, I committed to joining Toastmasters at my workplace. Since August, I've given one speech.

This month, I'll be giving two, one in a competition. Crazy, right?

The good news is I've been speaking in public since my first job where I was the radio girl who listed off the new, hot job opportunities available at your local unemployment office.  Then I spent over ten years training the regional staff at Idaho's Health and Welfare department. Want to know how to deal with computer issues, or what assets count against Medicaid? I'm your girl.

But the speeches I'm giving this month are more personal. And I'm hoping I can keep my emotions in check while I'm talking. The first speech talks about where the ideas come from for my books. My mother asked me the same question. "How do you come up with all these ideas?"

The answer I gave her was kind of broad, but I'll tell you the true writer secret. We're magpies. We take bits and pieces of everything we've ever did, seen, or heard for our stories.  We're taught to write what we know, so my first published book was The Bull Rider's Brother.

No, I'm not a bull rider expert. But I love cowboys. Especially those in tight fitting jeans and a pearl snap western shirt? Add in a hat and boots, and I'm gone. The book's first line tells you a lot about my main character Lizzie, but also, a lot about the author - me.

Cowboys aren't easy to love, but they sure are easy on the eyes.

Then I mixed three or four of my favorites sites in the Idaho mountains and imagined the new town of Shawnee Idaho. I added in two brothers, the older being way too protective of the younger, to the point it affected his own happiness, threw in a too cute kid and a main character who's been burned by love, one too many times.

All things I know about.

There's a saying that authors pass around that says use your life history to season your writing. If  the people you know wanted to be painted in a positive light, they should have been nicer to you on the way.

I love this.

So where is your idea store?
 
If you're interested in starting the Tourist Trap series before Dressed to Kill launches in June and Killer Run, in August, eKensington has Guidebook to Murder on sale for the month of March - digital $1.99. Check out the story that started it all....
 


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