Have you ever wondered what goes on to inspire a story or what goes into writing a book? Well, watch my blog in the coming months for my THROWBACK THURSDAY series of stories about how my books came to life. I’m beginning with the first book I wrote in the Danvers series: Once Tempted. While this book is listed chronologically as the 3rd Danver’s book, I actually wrote it first.
The idea for Once Tempted came out of my desire to write a “treasure hunt” book. I’ve always found the idea of hidden treasure enthralling, so as I mulled over the various types of hidden treasure my characters could go hunting for, I happened upon this quote from Arthur Wellesley, first Duke of Wellington:
All the business of war, and indeed all the business of life, is to endeavor to find out what you don’t know by what you do: that’s what I called ‘guessing what was at the other side of the hill.’
That line led to the birth of my hero, Major Robert Danvers, an exploring officer in Wellington’s army. As often goes with inspiration, as I started to see my hero fighting in far away Spain, I then recalled an exhibit of Spanish treasure from the Atocha I’d seen years earlier. Spanish treasure! Those words enticed me. So I decided I wanted my treasure to be legendary and very, very old, and thus was born El Rescate del Rey, The King’s Ransom.
With that decided, I didn’t think much about my Spanish treasure until I was literally stuck on the tarmac of O’Hare Airport during a lightning storm. Suddenly the story of Caliopa and Alváro unfolded in my imagination. I broke into my carry-on to find paper and pen and wrote the entire legend in the time it took the storm to pass. Sometimes it’s really amazing the treasures you uncover as a writer when you dig into writing a book or find yourself stuck on a tarmac.
Again, in writing, it is often a sort of synchronicity of pieces: a treasure exhibit, a line from a biography, and a literature degree that left me with a profound love of myths. None of them are truly connected, but they all came together for this story. I have come to believe that nothing in life is inconsequential. It all has value eventually. Just keep your eyes and imagination open.