People ask me all the time where I find the ideas for my books. I wish there was a simple answer, but it’s really not. You see, I don’t always find the story, sometimes the story finds me.
Every fall, I meet some friends on a girl’s weekend in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s a time for shopping, drinking, and tons of laughing, although it never fails to turn into something more for this writer.There’s
truly something mystical about this town that transports me into the past and enthralls me with its historical magic. Maybe it’s the tremendous strides Williamsburg puts into portraying the authenticity of the 18th century or even something as simple as the relaxing sound of my boots beating against the cobblestone path as I walk. I’m not sure what it is, but it’s something.
At night, you won’t find a porch light or a street lamp in the colonial section, only baskets of burning logs hanging from cast iron rods or lanterns strategically placed upon the steps of every tavern. The employees are dressed from head to toe in costume and speak with an old English dialogue that’s quite charming.
If you dine in a tavern, the room will be illuminated by candlelight alone and the food will be authentic fare of the period. There’s always someone willing to share the captivating, yet spine-tingling legends and ghost stories that comes along with it.
Now this is when it turns into something other than a girl’s weekend for me and maybe a bit creepy for you. You’ve heard the famous movie line, “I see dead people.” Well, while I walk around Colonial Williamsburg, “I see characters to future books.” I admit it. I have imaginary characters that follow me around and beg me to write their stories.
One of the characters is a young gentleman who dashes in and out taunting me with his good looks as he pleads for me to tell his story— “I’m funny. I’m entertaining, and trust me My Lady; I do have a story to tell.” His story will definitely be a Romantic Comedy.
One character came to me after hearing the legend of a woman who pushed her older sister down a flight of stairs to her death, so she could slide right into her place and into her brother-in-laws bed. It’s rumored she showed up at the Governor’s ball on the arm of her sister’s husband, just days after her sister’s burial. Since hearing that tale, she comes to me too, looking all prim and proper with a youthful innocence, when I know very well she’s a murderous tramp. Her story will be Family Drama with a huge side of Mystery.
There’s one house that’s believed to be cursed due to the large number of children who lost their lives in unfortunate circumstances on the property. The causes were varied, from falling out of trees, being burned in blazing fires, sicknesses and even a kidnapping. The house is painted an ugly red that I believe symbolizes the bleeding hearts of the Mothers who lost their beloved children.
There’s a female character that walks along with me as I pass this house. She’s clothed in a black gown, and her hair is pulled in a tight bun on the nape of her neck. The lines across her face far surpass her true age, and I can’t bear to look into the sadness that radiates from her eyes. She has a story to tell also, but her tale, I’m afraid, is too sad for me to write. Her story will surely be a Tragedy.
I’ve told you before, there’s a fine line between writer and crazy. So like I said in the beginning, I don’t always find the stories, sometimes the stories find me.
So did I hit it out of the loony-bin park, or do you also have characters and stories that come and find you?
Remember to Dream Big!