My new book, All That Was Taken, is my twelfth book. Looking back on all of my novels, I had a very different reason to write each one. Some were rational (or irrational) decisions, and others were just tiny seeds of inspiration that were calling out to be planted so they could grow.
One of the most common questions authors are asked is, “Where do you get your ideas?” Of course, there are always the people who say things like, “I’ve got a great story idea for you. OMG, you should write about my crazy family!” To which I try to explain, in the nicest way, that it may be a great story for them to write (and I encourage them to do so), but one must write what one feels passionate about. Inspiration is about so much more than a “good story,” and it’s unique to every writer. It’s about feeling a connection that’s worth thinking about, writing about, and rewriting for as long as it takes. If I’m going to write about a crazy family, it’s going to be one that I invent, as I don’t tend to write autobiographical novels.
I really struggled with several possibilities for number twelve. Sometimes, we’re overwhelmed with ideas and don’t know which one to run with, but at other times, it’s not as easy. An author can choose any idea, but finding that passion isn’t always something that comes pre-packaged with a great story line.
So, as I was struggling, I came upon a folder of art that I’d tucked away for inspiration. There was a painting of a man wearing a long black coat briskly walking at night in the fog, at the water’s edge of the ocean. And that was all I needed. Who was he? Where was he going? What was his life like? Was he running from something? Or going toward something? Perhaps both?
I thought about him for quite a while; then I thought about other stories that were vying for contention. But this man kept coming back to me, asking me to get to know him. Over time, I shared my various ideas with my friend Lisa. Finally, I asked her, “Which one should I write?” And without hesitation, she said, “The man on the beach.”
I gave him a dog, and I was off to the races.
I probably spent more time developing this novel than any previous one I’ve written. Before I could write the first word, I had to know everything I could about him. Why had he chosen to live a life of solitude? What happened in his past?
It took me over a month to get to know him as well as I can get to know any character before I begin to write them.
Once I began writing, the first draft came to me within a few months, but it wasn’t until countless rewrites, a beta reader, and two editors that I felt as ready as I’ll ever feel to publish this book. As a side note, this character turned out to be someone I’d love to know in the real world, and his nemesis one I wouldn’t want to know in any world.
Below is a blurb for the book:
All That Was Taken is a contemporary fiction novel that delves deeply into love, loss, and healing but comes with a suspenseful twist.
For eight years, John Hennessey has lived in near-solitude on Catalina Island. He keeps his world small, for every precious thing in his life has been taken from him. But when his peaceful existence is threatened, he buys a cottage farther up the California coast in the sleepy town of Teal Beach.
There he meets Sunny Harrison, owner of the Teal Beach Sundial Inn where he stays until his cottage is ready for move in. The connection between them is magical, though both are surviving painful pasts and are afraid to trust … especially as an undercurrent of darkness dwells in their midst.
In no time at all, their quiet lives explode. Sunny receives ominous phone calls while John grapples with his own unsettling communications. Their bond strengthens as dangerous enemies threaten.
New guests at the hotel appear to have ulterior motives, and with each passing day, more and more feels eerily out of place. As tensions escalate and the enemy comes into focus, John and Sunny know they face grave danger from people with no conscience. Yet, they have no idea what diabolical plans lie in wait for them.
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You can find the book on Amazon. This book, as all of my books, are available in Kindle, paperback, and free to read on Kindle Unlimited.
Thanks so much for reading.
Best wishes to all,