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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Where I Get My Wicked Ideas...

At book signings and in fan emails I’m often asked – ‘where do you come up with your plots and characters?’ I’m always at a loss momentarily as to my answer, because anything can trigger the germ of an idea that will grow by itself, creating images in my mind somewhat like a movie. As the days go by one scene leads into two then more. I’m watching my characters meet and interact, the setting becomes clear, the conflict grows richer, the plot more intricate, all while I’m going about my daily life.
Sound easy? I wish. Because I can get several of these ideas in a day’s time, triggered by just about anything. Most have to be discarded because they’re unworkable in terms of plot, the characters are too blah, settings overdone. You get the picture. Only when the idea is right does the movie in my mind start playing. And like I said, anything can trigger it.
For my erotic novel Adored, it came into being while I was channel surfing and came across a TimeLife commercial for oldies but goodies music. The selections were flying by, I was ready to change channels again (I’m a demon with the remote) when a clip of Stevie Wonder came on with him singing For Once in My Life. For some reason, it held me that day. When he got to the lyrics about not letting sorrow hurt him anymore; that he had someone who wouldn’t desert him, I started thinking about women who’d been cheated on, women who wanted only one thing – a faithful guy.

That led to Danni, my heroine whose heart had been so bruised in the past, she’s just about given up on love, a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be adored. When Adam comes into the picture, he changes that.

With my erotic novel – Deep, Dark, Delicious – I came upon the idea for the plot while I was watching the Food Network. I’m no cook. My skills stop at opening a can of whatever and heating it on the stove. Again, I was channel surfing and stopped when I saw this incredibly virile guy – Italian or Latin – on the screen. I’d stumbled onto Iron Chef America and he was a contestant on that show. Gawd, he was hot. I sat mesmerized as he faced the judges’ table, wanting him to win because he was so damned sexy. And then I thought – what if he was the judge? What if the contestant was a young woman drooling over him in her mind? What if he had a sexy challenge for her she hadn’t expected but couldn’t resist? What if. . .?
Images began to click in my mind, the plot points fell into place, and Deep, Dark, Delicious was born.

One of my most recent novels, Seven Sensuous Days, Book Four in my Appointment with Pleasure series, came about because of a news article I read about a family's tragedy.

Another recent release, Stolen Desire, Book Four in my Outlawed Realm series, came to me while I was on a plane, winging from Palm Springs, where I live, to the Midwestern home office of my employer. Scenes just popped in my head. Why? Haven't a clue, except maybe it kept me from being bored to death. :) 
That's my story. So what’s your inspiration for romances?

Tina Donahue
“Heat with Heart”


Sandy said...

Hi Tina,
What great ideas you come up with. My ideas can come from anywhere, too, life events, real life news, etc.

Your books are on my list to be read.

Rose Anderson said...

You have a fun mind, Tina. :) I just get hungry from cooking shows.

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Sandy! It's amazing how plots just pop into a writer's head. Certainly a gift. :)

Tina Donahue said...

LOL. I get hungry, too, Rose. If you had seen that chef, you would have had a different kind of hunger like I did. :)

Cara Marsi said...

Tina, what a creative mind you have to come up with your wonderful stories from things you've seen on TV. I've read your stories and they're great and very sexy!

Nothing sexier than a hot guy who can cook!

Tina Donahue said...

Thanks, Cara!! Certainly wish I could find a sexy guy who'd also be able to feed me his wonderful dishes. :)

Melissa Keir said...

I love hearing where other authors get their ideas. Tina, the world is ripe with wonderful stories to write. :)

Paris said...


I loved the post and how your mind works:) I never know what will trigger the idea for a book but the "what if" question is never far behind. I'm going to check out "Iron Chef". As much as I love to cook, I have to agree that there's nothing sexier than a guy who can cook!

Tina Donahue said...

So true, Melissa!! :)

Tina Donahue said...

You'll love Iron Chef, Paris. Even though it's cooking, it does generate a sense of anxiety when you're rooting for your fav. :)

jean hart stewart said...

Loved knowing where you get your wonderful's a mysterious process, even when my own brain is working on a new idea. I solve a lot of plot problems right before I'm falling asleep.

Tina Donahue said...

So do I, Jean. Whenever I relax, the ideas flow much better. :)

E.L. F. said...

It is great to see how your experiences germinate into stories! Thanks for sharing.

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