Friday, March 27, 2009


Folks are curious about where we get our story ideas, and considering some of the books I’ve read that answer could range from funny, to interesting to Stephen King scary. I can’t speak for anyone else but for me the universe if fair game. Plot lines are as plentiful as TV waves – they’re omnipresent but invisible. For creative minds they’re there for the picking. But to be more specific, I find ideas in all sorts of situations – a snippet in the newspaper, a conversation in the grocery line or perhaps even a dream.

The inspiration for my first book (A Texas State of Mind) hit me while I was waiting at a gate in the San Antonio airport. Sitting across from me was a group of six older guys – typical Texans with John Deere hats and big belt buckles. Eavesdropping on their conversation I discovered that they made an annual poker playing trip to Las Vegas. Then I started thinking about casting them as villains, and that morphed into a group of killers who lived in a retirement community. I loved those characters. They did funky things, had affairs, participated in vigilante killings and escaped to Mexico.

My second book (Texas Born) had an even stranger origin. I was with a couple of friends at a catfish restaurant in lower Alabama (LA to the natives). It was obvious our waitress had a big time bug up her butt, so as writers we made up her back story. Before dessert was served we’d decided she’d killed her beer swilling boyfriend and dumped him in the swamp for alligator bait. That idea segued into the hunky sheriff finding bodies in the Aransas Wildlife Refuge in Texas where gators are more plentiful than people.

The plot for my February 2009 book (The Man She Married) came to me during a particularly arduous tennis lesson. Run, run, sweat, sweat, yada, yada, yada – can you say Simon Legree? Facetiously – yeah right – I told our teacher/coach that I was going to write a book and kill the tennis pro off in the second chapter. LOL
Actually, in that book he’s a stalker – but that’s close enough for fiction.

See how it works?

One of my very favorite dreams was the genesis for a plot that hasn’t been written. It’s a soul switch idea that has the “hottest” bathtub scene – whew! I’m saving that one for later.

And finally, the book I’m working on now had its beginnings in a reality show where bands were trying for a record contract. The winners were three brothers whose dad was tent revival minister. One the songs they did was a rock version of This Little Light of Mine – growing up as a Southern Baptist that was one of my favorites. In my book I changed it to three sisters.

So that’s how I do it. Does anyone have any stories they’d like to share?

Ann DeFee
The Man She Married, HAR, February 2009
Top Gun Dad, HAR, October 2009
2008 Book Buyer’s Best Award – Summer After Summer


Estella said...

Enjoyed your post!

EllenToo said...

I love hearing about how authors get their ideas. And I especially enjoyed your series of books set in Texas (but them I'm a Texan).