Tuesday, June 29, 2010

An Unexpected Spark

As always happens with an upcoming release, I find myself looking forward to July, when A MOM FOR CALLIE--my second book with Harlequin American--officially makes its way into "the wild." Like all other books before it (whether mystery or romance), there's a story behind the story...the thing that said, "turn me into a story."

Virtually all of my mystery novels have come from an interesting tidbit on the radio (love those ten second stories), a tidbit that lodges in my brain and begins twisting and turning until I have the mental outline of a story. My romance novels, however, have come to me in a very different way.

KAYLA'S DADDY, my January Harlequin American, came from a lost letter (which, in all fairness, was sparked from a radio story). MIRACLE BABY, my first-ever holiday book scheduled to release in November, came from a very special ornament my agent sent me for Christmas two years ago. And, A MOM FOR CALLIE, came from a stone bridge.

A bridge?

That's right. A bridge. More specifically, a beautifuly stone bridge in Central Park. You see, a few years ago, I was going through some rough stuff in life. I'd been diagnosed with M.S. two years earlier, my marriage of seventeen years was over, and life was anything but picture-perfect.

Then, one day, while working at Borders (one of the five part-time jobs I held in order to preserve my time with my daughters before and after school), I came across a calendar showcasing various New York landmarks. I studied each page as I flipped from month to month until I came to the winter scene of this particular bridge. The second I saw it, I knew I had to go there. A month later, on my birthday, I traveled from my then home in the midwest to New York. I saw a show, shopped, ate, and saw my bridge up close and personal. And on the way out of the park that day, I purchased a framed picture of that very bridge from a street vendor.

That trip was the start of a lot of changes in my life. Good changes. And, right or wrong, I see that bridge as the catalyst for many of them. Which is why that framed picture hangs on my bedroom wall still today.

Betsy Anderson's story (the heroine in A MOM FOR CALLIE) is, of course, different. The bridge she's propelled to visit is in a small town in Illinois rather than New York's Central Park. She is a writer, too, but she has very different things going on in her life. But, like me, that bookstore calendar will change her life in ways she never saw possible.

So tell me, has a picture or a movie ever propelled you to do something you might not have done otherwise?



Aimee said...

I wish I could say I have been brave enough to do what you did but I haven't ... yet. Maybe I'll let your story motivate me to do something I wouldn't normally do.

Lynn said...

First, let me say I loved reading A Mom for Callie.

I love places... I'm visual...I have a picture of this old house in a small tourist town that I had to stop to snap. My son thought I was crazy, but the house just called to me.

Now, you're going to think it was all remodeled and pretty... Nah, it was run down, with a barb wire fence around half of it, like the type you use for pasture, and a gate held shut with a curl of wire... amazing...

The picture spawned a book, still in first draft stage, but like the house, filled with so much potential.

Laura Bradford said...

Aimee, I say follow your heart. Even if it seems a little wonky.

And, Lynn, thanks for the nice comment on the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it! I hope your picture spawns a nice big book deal! :)

Maura said...

I love hearing how you come up with stuff, Laura. I want to be you when I grow up!!!

I haven't read A Mom for Callie yet, but I am looking forward to it. Keep up the great work!