Monday, June 10, 2013

Is There a Real Backstory to Your Story?

I always find it interesting how story ideas come about for a writer, so I thought I'd share mine. Maybe you will find this one interesting as well!

The idea for DYING TO DREAM sprouted several years ago when I was researching about haunte
d sites situated in Louisiana. I found out about Oak Alley, a former plantation with rumored hauntings. I started with the idea of a woman who painted pictures of people she dreamed about, but not just the ordinary variety. These pictures took on a life of their own, changing form and position often, speaking to her, etc. Then, the woman is somehow directed by spirits to find a property for sale in Louisiana and buy it. The haunted moments started once she moved there. That is where I left it ... unfinished.

Fast forward to 2009 and I dusted off the story, using some of the original ideas, tossing out others, and what you see published here is the finished product. My heroine became a psychic who dreams as the spirits who reach out to her. She becomes them, knows their thoughts and feels their emotion, and sometimes, if she's lucky, she learns their mysteries. Using this she is able to help solve a couple of murders and find out some puzzling details about the family history. Oak Alley is written into the story, by the way, as the plantation house in Vacherie.

They say write what you know. So, even though I've never lived in Louisiana, I do have a background in the French language and have studied Spanish. I decided a couple of my characters could benefit from the knowledge, and I have a splattering of French and Spanish phrases throughout the story, which I think adds a little authenticity to them as well as giving the setting some cultural flavor.

As for the paranormal aspects, I've always been interested in the study and phenomenon of spirits. I've even been on a couple of ghost tours! Most of it is all in fun, but still ... who knows? If you read the book, you will notice how each chapter opens with a line or two from various authors and poets about ghostly topics. (And yes, I checked to make sure they are in the public domain and break no copywright laws!)

Even though I love all my characters, I'd have to say Tante Louise is my favorite one. Her feisty attitude along with the French flare and voodoo mystery adds so much flavor to the story.

And the romance? Ah, yes. There is romance Trent and Marin in the present, as well as a tragic couple in the past. But how that turns out, I will leave it to you to discover when you read my book! Enjoy!
So, what about you? If you write, does your story have a background history to it? How do your ideas come about? I'd love to hear them!

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