1. Grade 2 Creative Writing- Okay so this was a very long time ago, but the little creative writing book my school pulled together had a big impact on me. It was the first time I saw my name in print, and the first review I ever received.
2. My husband - My husband has been supportive and encouraging over the years. When he realized my writing was no longer something I considered a hobby, and was becoming something more serious, he was there to help me out however he could. Without his support, I wouldn't be where I am today. When I write about that oohy love feeling, it's coming from my relationship with him. :)
3. Moving- I'd lived a very easy life in my routine before I moved. I was 27 and picked up and moved my family to another country. It gave me another whole set of experiences to draw on and some hardships to make me appreciate things.
4. TV Shows- When I was a kid I watched a lot of TV. I decided that I wanted to be a movie director. As a result I watched a lot of TV and movies trying to learn what I could. I grew to appreciate different types of stories and how they were told. I'm now ruined with some movies, because I can pick out the "clues" the writers leave to lead to their revelation moments, and figure things out before the end.
5. My Children- Anyone who had children knows the huge influence they have on your life. The impact on my writing is the fact that I want them to see me doing something that I love. I want them to make career decisions based on what they love, not what they think is proper.
6. Music- Like a lot of writers, I get asked where I come up with my ideas. A lot of the time, they are images and thoughts that pop into my head when I'm listening to music. I'll get a little internal music video playing and I can turn that into a story. Strange, but it works for me. :)
7. Stephen King- And not just because I'm reading his On Writing book. When I was 12 I put down my Sweet Valley High novel and picked up Christine. I was amazed at how clearly I could picture the things he wrote about. As a writer, I hope to someday reach that level and have the same descriptive magnifying glass he holds up in his novels.
8. Going Rappelling - Whenever I write about fear, I'm standing on the edge of a cliff, waiting to take that next step that will put me over the edge. I'm scared of heights, and to this day I'm not sure how I made it over the side. But I did - twice!
9. Going spelunking (caving)- If you ever have an opportunity to do this take it. I went with a group into a series of caves. We climbed so far back it was mind boggling. When the group leader had us turn off our head lamps, you couldn't see anything. It was the blackest dark I've ever experienced. Even though we were there as a group, I've never felt so alone and scared in my life. Things got better when the lights came on, but we were all a little shaken.
10. Competitive Swimming- When I was younger, I used to compete in swim meets. I was good for my age and won quite a bit. Whenever I need to write about a cocky character, I dip back into the summer when I cleaned up at every competition.
11. My Dad's Heart attack- Gut wrenching emotion. Dad was okay, but we weren't sure there for a while. The feeling when I got the phone call will stick with me forever.
12. Almost losing an academic scholarship- So the difference between a B+ and an A- almost cost me a full tuition scholarship. I was a woman possessed when I went after the professor (long story). Angry determination, that came from this moment. In the end, I won my case, got the grade, and kept the scholarship.
13. Happy Endings - I'm a firm believer that the world needs more happy endings. That's why I write Romance and not horror. We have enough bad things going on in the real world, it's nice to bring some joy.
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