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Shadow in the Sea

Readers will return to Windwaithe Island once again. When sixteen-year-old Sadelyn Hanson washes up on the shores of Windwaithe Island, her beauty and the strange marks on her wrist make superstitious locals suspect she is a mermaid. Feigning amnesia, Sade hides a far worse secret: she was sailing to her own murder trial when she was thrown overboard by the real killer, the cunning and cruel Captain Westwood.

Sade's quiet effort to rebuild her life on the island is threatened when she meets an actual young merman. Unable to speak his language, Sade still longs for the warm companionship he offers, despite the locals' dire legends about merfolk and their dark magic. But her confused feelings for the impossible boy become the least of her problems when Captain Westwood's ship docks at Windwaithe. With nowhere to escape, Sade must trust in the one person who doesn't fear the merfolk. A woman who had dealings with them herself—years ago

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Inspiration--the Stuff Stories are Made Of

A lot of people have asked me where I get the ideas for my stories. When they do, they get a lot more answer then they bargained for. Inspiration for stories can come from almost anywhere. And I do mean anywhere. I once got an idea for a story by reading the title of a book. I can't tell you what the book was about because I never did read it. The title alone was enough. I've gotten more than one story from dreams. I had a vampire dream I thought about writing into a book years before Stephanie Meyer was ever seen or heard of. Sadly, the world will never get to read mine now. : )

One of the stories I am currently working on, came to me after seeing this set of porcelain dolls years ago.

They look innocent enough don't they? But story they inspired is a little on the creepy side. I love those kind of books! Don't you? I now own these dolls. How could I resist?

The red headed character featured in the picture below was inspired by a younger cousin of mine. I actually had her model for this picture. This particular character now stars in a story all her own. If it ever gets published, the book will definitely be dedicated to Liz.

I will often draw a picture of my characters (like the one here) to help me get a sense of their personality and what they look like. The characters may evolve over time, but the drawings give me my first peek into their world.

For me, music is one of the best inspirations when I'm in the middle of writing a story. I will often create a soundtrack, picking songs that I feel will create the mood I am working for key scenes. For me, creativity just seems to flow easier when there is music to help the ideas along. If I have characters who fall in love in a book I always choose "their song", so to speak. I will play this song as I write scenes between the two of them. I usually pick a song for each of the main characters as well.

Real life is the very best place to draw inspiration from. I've become quite the people watcher over the years. As a children's librarian, if I just keep my eyes and ears peeled, ideas for characters and scenes are being enacted right in my library every day. I was once asked to make a school visit to a sixth grade class by the library. Since I was working on a humorous book about a sixth grade class at the time, I decided to take mental notes while I was there. It was a real eye opener, let me tell you. I got more material from that one visit than I ever would have imagined. Sometimes truth is more hilarious than fiction.

What about you writer's out there? Where do you get your inspiration?

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(c) 2010 Sheila A. Nielson

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