I can remember almost the exact moment when the idea for THE VIOLETS OF MARCH came to me. I was visiting my sister for Christmas in San Diego. My oldest son, Carson, 1 at the time, was crawling around the living room as my very-pregnant sister was pulling Christmas cookies out of the oven. I was sleepy—I hadn’t gotten much rest the night before with an excited baby in a new environment—so I hit the couch with my notebook (I am never far from my brainstorming notebook!) and let my mind wander.
I’d been mulling novel ideas for a while, but nothing had jumped out at me. My eyes darted around the room until they stopped at an iconic photograph my sister had hanging on her wall—the one of a sailor and his lady locked in a kiss after the second world war. Everyone’s seen this image, of course, and it certainly wasn’t anything new to me, and yet on that pre-Christmas afternoon, I let my mind consider what the real story might be behind the photo. Who was the sailor? The young woman? What was their story? And while my novel didn’t end up having anything to do with a sailor and his lover or their fated kiss, it did set my brain on an interesting trajectory of thinking about the 1940s, the war, interrupted love, second chances and more. After several rough outlines, I had the concept for THE VIOLETS OF MARCH down, and I always think back to that Christmas-cookie fueled brainstorming session on the couch where I gazed up at that print.
Funny how things inspire us when we least expect them too, huh? What unusual things have given you inspiration in life?