This week we’re delving into the origin of story ideas. If you’ve come from Fiona Riplee‘s blog, welcome!
One story idea that came to me as a gift from someone else is the story of Alexandra Northrop from Untrue Colors. She was the reason the book was written.
I had written two books about wealthy sisters who must overcome huge obstacles. When I pitched them to an agent, she told me to add a third sister. Trilogies sell better. The problem? The books were already written. So I added an estranged sister in Europe. she refuses to come home. The first two books never sold. That left Alex alone in Europe, away from her family. Why?
Untrue Colors was a blast to write: Here’s an excerpt:
Alex sat in her favorite booth in the back corner of the Yellow Dog Pub with a Coke and a cup of pumpkin-and- Gruyère soup and pulled out the book Matisse, Father & Son from her backpack. One of the students she’d met offered to check out books for her from the library, and she devoured every one she could lay her hands on. She’d created a comfortable yet temporary life in Oxford. She dressed as one of the students at the university, lived at a youth hostel, and earned money by helping a pub owner clean up after closing. Still, she felt far from safe.
“Gabe, how’s the soup?” Matt, the owner, asked.
She’d become used to being called Gabe West. Gabrielle, her mother’s name, had been the only name she could think of when she’d arrived in Oxford. West reminded her that her family was across the ocean in Boston. Since moving to
Europe eight years ago, Alex had kept in sporadic contact with her family. Since meeting Luc, she’d had zero. They didn’t need to become mixed up in her problems. Luc was too dangerous.
She took a spoonful and savored the first taste of her main meal for the day. “You outdid yourself.”
“Glad to hear it.” He sat across from her, his wise blue eyes framed by laugh lines. “Listen, love, some bloke has been poking around the local pubs asking about an undocumented French art lover with a pert little nose and an air of desperation. Never did hear you speak anything but English, but thought I’d give you a heads-up.”
Her spoon dropped into the bowl, splashing some soup on the table. She clasped it again as though it was an accident and raised her eyebrows to appear interested in Matthew’s statement, but not too interested. Her body tensed, ready to run away from this sanctuary. Had they found her?
Continue on to read what Leslie Hachtel found as an idea that eventually came to light and see you next week!!!