Did you ever wonder where authors get their ideas? Even before I started writing with the goal of publication, I pondered the various influences that must have come into play when the author was crafting his or her story.
With my own writing, it’s never just one event or historical incident that triggers an idea. It’s several.
When my grandmother died in 2004, one of the things I inherited was an old steamer trunk. Inside were quilts, blankets, and two books. One was an original copy of Miss Nell’s Everyday Cookbook, published in 1892. The other was a reprint of an 1894 Montgomery Ward catalogue. The cookbook inspired a western romance. The Montgomery Ward catalogue inspired an American historical.
Mr. Ward started his business in Chicago Illinois. His first catalog, published in August 1872, consisted of a single sheet of dry goods with instructions on how to order. By 1883, the catalogue had grown to 240 pages with 10,000 items. The 1887 catalogue was 540 pages.
Mr. Ward’s concept of selling products through the mail was innovative and creative. For years, he had no competition--until Richard Warren Sears introduced his catalogue in 1896. That inspired me to create a fictional catalogue business to compete with Montgomery Ward before Sears came on the scene.
I started by typing New York+1888 in the Google search bar and hit pay dirt. In March of that year, New York was paralyzed by one of the worst blizzards in American history.
The storm, referred to as the Great White Hurricane, paralyzed the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/East_Coast_of_the_United_States East Coast from the Chesapeake Bay to Maine. People were stranded for days. Horses froze in the streets. And people came together as a matter of survival.
The storm would play an interval part of my story. But I still didn’t have an opening. Then one afternoon as I was flipping through that Montgomery Ward catalogue, I thought of something my grandfather used to say about tobacco farming.
“It takes a strong back and a weak mind.”
I was never sure if he meant those who worked for him had weak minds or if he included himself in that statement. But his words stuck in my head and eventually became the opening line in my American Historical romance, Wholesale Husband.
back and a weak mind,” Clarissa said as the hansom
cab lurched forward.
Blurb for Wholesale Husband:
She needs his name. He needs her money. But can a rich New York socialite and a poor Irish immigrant find true love in the gilded age?
Betrayed by her fiancé and heart sick over her father’s death, Clarissa Burdick is further devastated when she learns she can’t inherit her father’s company—the company she loves—until she’s twenty-five or married. And Clarissa is neither. So she sets out to find a husband strong enough to protect her from her uncle’s thugs, too uneducated to run the company himself, and poor enough to marry a woman in name only. But Irish immigrant Devin Flannery is smarter than he seems and more educated than Clarissa expects. Her Wholesale Husband soon proves a greater risk to her heart than her company.
Lilly Gayle writes paranormal and historical romance because love is an adventure no matter the century.
You can find her at http://lillygayle.com, http:/facebook.com/lillygayle, http://facebook.com/lillygaylebooks, and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/#!/lillygromwriter