"Where do you get your ideas?"

Writers get asked this all the time. The short answer is, everywhere. Little seeds get planted in my brain from a news item, something someone says, pop culture, or a good brainstorming session. I love to create worlds and people!

For my debut novel, Out on the Ice, I was inspired by the 2018 U.S. Women's National Hockey Team winning the gold medal against arch rival Team Canada. I'd written hockey stories before, but it had been a while. Watching the gold medal game reminded me how much I enjoyed women's hockey, and how much I wanted to write a story set in this world.

I had been working on a time travel series that was very male-heavy. It was a welcome change to hang out in a hockey school filled with strong women and determined girls. The #MeToo movement was (and still is) very much a part of our conversations. I really wanted to write about female friendships and romance. This includes anyone who identifies as female, transgender, questioning, or non-binary. Basically, I didn't want to write about straight dudes. ;)

Caro came to me as the strong but silent kind of leader. Her partner had to be someone who lived life out loud. Amy came crashing in as the perfect foil. I wanted her bisexuality to squash popular misconceptions while bringing up bi-erasure. These two are a division of my own personality--I'm very private and can be unemotional like Caro, but also vomit out a never-ending stream of random thoughts like Amy. Write what you know, huh?

If I can give aspiring writers one piece of advice, it's tenacity. This is a marathon, not a sprint. It took me 20 years, double-digit manuscripts (not counting the ones I started but didn't finish!), and about 200 rejections before reaching my goal. If you need to take a break, take a break. If the ideas and voices in your head never go away, you'll come back to them when the time is right.

ROMANCE WRITER RESOURCES

Writing groups & communities:

Chicago-North Romance Writers  https://chicagonorthrwa.org/

Women's Fiction Writers Association  https://www.womensfictionwriters.org/

Podcasts:

Fated Mates  https://fatedmates.net/

Smart Bitches Trashy Books  https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/podcast/

When in Romance  https://bookriot.com/listen/shows/when-in-romance/

The Lesbian Review (TLR)  https://www.thelesbianreview.com/podcast-about-lesbian-books/

Hashtags to follow:

#AmWriting

#AmWritingRomance

#AmQuerying

#WriteLGBTQ

Support these Romance-loving independent bookstores!

The Ripped Bodice  https://www.therippedbodicela.com/

Love's Sweet Arrow  http://lovessweetarrow.com/index.html

Resources are always being updated, so check back for more!

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