Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Inspiration can be a fleeting thing, here today then gone tomorrow like a bouncing yellow ball over a net. What inspires a writer is generally misunderstood or unrecognized. When an author sits down to write their novel, how do they come up with an idea that inspires them to keep writing? There must be a spark; a brilliant event in the back of the author’s mind that turns mundane characters and a ho-hum plot into an extraordinary tale.

Let me share my own experience as someone who entered the writing game fairly late in life (i.e. after 50). I have always heard, and firmly believe in, the adage write what you know. When I decided that I wanted to try my hand at writing a romance novel, a story popped into my head. Several stories later, and after dozens of rejection letters from agents, I thought back to my youth. I decided to make use of things that occurred way back when to fuel my brainstorming. I managed to come up with various plot points that culminated into my first published book.

This brings us to Robert and Audrey Beegle. Allow me to enlighten you with how they inspired my debut novel, SECRET LOVE MATCH. This contemporary romance, released from Red Rose Publishing, tells how a 40-year-old former TV actor seeks out an old friend. Taylor Adams wants his old buddy to help get him into film. When Taylor meets the man’s 21-year-old daughter, Becca the tennis ace, he is compelled to get close to her…as long as her father doesn’t find out.

No, I never dated an older man. Some plot lines just come about because you watch others in such situations (you know who you are!) My hero in this instance is loosely based on both William Shatner of Star Trek fame and Tim Allen, star of the comedy sci-fi film, Galaxy Quest. I grew up during the original Star Trek TV show’s short-lived run. My parents recognized my passion for space during those pre-moonwalk days. (Hey, Dad, whatever happened to my plastic model of the Enterprise?) They allowed me to stay up late on a school night. William Shatner became a movie star years later when Star Trek-The Movie hit the theaters. In Galaxy Quest, a favorite movie of mine, Tim plays the star of a space western, popular eighteen years earlier. He’s now stuck in a rut earning a living at sci-fi conventions and other low budget appearances.

My own character’s popular TV space western drifted into reruns fifteen years earlier, and now he wants his name in lights. This is a similar, but different plot since I put my own spin on the character’s looks, mannerisms, and personal background.

My parents also unwittingly helped in the creation of my heroine, Rebecca Delacourt. (Becca to her family) I was again fortunate to have parents who scrimped and saved so we could enjoy the nearby beach club. I learned to swim, dive, and play tennis. I really liked playing tennis. I felt powerful each time I hit the ball over the net.

I continued to play through college and watched Wimbledon and the Olympics. I never would have created a tennis ace with a dream set on an Olympic medal if it wasn’t for my parents. Since I decided to retire from public service, move south, and write fulltime, my parents inspire me to keep writing. They continue to help by editing my drafts, a big help to any writer.

After marrying my husband, I shared in his love of his Scottish ancestry. We attend many different Scottish Highland Games here in the states and turned into longtime volunteers. I might send money each year to the U. S. Olympic Committee, but we both pour our love of all things Scottish into our days working at the New Hampshire Highland Games. Inspiration can hit anytime which is why I carry a notebook and camera when working at or enjoying the games. Such notes morphed into DRAGON’S CURSE, a historical paranormal written under my other name and released by Whispers Publishing.

Again, inspiration can come from anywhere; an incident you witnessed on your college campus; something you read about in the local newspaper; or even feelings you felt while involved with another human being. The point is, take note of these little incidences-good or bad-and consider using them, to some extent, in whatever you plan to accomplish this year. I could fill several pages answering a reader’s question like “how do you get ideas?” It is 2011, guys! A new beginning means it’s time to start afresh. Good luck!

Nancy Lennea lives the dream. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two sons in New Hampshire, Nancy and her husband moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She writes paranormal romance as Nancy Lee Badger,


SECRET LOVE MATCH, by Nancy Lennea,link:

DRAGON’S CURSE, by Nancy Lee Badger, buy link:


  1. Good article Nancy. You continue to inspire others to go for their dream.

  2. Nancy, I just published a book that's been in my head for twelve years. So you're right about those seeds of inspiration sometimes striking early and simply needing time to mature. I don't think anybody should necessarily give up on an idea that's been kicking around for a while.

  3. I agree with all my heart - write what you know. Great post. Very touching.

  4. Lovely post, Nancy. Very touching and gives hope where hope is sometimes hard to find.

  5. Nice post, Nancy. It always works best for my writing to begin with a topic or concept that I'm already passionate about and embellish to create drama and tension. Then, it's so much easier to give my characters that same spark.

  6. Thanks, guys. I have led a rather dull life, so when I decided to 'Be A Writer', I feared my life story would never give me plot ideas of any interest. Luckily, small factors like the beach club, trips here and there, and even my years as a Girl Scout have given me ideas.

  7. Very thought provoking . . . Writing came to me later in life as well, it followed a fall that forced my career as a nurse to its knees. It began with journaling through the depression and pain.

    I'm inspired by so many things. When I started attempting to write it was mystery and suspense because that was my favorite genre to read. But, a story about the Oregon Trail kept popping up. That novel, yet to be finished, is still the one that must be written. It is near completion.

    It has come to pass that historical fiction is my desire. Specifically, settling the west and Celtic.

    I will be published one day. I do have some articles and short stories published. I want the five novels in my head to make it.

    Inspiration also comes from family. I write short memoirs. I grew up in a small town living an Ozzie and Harriet kind of life. I didn't realize we were poor until several years after my dad died.

    Great question about inspiration. I need to stop taking up space on your blog and simply tell you I enjoy it.

  8. I loved Galaxy Quest! And your article has given me some tips about my own WIP.

    Thanks Nancy!