Tuesday, October 4, 2016

How Do Wrtiers Find Inspiration? Guest Post by Elaine Cooper

My lovely and talented friend Elaine Cooper, whose newest novel, Saratoga Letters, released today, shares how she found her inspiration for this exciting story set during the Revolutionary War:


"Writers are sometimes asked where they get their ideas for a their books. There is really no clear answer for every writer nor for every book. But after writing five novels and one nonfiction, I have come to the conclusion that, for me, the key to inspiration is waiting for that nudge that begins to toy with my writer’s muse. In the case of Saratoga Letters, one of those inspiring thoughts was literally from a key.

"My husband and I were visiting Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2014. We stayed at a 1970s era motel along the main road. It had the simple d├ęcor of most motels from the ‘70s—two beds with nondescript bedspreads, a slight step-up to the shower area, old white and black tile, and the standard solid black phone that was the main source of communication for visitors before cell phones were birthed.

"But one of the main differences between modern day hotels and older motels is the key. In 2016, keys look like a credit card. In the 1970’s, a key was a metal device attached to a plastic key holder that was inscribed with the room number. It didn’t inspire me at first, until I looked for my key when we were checking out.

“Where is it?” I searched through my purse, around the floor of the car, and everywhere I could imagine a key slipping away from my safekeeping. My husband tried to be patient. We were already so tired from traveling hundreds of miles, that a lost key became an annoyance. I told the motel owner that I had lost the key and I was so sorry. I was sure I’d find it tucked in a suitcase or something. And of course, I eventually did—after I returned home!

"But this lost key suddenly became more than a minor annoyance. It became the impetus for a story idea. I had already heard from a historian at Saratoga National Park Service about a bicentennial celebration in 1977. It was the commemoration of the 1777 win by the American troops at Saratoga, New York. So what if the fact that there were two keys to each motel room during the ‘70s meant that a female visitor to the bicentennial was in danger? What if there were leftover, deep-seated feuds from the original battle in 1777? What if hatred had sifted down through the generations to complicate the lives of those in 1977? What if… but wait. I don’t want to give the plot away entirely. 

But just to give you a wee taste of the story: 


It is 1777. The Battle of Saratoga, a turning point of the Revolutionary War, encourages the American Continental Army with their first great victory. But there seemed little to celebrate for one patriotic woman forced to nurse wounded British soldiers right in their war camp. Thrust into deception by a cruel Loyalist uncle, Abigail is forced to lie in order to survive, all the while dealing with fears that challenge her faith. Danger stalks her everywhere, yet her salvation springs from an unexpected source.



Then…  Two hundred years later, on the anniversary of the Battle of Saratoga, thousands arrive from Europe and the United States to celebrate the event—including descendants from the war. One young American, Abby, meets another offspring of a British soldier. When her life is threatened, Abby turns to the only person she knows at the event—her British ally. Can she trust him with her life? Or will he betray her in the same way Loyalist spies betrayed her ancestors? Perhaps letters from long ago will reveal the truth.
  

Thanks for joining us today, Elaine! It's always fun to read how novelists come up with their inspiration. I LOVE historical romances, which this little synopsis hints that Saratoga Letters might be. . . I look forward to reading it!

To find out more about Elaine, please visit her at 


To purchase Saratoga Letters, please click on the title. 

P.S.: I will be taking a much needed blogging break for the month of October, during which I'll be speaking for two events, singing with my husband for another, and giving away sweets and signing books at a Sweetest Day Celebration. Whew! I'll be back here with you on November 1. 


15 comments:

  1. Jeanette, thank you for having me as your guest today! You are such a blessing to others and may the Lord bless your work for Him.

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    1. My pleasure, Elaine! Since I don't have the gift for writing novels, I love to help those who do! I see that Saratoga Letters downloaded to my kindle last night, since I had pre-ordered it. Can't wait to dig in!
      Jen

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    2. Jen, I posted on FB that the pre-orders had bad formatting. It will be redone by Amazon but, in the meantime, if it's too distracting, feel free to return it. Or they will re-issue you the newer version when it's ready. Hopefully it won't take too long. I'm so sorry!!

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  2. Elaine draws on her own history to tell the tale. Two great stories.

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    1. True enough. :) Thank you — so happy you like them!

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  4. Elaine: This sounds like a great book. I like the plot. I wish you well with it.

    Jeanette: Enjoy your time away.

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    1. Thank you so much! I hope you have a chance to read "Saratoga Letters" and that it blesses you!

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  5. Hi Jeanette and Elaine! I really do enjoy historical fiction, so Elaine is writing for me! I find it to be a lot more interesting than dry historical facts and figures. How interesting to learn how you were inspired by a lost key! Truly God uses everything to light our imaginations.
    Best of blessings on your book release!
    And Jeanette, go get 'em girl! I know you will be a light to so many,
    Ceil

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  6. Hi Ceil! I love the way you phrase that—"to light our imaginations!" Very poetic and so true. Thank you so much for stopping by and so happy you enjoy my favorite genre! Blessings!!

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  7. This is such a great story about your lost key inspiring you, and the bicentennial celebration! The "deep-seated feuds" and "hatred sifted down through the generations" made such a great basis for your book!

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    1. Thank you, Becky! I am so blessed that you enjoyed "Saratoga Letters!" I am grateful. :)

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  8. Great interview. It's amazing how the Lord gives us inspiration.

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    1. Isn't it? It never ceases to amaze me the things and circumstances that the Lord uses to grip our hearts with "story." Thanks so much for commenting, Connie!

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  9. Great interview. It's amazing how the Lord gives us inspiration.

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Oh, it's YOU! I'm so happy to see you here today, and look forward to reading your comments.