Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Author Spotlight - How Joan Leotta finds inspiration

Writers are often asked--where do you get your ideas. I am always puzzled by that question since ideas come from everywhere. It is simply a matter of looking and listening to the world around us and often , expanding those real observations into a story by asking the question, "What if?"

The initial inspiration for story came from a friend, Julia. She is Italian -American but spells her name the American way. She is younger then my heroine would be today. My friend, Julia was only a child during the war, not a teen.

But my friend did leave home (although later, in the 1950s) to go and work in a larger city where she met and fell in love with a non-Italian. She had to go back to her hometown from the big city where she was working (Washington DC, not Wilmington NC as in the book) and then, after dealing with parental objections, returned to DC to marry John, her sweetheart. The scene that set my imagination working was her description of John meeting her at the train station and sweeping her off the steps of the train onto the platform with a kiss. Yep, the most romantic scene in the book! And it was real! My friends are happily married and gave their permission for me to use their story as part of my book.

For this particular book, the scene in which John twirls Giulia around as she alights from the train was the inspiration for the entire book--and it is a true incident from the life of a friend. Sometimes an article, a photo, an object inspire me. I like to look at something or think about something that was said to me and ask myself "what if????" and that is how I expand the simple thought into a story idea and then an entire story or a novel.

Of course, inspiration is only a small percentage of the process of developing a book. For historical fiction, research is a good fifty-seventy-five percent and the rest is development of the characters and plotting.

Characters play an especially big part in a romance because you want the readers to like the main characters and root for them to get together as they face the various obstacles, I thrown in the path of their love. My daughter is my best sounding board for the plotting. She is an avid reader and loves to help.

Find Joan at:
Blog: www.joanleotta.wordpress.com

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