Books line the shelves of every moment in history. We devour these books like salivating children.
Upon entering a bookstore, if you are like me, your fingers start to itch over the possibility of purchasing a new book. Of find the perfect book to satisfy that hunger deep in one's soul. We are not even sure what we hunger for sometimes, only that a need exists and we must fulfill it. The feel of the book in our hands. The sensation as the words pour off the page and seep into our brains. The feeling we get when we finish the book and long for another.
Books are like carefully wrapped presents. When we read the brief blurb inside the jacket or on the back, our curiosity is piqued, and yet when we read the book, there is nothing more exciting than discovering something more inside. The delicious sensation that we have been surprised. When the author has created such a tale that even we are surprised by its turns and blossoming. Research has a way of doing the same thing for a writer.
Finding just that surprise as we look for a moment in time to inspire us to build our next stories are the very kernels that begin to pop in our brains. Lighting the fire that begins the chain reaction to send us rushing to our computers and writing the next story.
Someone once asked me, what time period do I write. Some authors specialize in Regency or Victorian. Others write the obscure historical - taking place in far off places we don't usually think about. Many authors keep their stories deeply rooted in British history. For me, inspiration comes from so many different areas, I cannot remain in one time period. I have written early 1700s pirate tales that swept across the Caribbean and into the American colonies. From there, I took the family's offspring to Georgian England and Austria during the War of Austrian Succession. While writing these stories, I fell in love with different characters, and heard their voices - deciding to give them their own stories. While writing these stories, I read as many books on the time period that I could find. I read books on piracy and their tools of the trade.
The bookstores, libraries, and now the internet are ripe with luscious fruit to help nurture this hunger to make our books accurate and bring our readers into a world of our own creation. One time, I was at a conference in New Orleans, I happened upon the most delightful used bookstore. While browsing the shelves, I found several old books to bring my books new life. Hearing about a time period from the actual lips of people who lived during that time can change our perception. Can give our stories the spark that makes it stand out next to hundreds of others.
Under this pursuit of publication, I continue to pour through books, diaries, autobiographies, and maps in hopes of finding just the right kernel to light the same fire in my reader's soul. I relish the challenge.
So, tell me - what do you look for in a book? What kernels will pop in your brain? Post a response and give me further inspiration.