01 Oct

September was a busy month for me. I spent nine days away from my family on a business trip in France and Germany. Although traveling is hectic and I miss my husband and children, I do enjoy it, and I’m thankful to have a “day job” that requires some travel.

When I’m on a business trip, I typically don’t take my writing laptop, which means a break from my “night job.” Just because I’m not typing out words on a computer, though, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my stories. For every story I write, at least half the work is done in my head. I see a two-thousand-year-old mummy at the Louvre and wonder what people living in those ancient times must have experienced. I see the lights of the Eiffel Tower reflected in the Seine and think, “wouldn’t it be romantic if….” Or I glimpse a moment between two strangers and imagine what their story might be. The joys, the fears, the doubts, the great lessons in my life, all of these find their way into the characters I create and the stories they portray. And the world around me, the places I’ve been, becomes the setting for those characters to play out their stories—with some modifications here and there to suit my purposes.

Inspiration is everywhere, and often the idea for a book will start with a moment I’ve experienced that becomes a scene between my main characters. Once I have the scene, how can I not create the story that leads to that scene and resolve the problems into the happily-ever-after those characters deserve?

In my book Amulet, which I've just learned will be published on April 3, 2024 (very exciting!), the hero, Val, is on the verge of selling his company and making a huge pile of money. Only a few weeks before the acquisition is announced, however, one of his key employees resigns to go to a competitor, putting the whole deal in jeopardy. This premise was inspired by the resignation of one of my coworkers many years ago. Although in the real-world scenario there was no high-value acquisition at stake (and certainly no workplace romance involved), it is not very difficult to imagine what could have happened if two people who were attracted to each other had to travel to an exotic location to try to save the company. The exotic location—Israel—and the day of sightseeing in Jerusalem that brings Val and his sort-of employee, Alex, together were inspired by a business trip I took almost ten years ago. My real-life trip to visit a tech company in Tel Aviv may have been just an ordinary business trip, but with the amazing history, unique culture, delicious food, and different languages of the place hitting my senses all at once—well, you can’t blame me for letting my imagination wander and storing up ideas for the story I would write one day.

Everyone needs inspiration. No matter what our vocation—writer, parent, waiter, businesswoman, actor, plumber, student, accountant, cashier—we all need a spark every once in a while to help us do what we need to do with more joy. With more life. Inspiration helps us create beauty from banality. It helps us give our best performance. And sometimes, when we are in the midst of grief and despair, it helps us take one step forward.

Life can be hard. It can be frantic and demoralizing and boring sometimes, but in the middle of the chaos and dullness are shining moments of wonder, peace, excitement, and joy. Those moments are out there, waiting for us. We just have to keep our eyes open to see them, and our hearts open to recognize them for what they are.


* The email will not be published on the website.