Finding inspiration: One brief moment can spark a story
Inspiration is a funny thing.
As a writer, you never really stop working. Your mind whirs through potential story lines and dialogues at all times. My husband has begun to recognize the blank stare that means my mind is somewhere else.
For me, all it takes is one brief moment to inspire a story. Recently, I posted on Facebook on this topic:
“The things that inspire me to write books are just weird,” I wrote. “Essentially, one tiny moment will make me want to write a book just to incorporate it. For example, I was thinking about how movies about the future always have like one uniform futuristic car and everyone drives it, whereas in today’s world we have many models and ages of cars. Then I thought, I should write a book where I have a character driving an old clunker while everyone else zooms around in him their efficient, futuristic cars. He’d be like that “down with the man” type who possibly is a junker and has a fascination with old technology. But that’s it. I have no basis for this story other than that it sounds like a fun character to write. “
Orderly Affair, my new release in the Hearts and Health series, came about in a similar way. When I was twenty-two, the summer after I graduated college, I went to the ER with appendicitis. While lying on the table, half-conscious, a man dressed in evening wear arrived to clean up a little mess I’d made in the sink. (Painkillers, empty stomach, need I say more?)
I was always curious about who this man was and why he was cleaning while in formal attire. I was too shy to ask at the time, and I had other concerns, like my dying appendix and massive amount of pain. But that moment stuck with me, and it sparked the initial concept for Orderly Affair. Indeed, my orderly character, Ian Connolly, cleans up in an ER while dressed in evening wear, having just changed to go straight from his shift to a wedding.
Fragments of my life and experiences make it into books frequently, though they’re not always such literal translations of events. Sometimes it might just be my favorite food, a smell, or the feeling I got when I was in a certain place that influences my writing. It makes me think of the phrase, you are what you eat. In this case, my writing is what I live.
Now, with that lengthy introduction, I’d like to share an excerpt of Ian cleaning up in the ER — while in evening wear, of course! Enjoy.
EXCERPT FROM ORDERLY AFFAIR
He made his way to Exam 3 and peeked in. The patient was lying on the examination table, a hand pressed to his temple. Lying with his head turned, Ian couldn’t see his face, but he wasn’t there for the patient anyway. He pushed the mop bucket across the floor in search of the mess that had required his services.
It was in the sink, rather than the floor, making for easier cleanup. Ian got to work using chemicals from the caddy he’d brought to sterilize the stainless steel and remove any lingering odors — outside the sterile scent that clung to the hospital at all times. Ian was so used to it by now that he hardly noticed.
“Sorry,” a faint voice said behind him.
Ian turned to reassure him. “Don’t worry about it.”
Pain-fogged brown eyes met his and widened in surprise. Callum.
He hadn’t seen Callum since that wild bathroom hookup the week before. Ian had been vacillating from unsettled to horny ever since. There was no escaping the knowledge he really was bisexual — not bi-curious, not maybe bisexual, but definitely, undoubtedly into men — not with memories of his dick in Callum’s mouth fueling every jerkoff session since then.
“You’re dressed up,” Callum mumbled. “Or am I hallucinating?”
He lifted his fingers to his temple, and this time Ian noticed the goose egg there, along with a couple of small stitches. Ian moved in for a closer look, frowning at the bruising he could also see along Callum’s forearm. “You’re not hallucinating. I’m dressed for a wedding.”
“Oh.” Callum looked down, his mouth tightening. “Congratulations.”
“Cal, I got you a Sprite for your stomach. Does that work?” A dark-haired guy rounded the corner. His hair was on the shaggy side, but he was handsome, practically a doppelganger for an unkempt Matt Bomer.
“Thanks,” Callum said, accepting the can of soda and pressing it to his head.
“Babe, you’re supposed to drink it,” the guy — boyfriend? — said with a laugh. He gently took it from Callum’s hand and popped the tab, then handed it back. He glanced at Ian. “Are you a doctor? You look like you’re ready for prom.”
Ian backed up a step, realizing he was intruding. He was unsettled to see that Callum had a boyfriend, but he knew some guys had relationships without the constraints of monogamy that Ian had lived within his whole life. It was hard to wrap his head around what that would be like, having been married and committed to Michelle for so long.
“I’m just the orderly.” He waved a hand over his shoulder. “I’m on my way to a wedding, so … yeah. I’ll just get out of your hair.”
A hospital orderly explores his bisexuality with an adorably geeky lab tech, but can their sparks lead to love outside the closet?
When Ian Connolly installs a hookup app to explore his long-suppressed attraction to men, he doesn’t expect to connect with anyone he knows, especially not lab tech Callum Price. But from their first scorching encounter, he’s hooked.
Callum hasn’t had the best luck with love, and he’s suffocating under a pile of responsibilities. But when he sees an opportunity to blow off steam with Ian, he takes it. The man is smoking hot, big all over, and sweet as pie.
Their chemistry is off the charts, but a relationship is more challenging. Callum remains stubbornly self-reliant, while Ian tries too hard to be his rock. But if Ian can be honest with his family about loving a man, maybe Callum can admit his own truth: He wants a man he can count on, a man just like Ian.