So today on Wonkomance I am going to say things like this because I am being an official announcer! I am announcing that we have a guest here, who I have long admired and enjoyed all the books of. In fact, back when I was too scared to submit to anyone ever, I dreamt of one day being Bonnie Dee.
Or at least, being as good as Bonnie Dee. Her stories are so passionate, and I connect with them on lots of levels. Sometimes I wondered why that might be, other than her amazing talent. But now I can wonder no longer, because after reading her excellent post I realise that she has a similar process to me to do the writings!
Behold, her post, in which she talks about liking movies and TV and being inspired by bits of them to make books. One of my author heroes is just like me in some tiny way. Hooray!
Thanks for inviting me to Wonkomance today. Those who know my books have probably realized by now that I’m not a big fan of the take-charge, arrogant alpha male. My favorite theme is damaged people trying to get by in life as best they can, like Jason, the hero of my latest release New Life.
After surviving a car crash brought on by his own drunken carelessness, irreparable brain damage has forced Jason to relearn many skills and he’s reduced to working as a janitor due to his impairment. Enter the heroine, Anna, a young lawyer who, after fumbling her first court case, has a breakdown in a deserted hallway where Jason comes across her. Interesting “meet cute”, right?
A brain damaged janitor romance hero? How the hell did you come up with that? I hear you ask. Well… it’s because of my Joseph Gordon Levitt love. I’ve seen about every movie the actor has ever been in. When I caught The Lookout on the Independent Film Channel, I was riveted by this story of a brain damaged guy working as a night janitor who’s scammed into helping some bank robbers. Take out the suspense and murder and make it a romance instead, my brain clamored. So I did.
It’s not the first time I’ve been strongly inspired/influenced by something I’ve seen on the screen. Once, when re-watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon I realized the only part I really care about in the film is the hot hot hot scene of the princess’s abduction by the thief in the desert and their passionate coming together.
So, I wrote an entire story based on that part, The Thief and the Desert Flower. It’s not one of my more popular titles for some reason but I think it’s cute and fun as hell to watch the push-pull of their relationship as the abducted princess gets the upper hand by stealing the thief’s heart.
Bone Deep, one of my very first books, was inspired by Ralph Fiennes’ completely tattooed backside in Red Dragon, the sequel to Silence of the Lambs. Sure, the man’s a horrible serial killer, but in that scene he’s so very isolated and lonely my heart ached for him to have a happily ever after. Well, a serial killer hero is a bridge too far even for me (no matter how much I adore Dexter), so I dreamed up another way to have a hero with a full body tattoo. Traveling carnival? Check. War widow heroine with her own sorrows to overcome? Check. I knew the story must take place in a time when there were actually still traveling shows touring the country which is how it ended up set post WWII.
Finding Home is a direct outshoot of my love for the TV series, The OC. Okay, all right, yeah, The OC was soapy, campy ridiculousness but a lot of the fanfic I read (and wrote) around that time was much deeper and more angsty than the show ever dreamed of being. We went places our show never would. There were some great writers in that fandom who weren’t afraid to seriously explore the “outsider” theme. I approached a friend, Lauren Baker, and said “Let’s write a novel and try to get it published”. That was the day I moved away from fanfic writing and never looked back. OC fans might see a kernel of the Ryan character in Mouth/Sean, but he’s pretty much our own creation.
One book I want people to know I did not crib from the movie Thousand Pieces of Gold is Captive BrideI swear I had the idea independently and only watched the movie later, but the similarities are ridiculous: Chinese woman comes to America thinking she’s going to be a bride and ends up sold into slavery. The hero in the movie is even a Civil War vet who suffered through Andersonville prison just like my hero. Damn! That still pisses me off. But it’s a great romantic movie. You should watch it (and read my book for a comparison).
I don’t always glean my ideas off of movies or TV shows. I do have some stories that pop into my head independently of seeming anything. But a strong visual starting point is always really helpful and that’s something movies can give a writer. Or plays. After going to see Rent on stage, I thought about how strange it would be to be part of a touring company, a different city every night and only really the members of the company to hang with. You’d either love or hate these people by the end. That thought sparked The Final Act, a stage romance featuring three couples.
So, the spark of a new idea can come from any little thing a writer sees or hears or experiences throughout the day. Since I’m apparently a TV/movie addict, it’s not surprising that my influences lie in that direction.
What’s coming in 2013 from Bonnie Dee? A couple of books co-written with Summer Devon, which include a het romantic suspense (Fugitive Heart) and a gay historical (The Gentleman’s Keeper), and The Au Pair Affair, a gay contemporary I’m particularly fond of.
I’d like to thank the Wonkomance team once again for inviting me here today to ramble on about my books and the movies that inspired some of them.
Thank you so much, Bonnie, for being here with us! You can ramble here any time.